Have a plant-based diet in Angola.. is it possible?

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

41 thoughts on “Have a plant-based diet in Angola.. is it possible?

  1. Deeksha Pathak

    Wonderful photographs! I wonder how eating habits are constantly changing everywhere in the world.

  2. SardinhaForaDaLata

    Eu achava que haveria até bastante oferta, muita fruta, legumes, leguminosas e cereais. O meu namorado esteve em Luanda faz uns 4 anos e fala muito da comida que se vende nas ruas mas também das condições sanitárias em que é vendida.

    • cook the beans

      Eu vivi em Angola 2 anos (nunca em Luanda) efectivamente há barracas na rua com comida mas a oferta é muito limitada, quase todos vendem o mesmo (frango na jante) o que para um vegan não é bom ? nos mercados locais e na berma das estradas encontra-se fruta e vegetais mas surpreendentemente muito pouca variedade. Claro que em Luanda nos grandes supermercados é possível comprar tudo ($$$$ haja dinheiro ?) *Bom Ano Luísa ?

  3. Vanessa Gregoria

    Amazing photos! I thought they would eat more plantbased. But I guess eating out maybe different then eating in the homes.

  4. blissfullygrateful

    This was so interesting to read! I have always been quite curious about the possibility of finding vegan options in Angola (in the biggest/wealthiest cities so to speak).

    Given Angola’s social and economical context, I assumed that veganism and vegetarianism would be basically non-existent. Thanks for showing us there are still some vegan and vegetarian options that we can get 🙂 Lovely photos btw!

  5. Jennifer Bliss

    What wonderful photos! Lovely land in Angola!!! I love seeing all of the places you post

  6. Major Styles

    Interesting article. I’ve always wanted to visit Angola, for some reason. Perhaps it’s the remote nature of it.

    Great photos!

    • cook the beans

      Who know one day it will be easier to go there as tourists 🙂 thanks for your comment

  7. E. Teresinha

    I am loved your article in Angola. It is always a pleasure to read something positive about my country. There are a some more vegan dishes such as kisaka, rama de batata doce, rama de feijao, gimboa, and muteta (for the vegan who can still eat eggs). They are all so delicious and, made go great with palm oil. Look it up, you will love it! 🙂

    • cook the beans

      Obrigada Teresinha pelo feedback 🙂 vou actualizar o post com as tuas dicas 😉

      • E. Teresinha

        Estarei de olho no seu blog. Estou a adorar as receitas. Quando voltar para terra (encontro-me offshore agora), adicionarei mais ideias. Agora nao me lembro de muitas. Ah, lembrei-me, Kifufutila. E doce 😉

  8. MyDandelionMind

    I’m away to Ethiopia in a weeks time – slightly nervous about the amount of vegetarian/vegan food I’ll be able to eat! Looking forwards to it though.

    • cook the beans

      never went to Ethiopia, but probably the reality is similar to angola.. and even if you struggle to eat properly you will love the experience i’m sure ☺️

    • cook the beans

      If you are interested in doing a collaboration with me, I would love to publish a post about how hard /easy is to be a vegan/vegetarian traveller in Ethiopia! think about it 😉 good luck ?

      • MyDandelionMind

        Sounds awesome 😀 Obviously don’t want to say yes just yet (so as not to disappoint) as it is a work trip…. – they’ll probably wonder what I’m up to taking photos of their food all the time 😛 Although I do plan on getting some serious amount of blog/photos output from it! So it will definitely it will be at the front of my mind while I’m there and when I come back 😀 Thanks!

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