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Rwandan food is prepared by the people of Rwanda, a small country in East Central Africa. The Rwandan cuisine is primarily vegetarian, and meat is eaten only few times in a month. The food prepared is not very spicy or hot.

Influences on Rwandan Food

The people’s primary occupation is agriculture, where they grow crops which are used primarily by their own families. This has made the Rwandan food to be mostly vegetarian. Also, cattle are considered as assets and are generally not slaughtered for food.

Common Ingredients

Maize, sorghum, rice, dry beans, potato, banana, sweet potato, peas, and cassava are some of the basic crops of Rwanda. Fruits such as mangos, papayas, and avocados are common. Milk and milk-based products are also widely used in this cuisine. Fresh water fish, such as Tilapia, is used to prepare dishes. Meat and chicken are used in the urban areas. Bread and French fries are common in the urban culture. A spice mixture called berbere is used to prepare most dishes.

Everyday and Traditional Rwandan Food

Ugali is a basic food in Rwanda. It is made from maize and is served with vegetables. Ikinyiga is a porridge made from groundnuts and is similar to Ugali. These are usually had for breakfast. Dishes made with beans, sweet potatoes, or cassava are consumed for the lunch or dinner. Fried plantains called mizuzu and isombe, a dish made with cassava leaves and eggplant, are common here. Fresh fruits are eaten as snacks in between meals.

The men drink beer such as ikigage and urwarwa, which are brewed from sorghum and plantains respectively. Apart from this, tea and coffee are the common beverages of this region.


Ethnic strife between the two primary groups called hutu and tutsi was profound in 1994, which resulted in a genocide where 800,000 people, mostly tutsi, were killed. Many fled the country around this time. This was followed by the high incidence of HIV/AIDS among people. This coupled with food crisis has resulted in inadequate nutrition and poor health conditions. The country is now said to be recuperating from all these effects.