Zimbabwean food has been shaped and transformed by a range of cultural influences over the years and has plenty of delights in store for those adventurous enough to try everything it has on offer. The most common food found in Zimbabwe is sadza, a thick doughy substance, like porridge, made from maize that can be rolled into a ball and dipped into a stew or sauce.
In the 16th century, Portuguese settlers brought peanut crops over to Zimbabwe and it now plays a key role in its culinary scene. Peanut butter is added to rice, stews and other dishes, including dovi, a traditional peanut butter stew. Other than peanuts, crops that grow in abundance in Zimbabwe include avocados, squash, yams, papayas, beans and pumpkins.
When it comes to snacking, Zimbabweans have a range of unusual treats. The most popular and familiar to the western palate is biltong, strips of dried and salted meat (like beef jerky), usually made from kudu or another type of antelope. Mopane worms are also eaten after they have been sun-dried. If you'd like to try something more unusual then another popular Zimbabwean snack is to eat flying ants. These can be simply plucked from the air and the wings removed, before being popped in the mouth. Kapenta, small dried fish, are another popular snack.
Safe eating while travelling in Zimbabwe
Be wary when eating outside of high-end lodges as sometimes the quality of the meat and the way in which it has been prepared might not be suitable for a sensitive western stomach. Also be aware that food hygiene in Zimbabwe is much more basic than you will be used to. Good hygiene is important, so if something looks unclean, old or badly cooked, it is best to avoid it altogether. It is also a good idea to avoid ice in your drink and eating salad as these might have come into contact with unhygienic water.