Madagascar is the ideal destination for an unforgettable culinary journey in a country where the flavors are as varied as they are exquisite. The island reveals many facets, including its unique cuisine. By going through the country, some local specialties are not to be missed.
The traditional culinary specialties of Madagascar
Malagasy people are very fond of rice, which is a commodity that is part of its staple foods. Rice is usually served as an accompaniment to what the Malagasy call “laoka”. This is how Malagasy dishes are usually presented: rice with zebu meat, pork or chicken and sometimes with vegetables.
Ginger chicken, fish with coconut milk, crab sauce, etc … these are just examples of local dishes, but if you go there you will have the opportunity to find and taste more than that. The best-known specialty is pork and “ravitoto” which are cassava leaves ground and simmered with pork.
Malagasy people always accompany their food with what they call “romazava” which is actually a vegetable broth and meat or “romatsatso” is a variant of “romazava” which is a broth made from green leaves. They do this because the rice is dry and not to eat too dry they accompany their food with broth.
For breakfast, the “vary amin’anana sy kitoza” is a must. It is fluffy rice with leafy vegetables served with grilled meat. The grilled meat can be replaced with eggs, fries or meatballs, depending on what you want to eat.
Other specialties that differentiate Madagascar
If you like donuts, you will be spoiled as there are many types of donuts in Madagascar, such as: “mofogasy” (sweet rice cake), “ramanonaka” (salt and oiled rice cake) or “menakely” (donut) prepared from wheat flour rice). They are usually eaten at breakfast with tea or coffee.
There is also the “koba”, which is a cake made with rice flour, looted peanuts and cooked in a bain-marie in banana leaves. It’s very good but very sweet. There are two varieties of “koba”: the “koba voanjo” (pistachio koba) in the shape of a circle that is recognizable by its dark maroon color, or even black in the middle which is, in fact, the sweetest part, and the outline with the colors clearer which is the least cooked part; and “koba vary” (koba rice) recognized by its grayish color and wrapped by small slice in banana leaves.
In terms of an appetizer, there is the “caca pigeon” which is a French word for “poop of pigeon” but don’t worry it’s just a name and it has nothing to do with pigeon poo. Actually, these are croquettes so much appreciated as an aperitif or even a snack. And these croquettes are unavoidable in Madagascar and you can find one everywhere in grocery stores or supermarkets.
For gourmets, you can enjoy local foie gras and the famous caviar of Madagascar that are excellent for aperitifs.
Quality Malagasy products and recognized internationally.
As Madagascar is one of the largest cocoa producers in the world, it is famous for its tasty chocolates. The most famous in the world is the “Robert” brand has been rewarded in particular by the London Golden Bean Award 2017. There are other chocolate brands such as “Tsara” or homemade chocolates “Kabos” which are to try. Thanks to meticulously selected ingredients, Malagasy chocolates are refined with an intense taste and melting in the mouth.
The drinks are not left out, do not forget to sip the “Bonbon Anglais” (lemonade) or the “Fresh” (soda mixed with beer) which are sugary and refreshing drinks. As for Beers, you will be absolutely seduced by the Tree Horses Beer or THB, winner of the gold medal at the prestigious “World Selection of Brussels” in 2004, 2012, 2015 and 2016 and the most famous beer of Madagascar.
Let’s not forget the cheeses that are also quality products in Madagascar. The majority of local cheeses are made from cow’s milk or zebu and the main producers come from Ambatomanga located 50 km east of Antananarivo and the Vakinakaratra Region. But, there are also other producers such as those in the region of Alaotra Mangoro who produce the cheese “Mangoro” which offers all kinds of cheese variety from cheese to pie to camembert. Local cheeses are well worth the detour and you will not be disappointed.