About Angolan Food: most like it hot!

In 1992 I moved to Paris. I brought my love of brownies with me.

There was just one problem.

No one sold or made brownies (there were amazing croissants everywhere, yes – but brownies, no).

I was only 13 years old and I was homesick.

By 1995 I went to extreme measures to get my hands on some brownies. I asked any American within shouting distance for a recipe. In a strange turn of events an Irish priest handed me a recipe scribbled on a scrap of paper. I’m not sure who told him about my plight but I was thrilled!

I immediately got to work. I made brownies by the boatload. I brought them to school parties, friends’ houses, picnics, and so on.

So what does this have to do with Angola?

Food habits follow people,  migrating from country to country. Even as years and miles add up, cultures remain linked through food habits.

Angola was a Portuguese colony for 300 years.

300 years!

If I could infiltrate Parisian suburbs with brownies in 3 years, you better believe that the Portuguese significantly impacted Angolan food in 300.

Portugal’s influence on Angolan cuisine:

Spicy foods: Like Portugal, Angola uses a lot of hot spices. Habanero peppers are popularly used in meat and fish dishes.

Marinades: This European technique made isnow  used in Angola. Marinades make tough cuts of meat tender and flavorful.

Olive Oil: Although a lot of palm oil is used in Angola, the Portugese love of olive oil made its way into the cuisine as well.

Stews: Portuguese-style spicy soups are a mainstay.

A note on Brazil: Brazil was also a colony of Portugal. Many Brazilian foods and techniques were introduced to Angola by Portuguese colonizers.


  1. Grammie Sue aka Mom aka susan says

    WOW! This is so interesting….
    Thanks for the geography lesson…and the story about your brownie saga in Paris! I am learning so much more every day…..

  2. Grammie Sue aka Mom aka susan says

    When you guys were little, I used to make the creamcheese brownies….still have the great recipe…

  3. Brian S. says

    Well, it worked. One recent writer says that “le brownie … has found its way into the hearts of sweets-loving Parisians” So Paris thanks you!!!

    With Portugal it just struck me that England and France had very little impact on their colonies’ food, but Spain and Portugal had a lot, not only in Latin America but also in Phillippines. In New York, some Chinese restaurants offer “Portuguese style” food, and what you get is curry! Since it was Portuguese merchants who brought it from India to China and Japan.

    What Portuguese and Spanish did that had the most impact: bring crops from one place to another. Think chili pepper, potato, cassava etc etc (Though I don’t think food in Portugal is really spicy hot, but maybe they used it as a substitute for super-expensive cloves, black pepper, etc, to flavor bad meat.)

    • lol Glad Parisians now appreciate the brownie! 🙂

      You make an interesting point about Portuguese food being curry because of the spice trade with India… so interesting how that happens!

      I found that Algerians still eat quite a bit of French foods – particularly the breads (baguette) thanks to colonization. Its probably a case by case thing…

  4. I lived in Sweden in 1993/1994 while I was in high school. My “oh, man, I need that now,” food was banana bread. I found an old Betty Crocker cookbook and started making banana bread for everyone. It was well received.

    Can’t wait to see the Angolan food!

  5. Such an interesting lesson on colonialism. What I find interesting (as a French person) is that in French and English colonies, the food has actually been incorporated in France and England. For example, you can thank North Africa for bringing spicier food to French palates. And the reason the Brits love curry is because of decades and decades of colonizing India.

  6. aunty eileen says

    I love my Betty Crocker cookbook… It was my first cookbook and actually continues to be my favorite and most used…

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