5 Traditional Foods You MUST Try in Zambia

I haven’t been home in quite a while so writing this post is about to make me crave everything on this list! Food is a very big part of culture. This week is all about Fashion and Culture and so today, I decided to share some of my favourite Zambian dishes with you.


Nshima is Zambia’s staple food. It is a thick and smooth porridge made out of finely ground maize meal. It can also be made out of cassava flour or millet. Nshima is eaten using the hands and is served along with different types of relish.

Nshima (White lumps) served with Beef and Lumanda. Photo by Zambian Kitchen


I think Lumanda is the best vegetable you could have in Zambia. Lumanda is the only vegetable I actually crave. The scientific name for Lumanda is Hibiscus sadbiriffa. Lumanda can be prepared with pounded groundnuts or with cooking oil. It is usually served with Nshima.

I prefer Lumanda with pounded groundnuts to Lumanda with cooking oil. I think that’s the best way to have it. Unfortunately, I can’t cook Lumanda. Not because I have never been taught but because I have never wanted to learn. Two weeks ago, I was telling my mom that I would never learn how to cook it so that she always has to cook it. She makes the best Lumanda. I will still learn how to because now she insists that I learn.

Lumanda. Photo by Zambian Kitchen


This could be either pork trotters or beef hooves. Nshima with Vimbombo is a really good combination. This is not something I eat often so whenever I do, it feels like a treat. A very nice delicacy.

Vimbombo with Nshima and green vegetables. Photo by Zambian Kitchen


In English, Chikanda is called African Polony because of it’s meat-like consistency. However, Chikanda is purely vegetarian. It is made of orchid tubers which are dried and then pounded and then cooked with pounded groundnuts and chilli.

Chikanda can be eaten with Nshima. I have had it that way only once. Usually, I enjoy Chikanda made by the ladies who sell on the streets or those who go around in markets selling ready cooked Chikanda. Just add a little extra chilli and I am good to go.

Chikanda. Photo by Zambian Kitchen


If you’re up for an adventure, you should try this. Ifinkubala are caterpillars. They are usually sun-dried after being squeezed of any fluids. An alternative to drying them in the sun is smoking them.

When cooking, these are fried and some people add tomato and onions with spices. This is usually eaten with Nshima. I really like ifinkubala even though they make my jaw hurt after chewing for a while.

Ifinkubala. Photo by Zambian Kitchen


These are a favourite. Vitumbuwa, also known as fritters, are usually served for breakfast. Flour, sugar, yeast and water are mixed together and the dough that is formed is scooped up in small portions and fried.

Just like Chikanda, I think the best Vitumbuwa you can have is the one you buy at 6am fresh off the pan, sold by the ladies on the road side or at bus stops.

Vitumbuwa. Photo by Zambian Kitchen

You Can Also Read; Traditions and Weddings: Chilanga Mulilo

There are many other foods you can and should try when you’re in Zambia but these are some of my favourites. Let me know what your favourite Zambian dish is in the comments below. If you’re not from Zambia, would you try any of the food items mentioned above? Leave a comment and let me know.

Thanks for reading!
Wonani Xx

Hey guys! Welcome to day 17 of the Afrobloggers WinterABC 2021. The theme for this week is Fashion and Culture. Today, I decided to give you a cultural experience and recommend 5 traditional foods you must try when you are in Zambia.
Follow the blog to keep up with all the posts in this year’s blogging challenge.

Find all WinterABC 2021 related posts here!

30 thoughts on “5 Traditional Foods You MUST Try in Zambia

  1. I ate a lot of lumanda in a short period of time and got sick of it. I can’t stand it now.

    Does thobwa count as a food? That’s one of my favourite things but I can only drink it after it’s fermented.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How is that a favourite food… 🤣🤣🤣 it’s so bland I propose that we remove it from our diets where did it even come from… I’m still processing how I feel about how where these guys come from they mostly reserve maize usage to as livestock feed and they introduced it to Africa as food and now it’s practically a staple starch across a lot of country….

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I am amused too 😂 I added it to the list just so people can know what it is when I reference it.
        You are like my dad. He says there is no need for us to be eating nshima. There are other things to eat 😂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. seriously if we had a case study to see if there was correlation between a country’s level of “unprogressiveness” and how much quantities of maize meal starch was consumed per capita lol we would get some very interesting results…. but does one cause the other, that would be the question


          1. All I know is if I eat nshima at 1pm, I might as well cancel my whole day because i will not get anything serious done.
            There is definitely a correlation 😂


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