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 Sudanese Food
Sudan’s cuisine has a mix of Arabic and Sub-Saharan African influences. Four of the five countries with the most similar food to Sudan are all located in the Sahel, a region between the Sahara Desert and the tropical areas of Africa. They have a relatively dry climate. Furthermore, these countries are all predominately Muslim.
- Niger and Sudan have striking culinary resemblances. Millet and sorghum are common ingredients in their cuisines. Dishes like thieboudienne, a one-pot fish and rice dish, bear a resemblance to Sudanese fish stews. Additionally, the use of aromatic spices and a preference for hearty, filling meals are in both nations’ culinary traditions.
- Yemen is another Arabic speaking country located across the Red Sea from Sudan. These nations share a fondness for aromatic spices and hearty stews. Dishes like salta, a Yemeni meat-based stew, find resonance in Sudanese cuisine, where similar preparations are enjoyed. Bread is a staple in both countries.
- Chad is on Sudan’s western border. One difference is that more wheat is consumed in Sudan. However, millet and sorghum are also commonly eaten in these countries as well. Beef is the most popular meat in Chad and Sudan. Both nations incorporate vegetables like okra, tomatoes, onions, and leafy greens into their dishes.
- Mali is yet another former colony of France on this list. Both countries eat a lot of sorghum porridge with their meals. They also like to eat deep fried dough balls. However compared to Sudan, people in Mali tend to eat more rice and less wheat. Additionally, the use of peanuts and peanut-based sauces is a shared feature.
- Mauritania and Sudan have a strong reliance on millets and sorghum, hardy grains well-suited to the arid conditions of the Sahel region. Aseeda, a Sudanese porridge made from sorghum flour, finds its counterpart in Mauritania’s use of millet to prepare dishes like couscous. These grains form the basis of nutritious and hearty meals in both countries.
The Least Similar Cuisines to Sudanese Food
The five countries with the least similar food to Sudan all border the Pacific Ocean. They consume significantly more seafood than Sudan. These countries have tropical climates, so they get significantly more rainfall than Sudan. This difference in climate affects agricultural practices, limiting the types of crops that can be cultivated. Four of the five countries are mostly Christian.
- Micronesia is a group of small tropical islands in the Pacific Ocean. As a result, their diet is heavily based on seafood. Furthermore, coconut is a bigger part of Micronesia’s cuisine than Sudan’s.
- Kiribati is another archipelago of small islands in the Pacific Ocean. Coconuts and fish from the ocean are commonly eaten staple foods in Kiribati, unlike in Sudan, where beef and lamb are more popular.
- Solomon Islands is a Melanesian country located near Papua New Guinea. The country’s diet is much more reliant on sweet potato, yam, taro, and coconut than Sudan. In addition, most of its protein is from fish from the ocean.
- Cambodia is a Southeast Asian country. The Cambodian diet is heavily based in rice and cassava. Unlike Sudan, the biggest source of protein in Cambodia is freshwater fish. Fava beans are more commonly eaten in Sudan.
- East Timor is a former Portuguese colony that borders Indonesia. Rice and tropical fruits are a much bigger part of the country’s diet than Sudan’s. Coconut is a common ingredient in East Timor’s dishes, while Sudan features more peanut.
Sudan’s Most Common Food Ingredients
Protein: Beef, Lamb
Fruit: Banana, Mango
Vegetable: Onion, Tomato
Starch: Wheat, Sorghum
Primarily based on 2020 data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N.