Sudanese cuisine varies by region and is greatly affected by the cross-cultural influences of Arab, Nubian, Egyptian, Turkish, Levantine and African cuisine in Sudan throughout history. The most common meats eaten are lamb and chicken, in accordance with the Muslim halal laws. Many Sudanese foods have been around for thousands of years. Breads that the Sudanese call (Aisha) or (Aish baladi) and the most famous being kisra or kasra, a thin pancake like bread similar to a crepe are eaten with savory stews (mullah) or cheese (jibna), fava beans and falafel or tamiya. There is also Gorrassa or Gurasa, a fermented bread similar to Ethiopian injera which is thinner and smaller. A popular Sudanese mullah dish is called mullah ahmar,[1] a red mince meat sauce that is eaten with asida. It is a dish consisting of boiled wheat flour, molded into a ball and served as a meal. Asida is eaten across North Africa. Other mullahs will sometimes use waika, special sauce made from crushed okra and niaimiya[2] a spice mix that gives some mullahs a sticky yet flavorful texture. Dried Waika is sometimes used as a seasoning in the mullah. Most Sudanese mullahs will have either meat or other vegetables or legumes. Sometimes seasoned meats such as sharmout abiyad made of dried meats, onions and dried okra (crushed waika) is added to most types of mullah. Most meals are communal and often times shared with family, neighbors and guests as part of Sudanese hospitality.

Egyptian cuisine has greatly influenced Sudanese cuisine with famous foods enjoyed in both countries as tamiya made with Chickpeas in Sudan instead of fava beans as in Egypt, ful medames, the national dish of both countries, Molokhia, Kamounia, a meat liver stew eaten in Sudan, Egypt and Tunisia, Umm Ali and Basbousa. Turkish cuisine has also the Sudanese cuisine, giving it a distinct flavor. Among the most famous Turkish foods found in Sudanese cuisine are kebabs, kofta and shawarma as well as sweets such as baklava. Levantine and Egyptian sweets also entered Sudanese cuisine and are known as oriental or Levantine sweets.


Meals include elmaraara and umfitit, which are dishes made from sheep's offal (including the lungs, liver, and stomach), onions, peanut butter, and salt. They are eaten raw.[3] A peanut salad called salatat dakaw is also eaten. [4]


The most popular drink is tap or bottled water, traditionally offered free of charge for anyone in large claypots in the streets. Strong coffee, sometimes served in Sudanese coffee pots called jabana, and black tea, often with some milk, are also popular. These are sold in the streets by so-called tea ladies. Especially on hot days, traditional cold hibiscus tea, called karkadeh like in Egypt, is made in homes.[3]

Alcoholic beverages

Historically, Sudan was one of the few predominantly Muslim countries that allowed traditional and Western types of alcoholic drinks. Men drank millet wine, sharbot (an alcoholic drink from fermented dates), and araqi. As the 20th century came, some Sudanese were influenced by Europeans and began drinking whiskey and beer.

Since the late 1980s, when sharia was implemented, alcohol has been banned. The law bans the purveying, consumption, and purchasing of alcohol. Being lashed 40 times is the penalty for breaking the prohibition on alcohol.[5]

Former Sudanese President Gaafar Nimeiry enacted sharia in September 1983, marking the occasion by dumping alcohol into the Nile river.[6][5] Araqi, an alcoholic gin made from dates, continued to be illegally brewed in defiance of sharia.[5] In 2019, the Transitional Government passed a new law, allowing alcoholic beverages for non-Muslims.


Soups and stews

Several stews, including waika, bussaara, and sabaroag use ni'aimiya (a Sudanese spice mix) and dried okra. Miris is a stew made from sheep's fat, onions, and dried okra. Abiyad is made from dried meat, while kajaik is made from dried fish.[3] In Equatoria (now in South Sudan), soups include kawari, made from cattle or sheep hooves with vegetables, and elmussalammiya, made from liver, flour, dates, and spices.[3]

See also


  1. ^ Eltigani, Omer. "Red Stew-Mullah Ahmar". Sudanese Kitchen. Sudanese Kitchen. Retrieved 15 September 2022.
  2. ^ DeMaria, David. "A Taste of Sudan". Arab America. Arab America. Retrieved 15 September 2022.
  3. ^ a b c d "Sudanese food". Embassy of Sudan. Retrieved 2022-08-06.
  4. ^ "And in Sudan, A Famished Food Culture". The Third Rail. 2018-06-04. Retrieved 2022-02-11.
  5. ^ a b c Fleming, Lucy (April 29, 2010). "Sudan's date-gin brewers thrive despite Sharia". BBC News. Retrieved July 7, 2016.
  6. ^ "Sudan: Hearts, Minds and Helicopters". Time. 1984-01-23. Archived from the original on October 29, 2010. Retrieved 2013-03-15.
  7. ^ Gibna Bayda (white cheese)

Further reading