Angola, land of contrasts, music, dance, earth smells, nice people and colourful landscape. Angola is still a difficult country to visit and lacks in touristic infrastructures. The differences between the capital city Luanda and the rest of the country are abysmal in all aspects, so food is no exception. Angola is in south-central Africa, from its past Portuguese cuisine has significantly influenced Angolan cuisine.
Luanda is one of the most expensive cities in the world and has some imported vegan and vegetarian products in some supermarket at a very prohibited price and some restaurants with vegan/vegetarian options available.
Vegan restaurant in Luanda
The Healing Space it’s the first vegan, vegetarian and alkaline restaurant opening in Angola’s Capital and so far the only one. They serve delicious food using quality ingredients with Angolan, Brazilian, Mexican, and Lebanese influences.
If you are visiting or travelling to another place in the country the story is completely different. You will struggle to eat out because there are no options available.
Going to the markets will be your best option. Here you can buy ingredients to prepare your meals.
If you don’t need many things you will find things to buy on the roadside. It’s very common to see mostly women and children selling fresh vegetables and fruit.
For a wider range of choice, the markets are the place to go. Just keep in mind that Angolan markets are massive and busy and you will need help to find them. Most of the time they are located in the middle of a shantytown.
In the markets, you can find seasonal fruits, vegetables, roots, beans, and some cereals (rice, flour, corn, etc..) but they don’t have much variety.
Outside Luanda will be quite difficult (if not impossible) to find a supermarket with vegan options due to the lack of supply and demand, or even a restaurant with a vegetarian or vegan option.
If you are staying in a hotel you can make a special request, for a vegan meal, but don’t expect anything fancy. If there is a possibility just to cook your own meal, that will be the best solution!
Traditional Angolan food that is accidentally vegan:
- Funge: Plain carbohydrate made from cassava with a texture like mash potato, generally served with a full-flavoured spicy sauce.
- Farofa: Toasted cassava flour with a salty and smoky flavour.
- Feijão de óleo de palma: Stewed beans in a palm oil sauce.
- Mukua: Dried fruit from the baobab tree, often used for ice cream.
- Kussangua: Traditional non-alcoholic drink made from cornflour.
- Chikuanga: a bread made from manioc flour, served in a wrap of banana leaves (from northeast Angola).
- Cocada amarela, yellow coconut pudding made with sugar, grated coconut, egg yolks, and ground cinnamon. (vegetarian)
- Doce de ginguba, peanut candy.
photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha