Zambia Restaurants and Dining

(Zambia, ZM, Southern Africa)

Eating out in Zambia can be quite a varied affair. Opportunities to try out local cuisine abound. However, in recent years, more and more dining choices have become available, with Western-style fast food and chain restaurants, as well as all kinds of international eateries all being added to the menu.

Good independent restaurants that serve traditional dishes still exist in Lusaka - it is just a case of hunting one out that takes your fancy.

When to Eat / Opening Hours

Breakfast is generally served from 07:00 to 10:30, where available. Lunch service opens at around 12:00 and finishes at 14:00. Evening dinner services usually commence at 19:00, with last orders for menu selection at around 21:00.

What to Eat

Each of Zambia's nine provinces has a slightly different take on the sort of food served in ordinary households, resulting in lots of different versions of the same dish. In particular, meat plays a more important part of the diet in eastern Zambia than elsewhere. On the northern side of the country, peanuts are used more frequently, as are collard greens, pumpkin leaves and dry sweet potato leaves.

In general, though, a great deal of Zambian dining is centred around 'nshima', a cooked porridge-like dough that is made from cornmeal. Nshima is such an important part of life here that many rituals and customs have developed around this basic staple. Usually, it is served with a sauce, which may or may not include dried fish or meat, such as beef, chicken and mutton.

Eating mice is still common in eastern Zambia, despite modern influences on Zambian eating habits. Some 14 different types of mice are considered edible. These are boiled, then salted and dried over a fire.

Where to Eat

Lusaka's dining venues and eateries vary widely, from family run establishments that serve traditional food to those that favour international cuisine on their menus. In particular, Lusaka has an unusually high number of South Asian restaurants, including the evocatively named Arabian Nights Restaurant, housed within the Arcades Shopping Centre, and the Dil, a restaurant located in the Ibex Hill district of Lusaka.

Dining out in a 'country club' atmosphere is also a possibility. The Savanna, based within the InterContinental Hotel, offers the usual sort of high-class hotel fare that you would expect from this sort of establishment.

Budget diners may feel that some tourist-friendly restaurants are beyond their wallets. In this case, it is time to sample some of Lusaka's alternative establishments. Salads and sandwiches, pizzas and wraps are all standard fare for those wanting to eat lighter or at less cost.

Livingstone's popularity as a tourist destination is reflected in the wide choice of cuisines available for those who want to dine out. During the daytime, local cafés serve breakfast, coffee and cakes, as well as lunch. In the evening, international cuisine in Livingstone extends from Indian and Chinese establishments to steak joints and pizza eateries. Local 'pubs' are also on hand to serve hearty fare.

Of note for those planning a safari holiday, in the main, Zambian safari camps offer a high standard of cuisine, including a variety of international dishes.