Cuisine of São Tomé and Príncipe

A marketplace in São Tomé, the country's capital, serves as a venue for local fishermen and farmers
A close-up map of São Tomé and Príncipe

Santomean cuisine comprises the cuisine, dishes and foods of São Tomé and Príncipe, a Portuguese-speaking island nation in the Gulf of Guinea, off the western equatorial coast of Central Africa. The country consists of two archipelagos around the two main islands: São Tomé and Príncipe, located about 140 kilometres (87 mi) apart and about 250 and 225 kilometres (155 and 140 mi), respectively, off the northwestern coast of Gabon.


Domestic food-crop production is inadequate to meet local consumption, so the country imports much of its food.[1] In 1997 it was estimated that 90 percent of the country's food needs are met through imports.[1] Furthermore, the country is not self-sufficient in meat and food grain production,[1] and is reliant upon imports of these foods. In 2003 it was estimated that 8.33% of the country's total land is arable.[2]

Primary food crops include bananas, breadfruit, taro, maize, beans, papaya, palm oil, and primary agricultural production crops for export include cocoa, copra and coffee.[1][3] Fish and seafood is prominent in São Tomése and Príncipe cuisine, and the fishing industry there contributes approximately 25 percent to the country's gross domestic product.[1][4] Poultry is also raised in São Tomé and Príncipe.[1] The nation's cuisine has been influenced and shaped by African and Portuguese settlers.[5]

Common foods and dishes

Staple foods include fish, seafood, beans, maize and cooked banana.[4][6] Tropical fruits such as pineapple, avocado and bananas are a significant component of the cuisine.[4] The use of hot spices is prominent in São Tomése cuisine.[4] Coffee is utilized in various dishes as a spice or seasoning.[4] Breakfast dishes are often reheated leftovers from the previous evening's meal.[6]


Alcoholic beverages

Street foods

Cooked corn on the cob. Street vendors in São Tomé and Príncipe sometimes offer grilled corn on the cob.[6]

Street foods include stews, safú (a fruit) and corn on the cob.[6]


Estufa de morcego is a bat stew delicacy that is served on saints days and during fiestas.[6]

Desserts and sweets

Snack foods


See also


Further reading

Wikivoyage has a travel guide for São Tomé and Príncipe.
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