What do people eat in Timor-Leste?


The East Timor diet is affected by the short supply of many staples since the conflict. The cuisine shares elements of Chinese, Portuguese, and Indonesian. Rice accompanies most meals. Other staples commonly found are cassava, potato, yam, and corn. Many meals are spicy, and coconut milk is used. A popular meal is beans and corn. A meat meal on the menu is tukir, consisting of lamb traditionally cooked inside bamboo with many spices. A dish traditional to villages along the coast outside Dili is called saboko. Saboko is made from sardines mixed with tamarind sauce and spices, firmly wrapped in palm leaves, and cooked on a fire. There is some local fruit without English names. Palm wine and palm alcohol are consumed in local bars and in villages. Tourists and officials mainly frequent restaurants.


Typically, breakfast is served by 7 AM, lunch between noon and 2: 00 PM, and dinner between 6 and 8 pm. The fork is often held in the right hand to eat. It is improper to eat or hand things to people with the left hand. Coconut juice and lemonade are common drinks, along with coffee. Most people eat at home or at the houses of friends or family. Street stalls are common in the larger towns.

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