Bantu Diet

(below excerpted from CAL Bantu Cultural Profile)

The staple food for the Bantu is maize, locally known as soor, which is a thick porridge.

The staple food for the Bantu is maize, locally known as soor, which is a thick porridge. Other foods are beans, sorghum, vegetables, and fruits. Through outside influences, additional foods such as rice and spaghetti have become common. The Bantu catch fish for themselves from the Juba River and occasionally buy or trade for ghee, milk, and meat in the market from the nomads. They normally eat three meals a day. Breakfast often includes coffee with bananas, sweet potatoes, or yam. For lunch, they may eat boiled corn and beans mixed with sesame oil and tea. Dinner could be soor with mboga (cooked vegetables), fish or meat, and milk.

The Bantu eat halal meat—that is, meat that comes from animals slaughtered by a Muslim—and are not permitted to eat pork and lard. Some Bantu also hunt wild game to supplement their diets. Although the Bantu follow restrictions against alcohol, a few brew local drinks made of maize and honey, which are consumed during the traditional ritual dance gatherings.

Resettlement agencies may want to provide the Bantu with bread and cereal (hot and cold), the fruit and vegetables listed above, and milk and loose leaf tea to drink. The Bantu have learned to make and cook spaghetti and flat bread (similar to a tortilla) in the refugee camps from their rations of wheat, cooking oil, sugar, and salt. They have also grown tomatoes, onions, papaya, and watermelons in the camps and should be familiar with this produce in the United States.


(below are comments and suggestions from Abdulai Jama)
Vegetables: Onions, tomatoes, peppers, garlic and carrots are the main vegetable staples. Lettuce, salads and leafy vegetables not popular.

Fruits: Bananas, papayas, melons, oranges, grapefruits, mangoes are what they are used to most but other fruits they will eat as well. Fruits can be expensive and generally they will eat what is seasonal and the best bargain.

Meats: Beef, fish and chicken are acceptable. Bantus would prefer to eat only Halal meats but as these are significantly more expensive, Bantus here have been buying their meat at the regular market place.

Other: Breads, milk, eggs, butter, jam and cereals are all popular. Also all kinds of beans and potatoes, rice, spaghetti and other pastas are staples of their diet. Stews are a popular dish made with broth, vegetables and meat or fish.