Malawi Food and Drink

Relatively free from outside influences, the food of Malawi remains rustic and traditional. Outside of the big cities, it’s likely the food you eat will have been grown locally by those serving you.

Dishes are centred on starchy carbohydrates, which are still often served at all three daily meals, with side dishes of vegetables and meat, particularly chicken and goat.

Fresh fish from Lake Malawi is the country’s speciality, and is both tastily cooked and easy to come by. Dairy products are plentiful thanks to cattle farming, and tropical fruits such as bananas, mangoes and pineapples are abundant in season.


Nsima: Traditional thick carbohydrate staple made from maize flour.
Ndivo: Sauce or stew made with either vegetable leaves or meat that is added to nsima for flavour.
Utipa: A small fish like whitebait or sardines.
Chambo: Often curried with carrots, onion and lemon juice, this fish is also known as tilapia.
Nkhwaniwotendera: Pumpkin leaves in peanut powder stew.
Dziwala: Fried grasshopper sprinkled with onion, salt and tomatoes.
Nthochi: Bread made from mashed banana.
Waliwasamaki: Salmon served with vermicelli, onions, carrots, rice and seasoning.
Mbatata: Biscuits made with sweet potato and cinnamon.
Mandasi: Type of plain local deep-fried doughnut.
Mawehu: Refreshing unsweetened non-alcoholic drink made from maize meal.
Chibuku: Served in a milk carton this beer is made from fermented maize and has the consistency of porridge.
Kuche Kuche: A light local beer.
Malawi Gin: Serve with tonic and a slice of lemon.


Generally not expected, but some employees who are very poorly paid might appreciate a small tip for good service.

Drinking age


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