Africa is home to 54 countries that each boast a unique set of flavors inspired by a variety of influences. Some of these include intergenerational transmission of traditions, culinary exchanges as a result of Colonialism, continuous global contact through trade and migration, and a shift in how food is prepared and consumed in today’s modern world. For centuries, African food has absorbed outside influences, yet it has also managed to retain its authentic regional flair and nuances.

Foods and recipes rooted in traditional African cultures have been adapted into new creations by those within the African diaspora. For example, okra, yams, and certain beans are just a few of the staples in traditional soul food recipes that are influenced by African dishes. Similarly, much of Brazil’s food, in its Bahia region and elsewhere, is rooted in West African cuisine, with many dishes calling for cassava, palm oil, or black eyed peas. You’ll also find parallels between African food and some Caribbean, Creole, and Gullah-Geechee dishes.