What do people eat in Somalia?


Locally produced meats and imported rice are on the urban table. In rural areas, the staples are sorghum, millet, corn, and sesame. The nomadic peoples use milk for yogurt, and meat from camels and goats, supplemented by grains traded for animals.

In the urban areas, people eat pancakes from flour or millet for breakfast, rice or millet served with milk and ghee for lunch, and a snack of milk or bean dish for supper. When herding animals away from home, nomads often do not eat lunch. Vegetables are not common, but seasonal fruits including mangoes, papaya, and bananas, are plentiful. Fish is a staple in coastal regions.


People gather around a communal bowl or platter and eat only with the right hand. Guests are offered larger servings. The left hand is reserved for personal hygiene and therefore not to touch food. Overindulging in food is not acceptable.

In rural cafes, women may eat in a different area with the children. Men are traditionally served first, while women and children eat after the men have finished. One washes their hands in a bowl of water before and after eating.

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