Countries with the Most Similar Food to Botswana

map of countries with similar food to botswana, country food similarity Index

The Country Food Similarity Index is a statistically-based attempt to quantify how similar the food in one country is relative to another. By comparing the weight of raw food ingredients used in each country, a score is assigned that reflects the degree of similarity between the respective countries. The methodology is exactly the same for each country studied. 

The Most Similar Cuisines to Botswanan Food

When it comes to the culinary landscape of Botswana, several countries stand out for their similarities in ingredients and traditional meals. Four of the five countries with the most similar food to Botswana are also located in Southern Africa. Due to British influence in the region, English is one of the official languages in these four countries as well.

  1. Namibia is situated to the west of Botswana. The Kalahari Desert covers much of the land area in both countries. Cornmeal is a staple ingredient in both Botswana and Namibia. Maize porridge, known as “pap,” is often served as a side dish or used as a base for stews. Game meat is also a prominent ingredient of both their cuisines. Furthermore, sunflower seed oil is commonly used for cooking purposes in Botswana and Namibia.
  2. South Africa is another relatively wealthy country in Sub-Saharan Africa, located to the south of Botswana. Their people often eat pap, spiced sausage, and potjie. In addition, both nations share a fondness for barbecued meat and various vegetable-based dishes like “chakalaka” (spicy relish) and “morogo” (wild spinach).
  3. Lesotho is another landlocked country that borders South Africa. The native languages of Lesotho and Botswana, Sesotho and Setswana, are closely related. Both countries use cornmeal as a base for various stews and sauces. Additionally, “motoho” (sour porridge) and “oxtail stew” are cherished dishes in both nations, showcasing their shared love for comfort food. However, potatoes are a bigger part of the diet in Lesotho.
  4. Eswatini‘s cuisine emphasizes locally sourced ingredients such as corn, beef, and beans, much like Botswana. Both nations also relish dishes like “pap”, “smashed pumpkin”, and “dombolo” (steamed bread rolls), which highlight their culinary parallels. However, people in Eswatini eat less watermelons and more oranges.
  5. El Salvador is located in Central America, but its food ingredients have some surprising similarities with Botswana’s cuisine. One reason for this is their shared loved for corn-based dishes. Furthermore, El Salvador’s signature dish, “pupusa” is similar Botswana’s “fat cake”. These countries also consume a lot of chicken as well.

Related: The 10 Most Similar Countries to Botswana

The Least Similar Cuisines to Botswanan Food

The five countries with the least similar food to Botswana are located in tropical climates, so they get far more rainfall. Moreover, these countries are not as wealthy as Botswana, so they are more heavily dependent on starches in their diet. Corn based foods, beef, and chicken are not nearly as widely consumed in these countries as they are in Botswana.

  1. Democratic Republic of Congo, despite also being located in Africa, has little in common with Botswana in terms of food. Cassava is the dominant staple food there, while the most commonly eaten meat is fish. The country is also more heavily reliant on bananas as a food source.
  2. Solomon Islands, in stark contrast to Botswana, is a tropical archipelago located in the Pacific Ocean. Most of its people live near the coast, so seafood is much more common in the country’s cuisine. Sweet potatoes, yams, and coconuts are all common ingredients in their food.
  3. Cambodia is located in Southeast Asia. Its cuisine is far different from Botswana’s, since the Cambodian diet is heavily based in rice and cassava, while relatively little corn and wheat are consumed there. Another difference is that fish are more commonly eaten in Cambodia than in Botswana.
  4. Burundi is another landlocked country in Africa, but its typical food ingredients are far different. Its diet is in large part based on cassava, sweet potatoes, plantains, and bananas. In contrast, people in Botswana eat more watermelons and corn-based products.
  5. Liberia is another English-speaking African nation. However, their diets have little in common. The country has a reliance on rice, cassava, and plantains for a large portion of its food ingrediants. Furthermore, seafood is a much larger part of Liberia’s diet than Botswana’s, since many of the country’s residents live near the coast.

Related: The 10 Least Similar Countries to Botswana

Full Food Similarity Ranking of Countries and Territories

Botswana’s Most Common Food Ingredients

Protein: Beef, Chicken
Fruit: Watermelon, Banana
Vegetable: Cabbage, Onion
Starch: Corn, Wheat

Primarily based on 2020 data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N.

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