Culture Food

9 Cultural Dishes That Welcome You To Kigali

Written by See Africa Today

In a trip to Kigali City, the sweet aroma and food craving invites you to taste a variety of food in the land of a thousand hills.

Just like the street food culture in many other African countries is rife, Kigali is no exception. There is a lot of food tasting to do in the city, street food being a common phenomenon.

Nevertheless, Kigali sums up Rwanda’s mix of cuisines. It is the one place in this beautiful country where you enjoy cultural delight on your plate. Most of the dishes are simple in nature, prepared in express Rwandan way and are always fresh. Below, we list the most authentic and common food you will bump into within Kigali City.

Also read: Amazing Foods Of Zanzibar That You’ll Love


In another name, it is also known as unleavened bread. It is a huge part of Rwanda’s diet. Chapati’s roots can be traced to the Indian culture who introduced it centuries ago before it came to be in East Africa.

It is eaten with specially prepared stew with meat and vegetables. Chapati is the most common food in the entire East African landscape. You will hardly walk into any restaurant and miss it on the menu.


Eating fish is part of Rwanda’s culture. The population in Kigali loves fish mostly caught in Lake Ihema. Remember Rwanda is a landlocked country with Lake Ihema being a national source of pride. In Kigali, sumptuous whole tilapia – big in size – dominate Nyamirambo in Kigali Muslim Quarters. This joint is known for its flavourful grilled fish served with sprinkles of heat glazed onions, garlic and a dash of grated carrots together with vegetables of your choice.

The fish is too big for one person and two or three people will often share it. Green Corner and Piano Bar are other joints to savour the Rwanda fish taste in Kigali.

Tasty brochettes


Brochette. [Photo: Shadow of Africa]

In Rwanda brochette is a real delicacy. You get beef, mutton or pork in most joints where meat skewer grills meats over the charcoal stove. Long, thin wooden rods are stuffed with meat (fish included) and placed over a charcoal grill to roast. White onions, vegetable and chilli are part of this outdoor delicacy. It is mostly enjoyed in restaurants and sports bar grills.

Brochettes are accompanied by fries in most cases and a drink of our choice.

Lake Kivu’s Sambaza fish

Sambaza are tiny fish harvested in Lake Kivu which lies on the Rwanda-DRC border. They are bigger species of silver cyprinid. In Kigali, they are part of a bigger fish-eating culture. They are on the menu for restaurant and food kiosks within the city. They are deep-fried and served hot with a stay bowl of dipping sauce and the traditional black pepper fondly referred to as pili pili. They are loved for their distinct taste and nutrition pack. They are friendly to the pocket too.


Akabanga is a special Rwandan chilli made from yellow chilli cooked in oil. It is on the table of every restaurant you walk into but it is not for first-timers. It is hot, unforgiving and kicks hard with just a little dash on food.

Barbecued Pork

In Rwanda, pork in not common but in its barbecued form, it is a popular dish trading under the name ‘Akabenz’. It is served with sprinkles of lime and a cold beer.

Umunyinjye bananas

Bananas are a delicacy in East Africa. Rwanda’s green banana is prepared in a special way. Umunyinjye is the process that they go through before being served. They are wrapped in banana leaves as a steaming mechanism and then they are mashed.

Also read: 6 Traditional Foods You Should Taste In Burkina Faso

Fresh and fermented milk

Across Kigali, there is a line of milk bars. The Kigali population loves milk to another level. For a traditional feel, there is ikivuguto (fermented milk) on offer sold with snacks as accompaniments.

Urwagwa the banana beer

From the interiors of Rwanda, Urwagwa the traditional brew still finds a place in the city of Kigali. From crushed bananas brewed by burying them several feet underground with sorghum and wild yeast, the beer is refreshingly traditional.

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About the author

See Africa Today

Pharis Kinyua is the editor of See Africa Today. With over seven years of experience in digital media, he has a soft spot for African tours and travel. His drive is to tell the rest of the world what Africa offers, the best accommodation facilities, national parks, culture, shopping malls and best airline deals to travel to Africa

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