Sudan is the widest African state, situated in the North-East Africa. The natural space of Sudan is characterized by tropical forests, steppes and savannas, but there are also a lot of lakes and rivers in the Southern areas; in this region, the fish is the most frequent meal.
Sudanese cuisine has been changing and evolving gradually, but most of the dishes remain simple and natural. The most common elements are Wheat, Beef and sheep meat, tomatoes, sesame seeds (Sudan is a great exporter of sesame) and rice.
An important evolution is spices. The basic spices, like the peppers or garlic were brought in Sudan by the Arab and Syrian traders and settlers who established in Sudan during the Turkish rule. Besides the spices, the Arabians also introduced some of the veggies and fruits that are used today in Sudan, but unknown in this country before these influences.
Sudanese cuisine has various influences, but none of them is dominating the regional culinary cultures. Among these, there is the Egyptian cuisine, the Ethiopian and the Turkish one (meatballs, pastries and spices), but there are also numerous dishes that are specific to all Arabian nations.
Sudanese Food and Drink
Eating in Sudan is an exciting and rich experience. Food in Sudan has many different styles with thousands of great restaurants in all the major cities and towns of Sudan. All of them seem to boast about one chef or another, which is good, but for most of us we want to get down to eating.
In addition, food in Khartoum and other Sudanese tourist resorts is not restricted to traditional Sudanese delights. Cuisine from all over the world can be found in Sudan, including Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern, and other international tastes. Fast food chains are rising in popularity due to convenience and their family oriented style.
Food in Daily Life;-
The day usually begins with a cup of tea. Breakfast is eaten in the mid- to late morning, generally consisting of beans, salad, liver, and bread. Millet is the staple food, and is prepared as a porridge called asida or a flat bread called kisra. Vegetables are prepared in stews or salads. Ful, a dish of broad beans cooked in oil, is common, as are cassavas and sweet potatoes. Nomads in the north rely on dairy products and meat from camels. In general, meat is expensive and not often consumed. Sheep are killed for feasts or to honor a special guest. The intestines, lungs, and liver of the animal are prepared with chili pepper in a special dish called marara.
Cooking is done in the courtyards outside the house on a tin grill called a kanoon, which uses charcoal as fuel.
Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions:-
At the Eid al-Adha, the Feast of the Great Sacrifice, it is customary to kill a sheep, and to give part of the meat to people who cannot afford it themselves. The Eid al-Fitr, or Breaking of the Ramadan Fast, is another joyous occasion, and involves a large family meal. The birthday of the Prophet Muhammad is primarily a children’s holiday, celebrated with special desserts: pink sugar dolls and sticky sweets made from nuts and sesame seeds.
Religion is a very important part of their life and culture. There are a number of important religious celebrations in Sudan: the Ramadan, Eid al-fitr, Eid-al Adha, and Christmas. Ramadan is a long period of fasting (30 days), when people don’t eat or drink anything between sunrise and sunset. That is why, when Ramadan ends, Sudanese people refer to the following period as Eid al-Fitr, colloquially known as Eid al-sag’eer (the small Eid). Still, at nighttime, there are generous feasts and meals during the Ramadan, which include sah’ur, a meal taken in the late night.
On the other major religious holiday, Eid al-Adha (known as Eid al-kabir, or the big Eid), which takes place during Hajj, all the families sacrifice a sheep. Other calibrations in Sudan include Moulid Al Nabi or The Prophet’s Birthday and it is mainly celebrated with a lot of sweets and refreshments in the central town areas. The Spring Holiday, locally known as Sham Al Nassim is connected to the Egyptian culture and celebrates the spring. On this occasion, picnics are very frequent on the river coasts. Christmas is celebrated on the 25th of December each year, the majority of Christians are from the southern regions of the country.
Sudanese people are very hospitable people, who like a lot having and serving guests. When a guest arrives for dinner, the host offers him a small glass of orange
or grapefruit juice
, to start the appetite and to welcome him to the family, after his long and exhausting journey. Also, if someone is considered a very important guest, a sheep will be sacrificed in his honor and then many delicious dishes will be prepared. The Sudanese people are gifted with creativity, cooking skills and with a range of culinary possibilities that includes rice
, sesame, sheep and Beef
. The Sudanese people carried on the traditions through their cooking and all participated to the cultural Sudanese cuisine. Sudanese people are in touch with the nature and all its elements. They take all the elements that the nature has shown them and prepare innovating mixes, special dips, creative meat dishes and spiced garnishes.
The Sudanese appetizers can’t all fit in the same category, as they differ in aliments and preparation methods. Still, breads with dips, rice and soups are the main Sudanese starters. Shorba is a specialty made of lamb soup, puree and peanut butter. The meal is also served with rice, but this is not a custom when serving it as an appetizer. There are many meals and breads (like Pita bread) which are served with traditional dips. Among these, there is the Sudanese yoghurt and tahini dip. This special dish, served with all kinds of veggies and meats as an appetizer is made with sesame seed and paste (locally known as tahini), plain non-fat yoghurt, minced garlic, lemon juice and chopped fresh parsley, all these spiced up with fresh black pepper. Other appetizer consists of drinks, especially herbal tea and all kinds of fruit juices (orange, grapefruit, lime) – these are served to the guests before the meal, because they are considered healthy after a journey.