Are there any traditional Malagasy snacks?

Introduction: Exploring Malagasy Cuisine

Madagascar, an island nation off the southeastern coast of Africa, is known for its unique flora and fauna, but its cuisine is just as remarkable. The Malagasy cuisine is a blend of African, Asian, and European influences, resulting in a diverse range of dishes with distinct flavors and aromas. While rice is the staple food, meats, seafood, and vegetables are also widely consumed. However, when it comes to snacks, Malagasy cuisine has plenty of indigenous options to offer.

Traditional Snacks: A Unique Culinary Culture

Malagasy snacks are an integral part of the country’s culinary culture, and they reflect its diversity and creativity. From savory to sweet, crunchy to chewy, Malagasy snacks have a range of textures and flavors. Many of these snacks are made from local ingredients, such as rice, cassava, coconut, and peanuts, and are typically sold by street vendors or in small stalls in markets. While some Malagasy snacks may resemble snacks from other countries, they often have a distinct twist that sets them apart.

Top 3 Malagasy Snacks and Their Ingredients

  1. Sambos: Sambos are small, triangular-shaped pastries filled with a savory mixture of ground beef or pork, onions, garlic, and spices. The pastry is made from wheat flour, water, oil, and salt. Sambos are a popular snack in Madagascar and are often eaten for breakfast or as a midday snack.
  2. Koba: Koba is a sweet snack made from steamed banana or cassava leaves filled with a mixture of peanuts, rice flour, sugar, and coconut milk. The mixture is wrapped in the leaves and steamed until cooked. Koba has a chewy texture and a sweet, nutty flavor.
  3. Mofo Gasy: Mofo Gasy, which means “Malagasy bread,” is a small, flatbread made from wheat flour, yeast, salt, and water. It is often eaten as a snack or served with meals. Mofo Gasy can be plain or flavored with spices, such as garlic, ginger, or cumin.

How to Make Sambos, Koba, and Mofo Gasy

Making Malagasy snacks at home is relatively simple, and many recipes are available online. Here are the basic steps for making Sambos, Koba, and Mofo Gasy:


  1. Make the pastry dough by mixing flour, water, oil, and salt in a bowl.
  2. Roll out the dough and cut it into triangles.
  3. Make the filling by cooking ground meat, onions, garlic, and spices in a pan.
  4. Spoon the filling onto the pastry triangles and pinch the edges to seal.
  5. Bake the Sambos in the oven at 350°F for 20-25 minutes.


  1. Mix rice flour, sugar, and peanuts in a bowl.
  2. Add coconut milk and mix until a paste forms.
  3. Spread the mixture onto banana or cassava leaves.
  4. Roll the leaves into cylinders and tie the ends with string.
  5. Steam the Koba for 30-40 minutes until cooked.

Mofo Gasy:

  1. Mix flour, yeast, salt, and water in a bowl.
  2. Knead the dough until smooth and elastic.
  3. Let the dough rise for 1 hour.
  4. Roll out the dough into flat circles.
  5. Cook the Mofo Gasy on a griddle or in a pan until lightly browned.

Where to Find Traditional Malagasy Snacks

In Madagascar, traditional snacks are widely available in markets, roadside stalls, and bakeries. However, for those living outside of Madagascar, finding Malagasy snacks may be challenging. Some Malagasy communities in other countries may sell traditional snacks, or they may be available online from specialty food stores.

Conclusion: Savoring the Flavors of Madagascar

Traditional Malagasy snacks offer a glimpse into the unique culinary culture of Madagascar. From savory to sweet, Malagasy snacks have a range of flavors and textures that are sure to satisfy any palate. Whether you’re in Madagascar or in another part of the world, exploring the flavors of Malagasy cuisine is a delicious adventure.

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Written by John Myers

Professional Chef with 25 years of industry experience at the highest levels. Restaurant owner. Beverage Director with experience creating world-class nationally recognized cocktail programs. Food writer with a distinctive Chef-driven voice and point of view.

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