The Burundian kitchen is not very rich. Despite a smaller offer in the country, you can eat varied. The staple foods include carbohydrate-rich basics like cassava, millet, plantains, sweet potatoes, corn, beans and rice. Cassava, millet and corn are often cooked to a pulp and eaten with vegetables. Porridge can also be eaten with your fingers in more elegant restaurants. Before the meal, a jug of warm water and soap is traditionally passed around to wash hands. Beans are of great importance as a vegetable source of protein and iron- especially for children. Dairy products are rarely found in Burundi – fresh cow’s milk is consumed quickly, and cheese-making has no tradition. Other dairy products such as cottage cheese and yogurt are imported. In rural areas, the lack of electricity and therefore cooling is often an obstacle to the storage and sale of dairy products, which are quickly and easily perishable. Meat is of secondary importance, as only a few people in Burundi can keep goats and / or cattle / dairy cows, but the stock should be expanded in order to offer more people a sufficient supply of protein. A meat skewer made mostly from goat meat – the brochette – is widespread and popular. It is known and loved beyond the country’s borders. There are many brochette vendors in Bujumbura. Goat meat is the most eaten of all meats.
A typical local specialty is fried Ndagara fish from Lake Tanganyika, as well as agatoki, fried fish with bananas. Cassava leaves are cooked and eaten with vegetables, as is amaranth. The Belgian colonial power also brought the tradition of deep-frying to Burundi: French fries are often eaten. The consumption of banana beer (pombe in East Africa), called “urwagwa” in Burundi, is traditionally, culturally and also economically important. The manufacturing process is familiar to many of the residents of Burundi. Banana beer is drunk from a jug – traditionally with long straws – on festive occasions. This custom strengthens the social community. The custom used to be separated into women and men – this is often no longer the case today. Sorghumbier is also important (impeke). Above all, Amstel Beer and Primus Beer are produced industrially, and are highly valued by the population – who can afford it. Beer was also used as a drug and stimulant during the civil war years significant; the brewery in Bujumbura is extremely well guarded. To date, the beer industry has not had any sales problems. Bananas are an essential agricultural product – both as a solid food and as the basis of banana beer. Plantains and sweet bananas add to the menu, whereas for the production of banana beer only “beer bananas” grown for this purpose are used.
According to pharmacylib, there are many different restaurants in Bujumbura that offer traditional as well as international dishes. International restaurants are often very expensive and are therefore almost only visited by “expats” – international specialists.
Shopping and everyday life
Basic food can be bought anywhere, the easiest way to go to vegetable markets. The local food is inexpensive by European standards. In northern Burundi you can find a large selection of different types of vegetables, which are also sold in a very beautiful way on the street. Imported goods, which are offered in larger hotels and supermarkets, are very expensive. The following supermarkets in Bujumbura are: Goshen, Burundi Trade Center, Alimentation International, Belladone. For imports and exports, Burundi is dependent on the transport routes via its neighboring countries. Tourist goods are offered in Bujumbura.
Bujumbura has a number of good hotels, e.g. the Sun Safari Club Hotel, and restaurants with African-European cuisine, which are also expensive (Bujumbura: Oasis, Restaurant Chinois, Le Safran, Isango, Tandoor, le Baobab, Le Kasuku, Chez André among others). There are also shops with a shopping center character: Rusca Plazza, Le Parisien, Dmitri Supermarket). As addresses for nightlife in Bujumbura, Chez Ruhara, Club Eden du Lac, Havana Club or Le Braisière come into question. At the weekend you can relax on the beach of Lake Tanganyika. There are some beach bars and hotels here, e.g. B. the Hotel du Lac Tanganyika. Bujumbura is known for a wide variety of sports. Other addresses for accommodation in Burundi, activities and tourist attractions can be found in the Petit Futé Burundi. Trips to Burundi are interesting, but the country is not a tourist destination in the classic sense.
An online English-Kirundi dictionary is useful for understanding in Kirundi (helpful in the markets, among other places). It is also good to remember some standard Kirundi sentences; the Burundians are happy about it.