To enjoy an unforgettable culinary journey in a country where flavors are as varied as they are delicious, Madagascar is the ideal destination. The Great Island reveals many facets, including its unique cuisine. During your stay in the country, do not miss some local specialities. Find out which ones.
Traditional specialities typical of Madagascar
The Malagasy population is very fond of rice, a staple food. Rice is usually served as an accompaniment to what Malagasy people call laoka. This is how Malagasy dishes are usually presented: rice with zebu meat, pork or chicken... and sometimes with vegetables (only one kind) or legumes.
Thus, you will have the opportunity to taste local dishes from coastal gastronomy, such as fish with coconut milk, crab sauce, but also chicken with ginger, not to mention the famous pork meat with ravitoto. This last speciality is made of crushed cassava leaves and simmered with pork meat.
And because rice can be dry, the must-have romazava is always suggested. It is actually a broth made of brèdes (eatable leaves) and meat. Romatsatso is a variant of romazava, a broth made from green leaves only.
In the morning, and especially at the market, the vary amin'anana sy kitoza is a must: soft rice with brèdes served with grilled meat, meatballs, French fries or fried eggs. In some coastal areas, the dish is called Sabeda sy mosakiky. It is served with a kind of cucumber salad or raw papaya and is best served in the early evening.
The little delicacies of everyday life that delight young and old alike
In Madagascar, morning, noon or evening, snacks are always welcome. If you have a penchant for doughnuts, you will surely like mofogasy (a kind of rice cake), ramanonaka (a kind of salty and oiled rice cake that is eaten mainly for breakfast) or menakely, a kind of donut made from wheat and rice flour. Children prefer the "pigeon poop" (a kind of fried shortcrust pastry), which is delicious and crispy.
Have you ever heard of koba? This succulent Malagasy cake consists of pistachio nuts and steamed rice flour, then wrapped in banana leaves. This sweet snack with its characteristic aroma is to be enjoyed as a dessert or as a snack. There are two varieties of koba: the round koba voanjo (pistachio koba), which is recognizable by its dark brown or even black colour in the middle, which is actually the sweetest part, and the lighter-coloured outline, which is the least cooked part; and the vary koba (rice koba), of greyish colour and wrapped in banana leaves in a small slice.
Quality products with an international reputation
Madagascar is also famous for its delicious chocolates, including those of the famous "Robert" brand. Due to the quality of its chocolates, this brand was awarded the London Golden Bean Award 2017. "Tsara" is another brand of chocolates to try, or the traditional "Kabos" chocolates. Thanks to carefully selected ingredients, Malagasy chocolates are refined with an intense and round taste in the mouth.
Gourmets will also enjoy the local foie gras and the famous caviar of Mantasoa, excellent for aperitifs! Drinks are not to be outdone. Don't forget to sip bonbon anglais (also called lemonade but it is actually a kind of soda) or Fresh (soda mixed with a little bit of beer), sweet and refreshing drinks. As for beer, you will absolutely be seduced by the THB, winner of the gold medal at the prestigious "Monde Sélection de Bruxelles" in 2004, 2012, 2015 and 2016.
Finally, let us talk about cheese "made in Madagascar", most of which is made from cow's milk or zebu. The regions of Vakinankaratra and Ambatomanga are the main cheese producers, but other producers also have a strong impact on consumers such as Mangoro in the eastern region of Alaotra Mangoro, which offers all kinds of cheese varieties from processed cheese to camembert and gouda. From Antsirabe blue to cottage cheese, local productions are well worth a visit!