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Top 5 Cape Verdean Meals Every Visitor Must Try Out

Top 5 Cape Verdean Meals
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Cape Verdean Meals Every Visitor Must Try Out

Top 5 Cape Verdean Meals

I want to take you to the beautiful African island of Cape Verde. In this post I will talk about the top 5 Cape Verdean Meals you must try. But I want to begin with a short story.


I was an excellent geography student scoring a distinction in my O level class in a very poor rural school however, the foundation for that performance was laid elsewhere in a primary school more than a decade earlier. During geography lessons, my teacher often took us out of the classroom to “fly” to a new country. It is at this early stage that I became acquainted with Cape Verde and developed interest in “flying”. It was not until my O levels however that I read more about Cape Verde.


About three years ago I came across an online facebook post that alleged Cristian Ronaldo, the famous Portuguese footballer, was “African” or “black”, that one of his grandparents was of Cape Verdean ancestry. Ofcourse I thought it was bs but the more I dug deeper the truer it became. In my research I ended up watching Cape Verdean documentaries on youtube and fell in love with the people, its beaches and and the food.


Top 5 Cape Verdean Meals

Earlier in East Timor where I worked for over two years, the locals often wondered whether I was Mozambiquean, Angolan or Cape Verdean – you can guess why they asked so: Portugal.


Anyway, my dreamy world aside, lets explore the uncharted territory of Cape Verde, an archipelago off Africa’s northwest coast; its amazing scenery and fascinating culture make. But what really lures visitors, in my research, is its rich gastronomic heritage and the beautiful tropical beaches. Cape Verdean cuisine is a delectable fusion of African, Portuguese, and Brazilian flavours that includes hearty stews and savoury pastries. Below, I discuss the top 5 Cape Verdean delicacies that every visitor must sample.

1. Cachupa (Stew with Corn and Beans)

Top 5 Cape Verdean Meals
Cachupa-(Stew with Corn and Beans)

The staple dish of Cape Verdean cuisine is chapupa. This stew, cooked slowly, is a flavorful celebration of simplicity. Picture a pot of tender corn, beans, and different meats, usually sausage, pork, and fish, all simmering away. The layers of spices, onions, and garlic that give the meal its warmth are the key. The flavours of the cachupa merge the next day, according to locals, making it taste even better. Chupa is a must-try, whether you eat it at a quaint local restaurant or while lounging on the beach.

2. Bafas (Fish Stew)

A seafood enthusiast’s paradise is Bafas. The highlight of this dish is fresh fish that is directly pulled from the blue waters that surround Cape Verde. For a well-balanced taste combination, the fish is cooked with tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, and a hint of chile. What was the outcome? A flavorful, filling stew that takes you to the edge of the ocean. To make the most of the last drop, serve it with crusty bread or a side of Funje, a dish made with cornmeal.

3. Pastel (Empanadas)

Top 5 Cape Verdean Meals

Pastel is Cape Verde’s answer to the beloved empanada. These golden pockets of joy are filled with a medley of ingredients—think spicy ground beef, onions, and olives. The dough is crispy on the outside, yielding a savoury filling within. Locals enjoy pastels as a snack or appetizer, often accompanied by a cold beer. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself reaching for seconds!

4. Canja (Chicken Soup)

Top 5 Cape Verdean Meals
Canja-(Chicken Soup)

Canja is a lifesaver when the chilly sea breeze gets to you. This hearty chicken soup soothes the mind and body. A rich broth floats tender chicken, aromatic rice, and vegetables. A zesty twist is added by adding lemon juice. A bowl of canja will revitalise you, whether you’re recuperating from a strenuous walk or just looking for comfort.

5. Xerém (Cornmeal Porridge)

Xerém is Cape Verde’s version of comfort food. Made from ground corn, it’s akin to polenta but with a Cape Verdean twist. The porridge is thick, creamy, and often served with fish or meat. Locals love it for breakfast or as a side dish. The simplicity of xerém reflects the island’s rustic charm—a taste of Cape Verde’s soul.


Exploring the flavours of Cape Verdean cuisine offers a delightful journey encompassing culture, history, and taste. The selection of five recipes merely scratches the surface of what awaits. Allow your taste buds to guide you through this captivating archipelago, where enjoying meals under the warm Cape Verdean sun with newfound friends is a truly unparalleled experience. Which of these dishes intrigues you the most? Share your preferences with us!

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