Santomean cuisine comprises the cuisine, dishes and foods of São Tomé and Príncipe, a Portuguese-speaking island nation in the Gulf of Guinea, off the western equatorial coast of Central Africa. The country consists of two archipelagos around the two main islands: São Tomé and Príncipe, located about 140 kilometres (87 mi) apart and about 250 and 225 kilometres (155 and 140 mi), respectively, off the northwestern coast of Gabon.


Domestic food-crop production is inadequate to meet local consumption, so the country imports much of its food.[1] In 1997 it was estimated that 90 percent of the country's food needs are met through imports.[1] Furthermore, the country is not self-sufficient in meat and food grain production,[1] and is reliant upon imports of these foods. In 2003 it was estimated that 8.33% of the country's total land is arable.[2]

Primary food crops include bananas, breadfruit, taro, maize, beans, papaya, palm oil, and primary agricultural production crops for export include cocoa, copra and coffee.[1][3] Fish and seafood is prominent in São Tomése and Príncipe cuisine, and the fishing industry there contributes approximately 25 percent to the country's gross domestic product.[1][4] Poultry is also raised in São Tomé and Príncipe.[1] The nation's cuisine has been influenced and shaped by African and Portuguese settlers.[5]

Common foods

Staple foods include fish, seafood, beans, maize and cooked banana.[4][6] Tropical fruits such as pineapple, avocado and bananas are a significant component of the cuisine.[4] The use of hot spices is prominent in São Tomése cuisine.[4] Coffee is utilized in various dishes as a spice or seasoning.[4] Breakfast dishes are often reheated leftovers from the previous evening's meal.[6]


Alcoholic beverages

  • Aquardente is a distilled beverage prepared from sugar cane.[6]
  • Nacional is the country's national beer.[6] Other beers, such as Super Bock and Sagres lager are imported from Portugal.[6] Criollo is another brand of beer produced in the country.[6]
  • Gravana rum is prepared from sugar cane.[6]
  • Palm wine is considered a national drink of São Tomé and Príncipe.[6]
  • Ponche is a cocktail prepared with honey and Aquardente.[6]
  • Wines, typically imported from Portugal[6]

Street foods

Cooked corn on the cob. Street vendors in São Tomé and Príncipe sometimes offer grilled corn on the cob.[6]

Street foods include stews, safú (a fruit) and corn on the cob.[6]


Estufa de morcego is a bat stew delicacy that is served on saints days and during fiestas.[6]

Desserts and sweets

Snack foods

  • Banana seca is a dried, whole banana that has a smoky flavor.[6]
  • Bobofrito is a specialty of Príncipe that consists of bananas fried in coconut oil.[6]
  • Bread rolls with Portuguese salami and sausages[5]
  • Fios is a snack food prepared with corn flour and bananas.[6]
  • Gigumba (peanut brittle) [6]
  • Palla-palla are crisps prepared with cocoyam or banana.[6]


See also


Further reading

External links