Travel delights the senses. Most people go to a far-flung destination to “see the sights”, and who can forget the sounds of waves crashing on the shore or even a lion’s roar? For many, the scent of sunblock automatically puts them in holiday mode, and a new place is often characterised by new smells, like cloyingly sweet incense in a temple. And when it comes to taste, each area has its own unique flavours and ingredients. Some people believe that the best way to get to know a culture is through their food, certain dishes can tell a story spanning back hundreds of years and I think we can all agree that people connect over meals – sitting around a table, talking and tasting.
Dining at Rio Azul is a delightful affair with the freshest ingredients locally sourced and produced, or grown in our own vegetable and herb garden, as well as straight from the sea. Dinners in particular are always a wonderful experience and can vary between relaxed and informal evenings, romantic and candlelit affairs, as well as lively beach BBQs. Guests can expect a mix of Mozambican specialties and more familiar fare, but to tantalise your taste buds we wanted to share with you some of Mozambique’s unique flavours.
Here is a list of delicious Mozambican food that you could be lucky enough to enjoy on your holiday at Rio Azul.
Piri Piri or Peri-Peri is the star ingredient of Mozambican cuisine. Just about any meal can be improved with some Piri Piri, whether as a marinade or a condiment. The word Piri comes from Swahili and means either spicy or pepper depending on who you ask. Piri Piri sauce is made from chili peppers (a particularly spicy kind that grows in Mozambique), vinegar, lemon juice, oil, garlic and smoked paprika.
“Paõ” (short for Paõzinho) is the Mozambican version of a Portuguese roll. The Portuguese arrived in the 1500s and left much more than their native tongue as the official language of Mozambique. They also left an indelible mark on the local cuisine, nowhere is this more evident than the delectably light and more-ish Paõ. Freshly made every morning, these fluffy white bread rolls are cheap as chips and good enough to eat plain but even better filled with a bit of meat like chicken or beef.
Peri-Peri Chicken is another excellent marriage of Mozambique and Portugal’s cuisine. Flame-grilled chicken basted in Peri-Peri sauce is so delicious that it has managed to be one of Mozambique’s most famous culinary exports, albeit through the popular South African restaurant chain Nando’s that can be found in the UK, America and Dubai.
Prego Rolls – forget about burgers, this is a delicious steak roll with a uniquely Mozambican twist. The ubiquitous Peri-Peri sauce plays a starring role here. Held together by a soft, fresh and fluffy Paõ the minute steak is smothered in Peri-Peri sauce and enjoyed as Mozambique’s own version of a quarter-pounder.
Prawns or (Shrimp) – Mozambique has some of the best seafood, with such a long coastline the catch of the day simply can’t be fresher. Besides fantastically fresh fish, shellfish like crabs, crayfish and prawns (or shrimp as the Americans like to call it) are also abundant. Prawns especially are famous in Mozambique, they’re bigger than what most are used to and dripping with, you guessed it, Peri-Peri sauce are one of the best meals you’ll have in the tropical paradise.
Matata – with such strong Portuguese and Indian influences you may wonder what did Mozambicans eat before coastal trade and foreign colonisation influenced its cuisine. The answer is Matata, a dish with no outside influence but one that has stayed a staple because of how delicious it is. Matata is an indigenous seafood stew made with clams, peanuts and pumpkin leaves.
But don’t get it confused with Matapa… This is another staple in Mozambican cuisine. In fact, it is said that you can judge a cook on the quality of their Matapa. The main ingredients are fresh cassava leaves (which are incredibly easy to grow), coconut milk and peanut powder. Often cooked with fresh crab it’s a hearty dish with a bit of lovely sweetness
Cashew Nuts – did you know at one point Mozambique was the largest producer of cashew nuts in the world? Cashew nut trees are still found just about everywhere. While cashew nuts are deliciously creamy and crunchy on their own, guess what makes them just that little bit better? Piri-Piri of course!
Is your mouth watering yet? This is just one aspect of how Mozambique and Rio Azul are waiting to welcome you with a holiday that is filled with equal parts adventure and serenity. Appease your hunger for adventure and book a stay at Rio Azul.