About the food of Swaziland

Swaziland stone free farm

Stone Free Farm in Swaziland. Photo by Jenny M. Buccos.

This week we’re back in Africa, in a little tropical/temperate country called Swaziland, just north of South African and Lesotho.  The Swazi people live in this beautiful land, among the mountains and undulating hills, tending their farms and rearing their cattle.

animals in swaziland

From their smooth slopes, come pineapples, citrus, and sweet sugar cane.

Many call Swaziland one of the world’s most beautiful countries, and I can see why.

Swaziland. Photo by Jenny M. Buccos.

Swaziland. Photo by Jenny M. Buccos.

While the traditional people might eat something as simple as emasi, or porridge, which can be made with sorghum or corn, you’ll also find corn, rice, and every kind of potato, including sweet potato. Many stews, such as spinach, pumpkin, or even green beans, grace the sides of such dishes. Salads are a given, especially when topped with avocado or beets [Recipe].

And did you know the Swazi eat beer? That’s right… beer is yet another carb; the  Swazi consider their rich, thick home brew a food. (I read about it in the World Cookbook for Students.)

Outdoor kitchen in Swaziland. Photo by Jenny M. Buccos.

Outdoor kitchen in Swaziland. A place to make breakfast. Photo by Jenny M. Buccos.

If that’s too boozy for you, perhaps a simple slice of mealie bread  [Recipe] (think corn bread with bolder, fresher flavor) would do the trick?

In fact, corn makes its way into many dishes, from samp and beans (hominy with beans), to pap (like the papa we made for Lesotho), to cornmeal breakfast pancakes (served with tangy yogurt and the occasional sprinkle of powdered sugar).

Traditional Swazi Hut. Photo by Anne97432.

Traditional Swazi Hut. Photo by Anne97432.

P.S. I’d like to go back to that “beer for food” idea for a minute. Can you imagine beer making up an entire meal? Would this appeal to you? Or do you need something to go along with beer to feel that you’ve eaten?  (Or do you not drink beer at all?)

P.P.S. Special thanks to Jenny Buccos, who shared almost all of the photos in this post from her trip to visit a friend in Swaziland. Her travels have made our stovetop travels all the richer.

Swaziland maps & flag.

Swaziland maps & flag courtesy of the CIA World Factbook.


  1. annaclarice says

    While I LOVE beer in all its colors and flavors (and it does make me feel full); I just don’t think I’d feel satisfied without something more solid to go along with it. The need to chew is very strong. 🙂

    • Sasha Martin says

      I used to put ice in my beer on hot summer days… you could always chew ice 😉

  2. Dutchgirl says

    To my opinion beer is best accompanied with something fried like patat frites (french fries) and/or frikandel speciaal (sort of sausage with ketchup, mayonaise, chopped onions. Or with nasi goreng…
    However the only times i’ll have a beer is when i join a music festival or BBQ.

  3. Brian S. says

    In Ancient Egypt, a major part of most people’s diet (especially poor workers) was a thick, gruely beer. Archaeological evidence suggests this was true even in 3400 BC, before known dynastic history begins. The workers who built the pyramids around 2000 BC were given over a gallon a day. Yes, beer has nutritional value but in the US it is illegal for beer companies to advertise the fact, because it was thought this would encourage drunkenness. Oh… and here is a traditional Swaziland song.


  4. I am really excited about this one! I went to Swaziland in 2008 and I’ve often wished I could make some Swazi food to take me back a bit. 😀

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