What Is the Traditional Food of the Xhosa?

Traditional foods and dishes of the Xhosa include: isophi, which is a soup made with corn, beans and peas; umngqusho, a dish of corn and sugar beans; umfino, a dish made with wild spinach, cabbage and meal; umyubo, a grain dish made with sour milk; and umleqwa, a chicken dish. A traditional drinks is umqombothi, a beer made from corn and sorghum.

Umngqusho is similar in texture to risotto and is often served with meat stew. Umngqusho is made with mieliepap, a type of corn meal that is a basic element of the Xhosa diet.

Common vegetables eaten by the Xhosa include pumpkin, mushrooms, aloe and wild spinach. Pumpkin is used in a dish called imithwane, in which pumpkin leaves are mixed with butter, and in ilaxa, in which pumpkin pulp is cooked with pumpkin leaves. Other vegetables in the Xhosa diet include beetroot, potatoes and cabbages.

Chicken and goat are the most common meats eaten by the Xhosa. Sheep, cows and oxen are eaten for special occasions, such as weddings or coming-of-age ceremonies. Traditions surround the slaughter of livestock. The meat between the stomach wall and the intestines is given to old men, and the liver is reserved for young men. Women get to eat the top part of the leg.