Introduction: Dining in Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso is a landlocked country in West Africa that is known for its diverse cuisine and dining customs. Dining in Burkina Faso is often a communal experience where friends and family come together to share a meal. Guests are treated with great hospitality and respect, and it is important to understand the dining customs and etiquette to avoid any cultural faux pas.
Traditional Foods and Dining Customs
Burkina Faso’s cuisine is influenced by its diverse ethnic groups and agricultural practices. The staple food is millet, which is used to make porridge, couscous, and beer. Other popular dishes include yams, cassava, plantains, and rice. Meals are often served on communal plates and eaten with the right hand. It is customary to wash your hands before and after the meal. Guests are often offered a small bowl of water to wash their hands before the meal and a bowl of water with lemon or lime slices to wash their hands after the meal.
Table Manners and Social Expectations
Burkina Faso has a rich culture of hospitality and respect for guests. When dining with locals, it is important to show gratitude and appreciation for the meal. It is customary to wait for the host to begin eating before starting to eat. Burping and slurping are considered rude, and it is best to eat quietly and at a moderate pace. It is also important to engage in conversation with the host and other guests, as socializing is an important part of the dining experience in Burkina Faso.
Proper Attire and Dress Code
Burkina Faso is a conservative country, and it is important to dress modestly when dining out. Men should wear long pants and a collared shirt, while women should avoid revealing clothing and cover their shoulders and knees. It is also important to remove your shoes before entering a home or a restaurant.
Paying the Bill and Tipping
In Burkina Faso, it is customary for the host to pay for the meal. If dining out, it is important to offer to pay your share of the bill, but it is likely that the host will insist on paying. Tipping is not common in Burkina Faso, but if you receive exceptional service, you can offer a small tip as a token of appreciation.
Cultural Sensitivity and Respectful Behavior
When dining in Burkina Faso, it is important to be respectful of the local customs and traditions. It is important to greet your host and other guests with a handshake or a nod of the head. When entering a home or a restaurant, it is customary to greet everyone in the room before sitting down. It is also important to avoid discussing sensitive topics like politics and religion, as these can be divisive issues. By showing respect and cultural sensitivity, you can enjoy a memorable dining experience in Burkina Faso.