5 African Meals You Thought Came From America

Like literature and music, food is an important portal that bridges the gap between Africa and other continents. Food brings people together and expands businesses around the world, take for instance one of the ingredients in original formula that is use making Coca-Cola, it came from West Africa.

Long before some foods became staples in America, they were only for Africans. Around the 16th century,  these foods came out of Africa through the transatlantic slave route and became popular among the slaves who planted them.

We can tell you that watermelons, okra , kola nuts, coffee and black-eyed peas are some of the African foods that have become a general meal around the world:

Kola nuts

Cola nitida or Kola nut comes from West Africa and has become one of the most eaten in the world. Most beverages make use of kola nut in its preparation. The level of caffeine in kola nut exceeds the level found in coffee. If you are fond of cola drinks especially Coca-Cola, you are enjoying one of the benefits of kola nut. During the slave era, slaves use kola nut in freshening the fetid water that was found on ships during voyages.



Africa is never ignored when you talk about Hibiscus esculentus or okra. The spear-shaped and slender pod  found its way out of Africa during the slave era too. Okra has become an exotic pod that can be prepared in different ways.  It is delicious and nutritious which is one of the reasons why we can order for okra menu from around the world.



Watermelon was first grown in Africa before it found its way to other parts of the world. There have been debated over the years about where Citrullus lanatus (watermelon) came from in Africa, some scholars argued it came from ancient Egypt.


Black-eyed peas

It is said that cowpeas/black-eyed peas/Vigna unguiculata came from the Central and Southern Africa. The pea is high in protein and rich in minerals if you take the leaves.  This legume grows fast and was used on slave ships as provision, and later to take care of the American livestock. The feeding of livestock gave it the name cowpea. Today, black-eyed peas are used as one of the ingredients in preparing Hoppin’ John during the New Year in Southern America.



Coffea Arabic or coffee has its birthplace in Ethiopia. Some people have erroneously believed that coffee came from South America. According to myth and legend, Kalbi, a goat herder from Ethiopia discovered coffered the day his hear ate berries from a particular tree and became boisterous. These days, coffee has become an international drink that comes in different flavor. The coffee industry is a lucrative one and has provided numerous job opportunities for people around the world.

These are some of the few African foods that are thought to have come from other continents. Thanks to history that has been able to keep accounts intact all these years. Did we miss any of your favorite food that came from Africa? Comment below and let us know.