Somali Food: 20 Best Dishes You Need to Try

by Fay

Do you love trying new foods? If so, Somali food is definitely something you need to try. This unique cuisine is based on the traditional cooking styles of Somalia, a country located in the Horn of Africa.

While Somali food may be unfamiliar to many people, it is definitely worth a taste! In this blog post, we will discuss some of the best dishes you need to try when exploring Somali cuisine.

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So, what are some of the best Somali dishes?

1. Sambusa (Somali

One dish that you definitely need to try is Sambusa. Sambusa is a fried pastry that is typically filled with meat, vegetables, or cheese. These delicious little snacks are perfect for any time of day, and they make a great appetizer or snack.

2. Wat (Somali Stew)

Another Somali dish that you should try is wat. Wat is a stew that is typically made with chicken, beef, or goat. This hearty dish is perfect for a cold winter day, and it is sure to fill you up.

3. Maraq Digaag (Somali Chicken Stew)

This Somali chicken stew is a flavorful and hearty dish that is perfect for a cold winter day. The chicken is cooked with fresh vegetables with a variety of spices including Coriander and ginger.

4. Bariis Ishku Karis (Somali Rice)

Credit: By Richard Faulder

Very similar to a rice dish called pilau, Bariis Ikhkukaris is a Somali dish made of rice and meat. It is one of the most popular Somali dishes and is often served at weddings and other special occasions.

5. Cambuulo Iyo Maraq (Rice with Adzuki beans )

Somali food is rich and flavorful, with a unique combination of spices and ingredients. One of the most popular vegan Somali dishes is Cambuulo Iyo Maraq, rice, and adzuki beans dish. Other types of beans are also used in this dish.

6. Kaluun Iyo Bariis (Somali Fish & Rice Dish)

A delicate, aromatic Somali fish and rice dish that is perfect for lunch or dinner. The Somali name for this dish is Kaluun Iyo Bariis, which means “fish and rice.” It is made with Basmati rice, which is long-grain rice that has a nutty flavor. The fish is usually cooked with vegetables and local Somali spices.

7. Malawah (Somali Pancake)

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Malawah is a delicious Somali pancake that is usually served for breakfast. It is made with unleavened dough and can be either sweet or savory. Sweet malawah is often served with honey, while savory malawah is usually topped with eggs.

8. Anjero (Somali Pancake)


Anjero, also known as Canjeero or Lahoh is a Somali version of the Ethiopian Injera that is popular for breakfast. It is made with self-rising flour, water, and yogurt. The batter is then cooked in a pan until it forms a pancake-like consistency.

Anjero is usually served with Somali stews or honey.

9. Xalwo (Somali Halwa)

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Halwa is a Somali dessert that is made with semolina, sugar, ghee, and cardamom. It is often served during celebrations such as weddings and Eid.

10. Sabaayad (Somali Flatbread)

Sabaayad is a Somali flatbread that is traditionally served with stews. It is made from unleavened dough and is usually round in shape.

11. Doolshe Buuro (Somali Rice Pudding)

Doolshe Buuro is a Somali rice pudding made with short-grain rice, milk, and sugar. It’s usually served during Somali weddings and other special occasions.

12. Basbousa


Basbousa is a Somali cake that is made from semolina, yogurt, and sugar. It is often served with tea or coffee. The tangy taste of lemon juice and the sweetness of rosewater give this cake a unique flavor.

13. Kac Kac (Somali beignet)

Kac Kac is one of the most popular snack foods in Somalia. It’s made from deep-fried bread chunks that are sprinkled with icing sugar and it’s often served with tea. These Somali beignets are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.

14. Muufo (Somali Skillet flatbread)

Muufo is Somali flatbread and it’s usually served with stews and soups in Somalia. It can be made from cornmeal, wheat flour, or a mixture of the two. The dough is unleavened and it’s rolled out into a thin circle before being cooked in a skillet.

15. Icun (Traditional Somali Cookies)

Made of a mix of butter, flour, almonds, and cardamom, these Somali traditional cookies are made for religious occasions like Eid and Ramadan in Somalia. The cookies are usually topped with cloves or dry fruits.

16. Nafaqo (Somali Stuffed Mashed Potatoes)

This Somali dish is a must-try for anyone interested in Somali cuisine. Nafaqo is a Somali staple that consists of mashed potatoes that are stuffed with boiled eggs. The dish is then fried until the outside is crispy. Nafaqo can be also stuffed with ground beef instead of boiled eggs.

17. Suugo (Somali Pasta Sauce)

Somalis inherited this dish from the Italians who once colonized the country. Suugo is the Somali version of pasta sauce made with a special Somali blend called Xawaash.

18. Mushaari (Somali Porridge)

Starting your day with a hearty bowl of sweet porridge in the morning is Somali the best. This filling Somali porridge is made with cornmeal, water, and milk, and sometimes sugar is added for sweetness. It’s a Somali breakfast staple!

19. Ful Medames (Somali Fava Beans Stew)


The Somali people have been eating Ful Medames for centuries, and it is a staple food in Somali cuisine. Ful Medamed is a dish that is simple to make and can be served as a side dish or a main course. The dish is made with fava beans, which are also known as broad beans, and these beans are stewed in a tomato sauce. The dish is usually served with a flatbread.

20. Kabab (Somali Kabab)


Somali kababs are usually made from ground lamb, beef, or chicken. The meat is seasoned with Somali spices like cumin, cardamom, cloves, and black pepper. It is then grilled or roasted over an open flame. Somali kababs are often served with Somali flatbread or rice.

So, there you have it! These are just a few of the Somali dishes that you need to try. Somali food is truly unique and delicious, so be sure to add it to your list of culinary adventures. Bon appetite!


Somali food is rich and diverse, with a wide variety of dishes that are perfect for any occasion. From traditional Somali staples like rice and stewed meat to more exotic fare like camel meat and Somali-style rice, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

One of the best things about Somali cuisine is that it is very accessible. Somali restaurants can be found in most major cities, and there are even Somali cookbooks available for those who want to try their hand at cooking Somali food at home.

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