The diet in Togo is diverse and reflects the country's cultural and geographical diversity. The cuisine is heavily influenced by the availability of ingredients, with many dishes featuring staples such as corn, yams, cassava, and beans. Here are some examples of foods that are commonly eaten in Togo:
Fufu: Fufu is a starchy dough made from cassava, plantains, or yams that is often served with a soup or stew. It is a staple food in many parts of Togo and is typically eaten with the hands.
Pâte: Pâte is similar to fufu and is made from maize or millet flour. It is often served with a sauce or soup and is a popular food in the northern regions of Togo.
Rice: Rice is a popular food in Togo and is often served with a variety of sauces and stews.
Beans: Beans are a common source of protein in Togo and are often served as a side dish or added to stews and soups.
Grilled meat: Grilled meat is a popular street food in Togo, with vendors selling skewers of grilled chicken, beef, or goat.
Fish: Togo has a long coastline along the Gulf of Guinea, and fish is a common food in coastal regions. It is often served grilled or fried with a spicy sauce.
Vegetables: Vegetables such as eggplant, okra, and tomatoes are commonly used in Togolese cuisine and are often included in stews and soups.
Fruit: Togo has a wide variety of tropical fruits, including mangoes, pineapples, papayas, and bananas, which are often eaten as a snack or used in desserts.
Mealtime customs in Togo are an important aspect of the culture, and it is essential to be aware of these customs to avoid inadvertently offending your hosts. Here are some of the mealtime customs to keep in mind when dining in Togo:
Hand washing: Before eating, it is customary to wash your hands. A basin of water and soap is usually provided for this purpose.
Sharing food: In Togo, it is common for people to eat from a communal bowl or plate. It is considered polite to take only a small portion of food at a time, to avoid taking more than your share, and to wait until everyone has been served before beginning to eat.
Respect for elders: In Togolese culture, respect for elders is highly valued, and it is essential to show respect to older people at mealtime. This may involve waiting for the oldest person to begin eating before you start or addressing them with a title such as "Mama" or "Papa."
Use of utensils: In some parts of Togo, it is traditional to eat with your hands, using a piece of bread or other food to scoop up the food. However, in more urban areas, it is more common to use utensils such as a fork and spoon.
Etiquette during the meal: It is considered impolite to speak with your mouth full or to make loud noises while eating. It is also customary to leave a small amount of food on your plate to show that you have had enough.
Sharing drinks: It is common for drinks such as beer or palm wine to be shared during a meal. A bottle or glass is often passed around the table, with each person taking a sip before passing it on.