How West African Cuisines Originated and Developed Over Centuries

As West African cuisine becomes more established across the globe, people focus first on the taste and then want to know about its origins.

As with all cultures, environmental factors, historic migration patterns, and local tastes have played a role in formulating the core components of West African cuisine.

A trademark of a west African dish, especially in the Guinea, is its hot spiciness. The region is home to several unrelated hot spices, traditionally referred to as Guinea pepper. They were a major export to Europe in the precolonial period.

These spices, such as the melegueta or alligator pepper; uziza, Benin pepper or Ashanti pepper; and Senegal pepper, are the core of west African pepper soup.

As African food becomes global it is vital that the rich history and the stories behind African dishes be shared with the world as well.

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