Fufu is the staple food of Congo. It’s a thick paste made from sweet potato or yam, which is boiled and then mashed with a mortar and pestle.
A plate of fufu is often accompanied by a peanut soup. To eat the dish in the traditional way, a person begins by carving a small chunk of the thick paste. A ball the size of a marble is then shaped using the right hand. A thumb is pressed in the middle of the ball, and the depression made is used to scoop the soup before putting the dish in one’s mouth.
Moambe is a traditional African stew. The thick red sauce is made from the fruit of the African oil palm. Chunks of beef, mutton, or chicken are then added to complete the dish.
To make moambe, the marinated meat and chopped onions are put in a Dutch oven. The meat is then left to simmer until it becomes golden brown. A few cups of water and cut tomatoes are then added before putting in the palm oil sauce. The dish is then left alone for an hour for the meat to tenderize before serving it on a plate with fufu or chikwanga.
Satori is a popular dish among the fishing communities of Kisangani. The dish is made from tilapia fillets pan fried in a bed of pepitas (pumpkin seeds), plantains, and garlic.
The dish may be available in Nganda restaurants around Kinshasa. These eating places, often managed by unmarried women, serve as a middle ground between bars and restaurants.
Satori goes well with cold beer and even soukous music playing on the stereo.
Cassava is used to make chikwanga. The tuberous root is pounded into paste. Then it’s wrapped in banana leaves before boiled in a pot.
Chikwanga is sold with the same leaves used as wrapper. Eaten as snacks, the dish is regarded as a travel companion, as the leaf holding the cassava paste keeps the food fresh.
Lunguila, or sugarcane wine, is a drink in the Bas-Congo province in the DRC. The sugarcane is peeled, and the middle portion of the cane is cut and placed in a press made of hollowed log to extract the sweet juice. The juice is then set aside to ferment for several days before it is enjoyed as a local alcoholic drink.