Sunday, May 28, 2023

10 Authentic Traditional Malawian Delicacies

You just need to ask a Malawian about their traditional comfort food and most certainly they will scream “nsima with chambo” with no hesitation.

The assumption that the first “cook” might have originated from Malawi, a country that can debatably declare to have invented cooking might actually hold some ground.

Malawi. SOURCE Wikimedia Commons

But Malawian dishes just like many other delicacies from Sub Sahara are still highly under-represented on the world culinary scene.

From the humble cereals for breakfast, to root vegetables that form the basis of so many healthy hearty dinners, to yummy and wholesome desserts you would terribly beleft spoilt for choice.

 Malawian Delicacies

Here are 10 traditional mouth watering dishes from Malawi that would certainly tickle your taste buds.

Malawian Delicacies Chambo with nsima
Chambo with nsima SOURCE: Tobias Kumweda

Chambo with nsima

As much as it’s not easy to pin down a national dish for Malawi, this stands out as a favorite that you shouldn’t depart Malawi without tasting.

Chambo, most popular and best-known fish found in Lake Malawi is served grilled, usually with nsima (a stiff porridge) or with chips.

Add Ndiwo, a delicious relish made of pumpkin or cassava leaves, tomatoes and groundnut powder and there you have Malawi on a platter.

Kachumbari SOURCE: Tobias Kumweda
Number 2


Lovers of pico de gallo or anything similar, you’re going to enjoy Kachumbari. This dish is dearly beloved across Malawi and is made with onions, tomatoes, and spicy chili peppers.

Kholowa SOURCE: Tobias Kumweda


One of the well-liked dishes generally served with nsima. Made by mixing sweet potato leaves with oil, onions, and tomatoes giving it a rich distinct taste.

Nsima SOURCE: Tobias Kumweda


Nsima is your typical Malawian cake made of white corn flour stirred in boiling water. It’s a staple dish across Malawi usually consumed with different stews. If you can’t make it all the way to Malawi for a taste, it’s so famous that even people in neighboring countries like Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia also make it.

Kondowole SOURCE: Tobias Kumweda


This delicacy is mostly found in the north of Malawi, it is made from cassava flour. It’s quite similar to Nsima, but don’t let that fool you, as the taste and texture are quite different. In particular, this one is way sticky.

Phala la Mgaiwa
Phala la Mgaiwa 

Phala la Mgaiwa

For the majority of Malawians when it comes to breakfast, they like to take it easy. This doesn’t mean that it’ll be lacking in flavor. A good Phala la Mgaiwa (a type of ground corn), sweetened with some sugar and milk can send your taste buds into rapture.



Not certain how bunny chow got its name, but certainly this hollowed-out half or quarter-loaf of white bread filled with a blistering-hot curry is one of Malawi’s most treasured snack.



This is another great relish served as a side dish with nsima or rice. It consists of pumpkin leaves, tomatoes and a hefty amount of peanut flour that contributes to the hearty taste of this delicacy.



This drink called thobwa (“toe-bwa”) or also referred to as “sweet beer” which is a fermented sorghum or millet drink that is very slightly alcoholic. There’s a long process to make it which includes letting the mixture sit for a week to ferment and then it’s ready for consumption.

It is a popular drink in the country, you’re most likely to be offered Thobwa in summer as that’s when it is highly consumed. The drink is thick like eggnog but grainy like watery grits, with a distinct corn after-taste.



Another delicious yet simple treat is Zitumbuwa, also known asfried bananas. This is made by making a dough with bananas, corn flour and avariety of spices then deep fried till they turn golden brown.

Tobias Kumwenda

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Tobias Kumwenda
Tobias Kumwenda
From passion to (aspiring) profession, this is what prompted me to enter this project: Travel and Hospitality Industry. The desire to work in contact with a world that has always intrigued and fascinated me.


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  1. Thanks for the well-written story. It really reminds me of my years when I used to live in Malawi “The Warm Heart of Africa” as an expatriate doctor.

    Yes, Indeed Malawi has lots of foodstuff major ones being mentioned in this article. Do we know where I get such foodies here in USA-Newyork?

  2. Dear Editor,

    I stumbled your article on the internet while doing research on Malawi’s local food as I am preparing to travel there beginning next year.

    Your write-up is so helpful.

    Receive my warm regards from the Netherlands.

  3. I seriously could have used this guide on Sunday when I was struggling to find top food found in Africa meant for my Masters of Arts thesis.

    I got through many websites but were giving vague information, I will utilize everything that you have mentioned here.

    Great guide!!


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