Any run-of-the-mill Burkinabé restaurant will most certainly have one or all of the following:
Tô = a millet or corn flour based jello-like dish served with a sauce. Sauces commonly are okra-based (fr. “sauce gumbo” – tends to be on the viscous-side), peanut-based (fr. “sauce arachide”), baobab-leaf-based (not bad tasting, but very slimy), or sorrel-based (fr. “oseille”, another green-leaf, a little sour).
You eat this dish by breaking off some tô with a spoon (or, if you want to go local and your hands are washed, use your finger – just remember to use always the right hand, as the left hand is considered “unclean” because it is used for bathroom purposes) and dipping it into the sauce. Definitely an acquired taste.
Foufou = a pizza dough-like ball of starch served with a sauce. Made by pounding boiled ignames (sort of a super-sized version of a yucca-potato hybrid, called Yams in English). The sauce is usually tomato-based. Eaten in the same manner as tô.
Ragout d’Igname = boiled igname in a tomato sauce. A beef and yam stew.
Riz Gras = Rice cooked in tomato sauce and flavored stock, often with onion. Sometimes served with extra sauce on top, but not a given.
Riz Sauce (Rice and sauce) = Pretty self-explanatory. White rice usually served with a tomato or peanut sauce.
Spaghetti = Usually spaghetti is served au gras as opposed to spaghetti sauce.
Haricots verts = Green-beans, usually from a can, with tomato sauce.
Petits pois = Green peas, usually from a can, with tomato sauce.
Soupe = usually chicken (fr. “poulet”), guinea fowl (fr. “pintade”) or fish (fr. “poisson”).
Salade = a salad of lettuce, tomato, cucumber and onion with a mayonnaise-based dressing (mayo, vinegar, salt, pepper).
A Burkina specialty is “Poulet Telévisé” aka televised chicken, or roast chicken, since many locals say if you watch the roaster it is like watching TV!
- Beignets = (mooré samsa) fried bean flour
- Fried ignames, patate douce (sweet potato french fries)
- Alloco = Bbq’d plantains
- Brochettes = bbq’d meat sticks, or liver, or tripe, or intestines
- Porc au four = baked greasy pork bits served with hot sauce (fr. “piment”), salt, and if you are lucky, mustard. Best enjoyed with a Flag beer (to make “champagne”, add some tonic)
- Gateau = fried dough. Comes in all sorts of varieties, best when fresh.
- Bisap = cold sweet tea made of the fleshy calyces of roselle (a kind of hibiscus), sometimes enhanced with mint and/or ginger (XOF25-50)
- Yamoku, or Gingembre = sweet ginger drink (XOF25-50)
- Toédo, or Pain de singe = sweet and “smoothie-like” in texture. Made from baobab fruit.
- Dégué = sweet yoghurt mixed with millet balls, sometimes couscous.
- Dolo = sorghum beer.