What is Djibouti's best known food?
Djibouti is a mostly Muslim country on the horn of Africa. It does not produce much of its own food (less than 5% by some statistics), so they are a major importer of food products. That said, dairy products and meat from their cattle are the traditional foods, along with grain dishes. In the cities, the diet is influenced by Italian and other European foods.
A notable feature of the diet, that is eaten like food, is a narcotic called qat. Qat is a leaf which is imported from Ethiopia. Qat is consumed recreationally by virtually all men, preferably after lunch, when government offices and work come to a standstill in the midday heat. Qat is supposed to enhance concentration -- yeah, right! -- and kills the appetite, so poor people even consume it to keep from being hungry.
When my son was deployed in Djibouti with the Navy, they had to have special training to warn them against consuming qat because it is widespread and the unsuspecting U.S. military may consume it by mistake, thinking it is what we think of as "food."
One form of sustenance of which "virtuall all men" in Djibouti imbibe is qat, a narcotic leaf imported from Ethiopia. It is most often taken after lunch, when many people rest from the midday heat and when many government offices are closed for a few hours each day. Qat is believed to improve concentration and alertness (by delaying sleepiness), and it suppresses the appetite. It is also used in religious services.
Foods that provide more sustenance than qat include Soupe Djiboutienne (Fah-Fah). Another recipe of the country is Djibouti Lentils, which is popular as a side dish. Often served as a main course is the Yetakelt Wet, which is actually a preparation of spicy, mixed vegetable stew. Berber Sauce, Nitter Kebbeh, and banana fritters are some more popular recipes of the country.