Countries with the Most Similar Food to Burundi

Country Food Similarity Index - Map of Countries with Similar Food to Burundi

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 Burundian Food

Burundi, a landlocked tropical nation nestled in the middle of Africa. Its neighboring countries have cuisines that are alike as well. The top five countries with the most similar food have diets that are heavily based in cassava and bananas. Furthermore, most people in these five countries speak Bantu languages.

  1. Rwanda and Burundi are two of the most similar countries. They were once a single territory ruled by Belgium called Ruanda-Urundi until 1960. Furthermore, the languages they natively speak there are mutually intelligible. Their food is also similar. Meals in Rwanda and Burundi often feature hearty servings of “Ugali,” made from maize flour. Furthermore, these nations tend to consume a lot of bananas.
  2. Uganda is even further to the north of Burundi than Rwanda. The dishes in these countries are often complemented by beans and a variety of vegetables. Matoke, a dish of cooked green bananas or plantains, is also enjoyed in both countries. In addition, freshwater fish and beef are the two most commonly eaten meats in these countries.
  3. Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi border each other. They are both former Belgian countries. These nations also share significant similarities in their food traditions. Both countries have diets that centered around cassava and bananas. A dish similar to Burundi’s “Ibihaza” can be found in the DRC, where pumpkins or squash are combined with beans or groundnuts.
  4. Angola is another country on this list that borders the Atlantic coast. Fish is the most popular meat in these countries, but most fish Angolans eat are from the sea, not freshwater lakes like in Burundi. In addition, both nations eat “Ugali” often, which in Angola is referred to as “Funge”. Angola’s cuisine also incorporates grilled meats and various stews, much like Burundi.
  5. Tanzania borders Burundi and Lake Tanganyika. Like Burundi, starches are often paired with beans and a variety of vegetables. The prominence of bananas in Tanzanian cuisine can also be found in Burundi too. Furthermore, grilled meats, known as “Nyama Choma” in Tanzania, are widely enjoyed, mirroring Burundi’s love for “Brochettes.”

Related: The 10 Most Similar Countries to Burundi

The Least Similar Cuisines to Burundian Food

The five countries with the least similar food to Burundi are all predominately Muslim. Furthermore, with the exception of the Maldives, their climates are also much drier. In regards to their diet, Burundians tend to consume a much lower amount of wheat and potatoes as well. They also consume far more meat.

  1. Tunisia is also an African country where French is a widely used language. However, other than that, these countries have little else in common. In Tunisia, couscous and bread are essential staple foods. In the East and Central African countries, the staple foods are maize meal porridge similar and rice.
  2. Libya is another Arab country that borders the Mediterranean Sea on this list. Unlike in Burundi, typical dishes in this country include couscous with meat or vegetables. Spices like cumin, coriander, saffron, and mint are commonly used, adding depth and flavor to Libyan dishes. Burundian food tends to use fewer spices.
  3. Maldives is the only tropical country on this list, but it is a group of islands, in contrast to landlocked Burundi. As a result, while fish is the most commonly eaten meat in both countries, pelagic fish are more commonly consumed there. Furthermore, the Maldives also consumes more coconuts.
  4. Tajikistan is a mountainous country in Central Asia. Tajik cuisine features stews, dumplings, bread, and lamb, in stark contrast to Burundi. The Tajik people incorporate spices such as cumin, coriander, dill, and parsley, which are not as common in Burundian food.
  5. Syria has a much more arid climate than Burundi, so their farms produce drastically different crops. Syrians tend to eat a lot of oranges, lemons, watermelons, and apples, while people in Burundi tend to eat more tropical fruits like bananas and mangos.

Related: The 10 Least Similar Countries to Burundi

Full Food Similarity Ranking of Countries and Territories

Burundi’s Most Common Food Ingredients

Protein: Freshwater Fish, Beef
Fruit: Banana, Watermelon
Vegetable: Bean, Tomato
Starch: Cassava, Sweet Potato

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

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