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Cuisine in the Sahara
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Niger, a country almost entirely covered by the Sahara desert, is often confused with its neighbor Nigeria. Not only do the countries have similar names, but Niger and Nigeria also share many elements of their cuisine. As is the custom in Nigeria, a typical meal in Niger consists of a starch paired with either a sauce or stew, usually made of vegetables, since meat is scarce. Often the sauce will be flavored with peanuts for a distinct taste that is characteristic of West African cookery. Starches range from millet and rice—the most basic—to couscous, which is more high-end and saved for special occasions. Porridge and wheat dumplings are other local favorites. For snacking, beignets (fried dough balls) are simple, yet satisfying.

Desserts are uncommon, except for regions heavily influenced by French culture. Alcohol is also rare because almost all of Niger’s population lives in accordance to Islam, which prohibits consumption.—Alexandra Menglide


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