Food in Malawi


Nsima is Malawi’s national dish, made from maize flour mixed with hot water and kneaded until thickened.

Nsima is most popular in Malawi, although other types of carbohydrates such as rice, cassava and potatoes are also eaten.

Nsima is usually eaten with bare hands with stewed vegetables, fish, beans or meat.


Kondowole is a staple food eaten mainly in northern Malawi, similar to Nsima, but whereas Nsima is made from maize flour, Kondowole is made from cassava flour.

Kondowole is usually eaten with fish, but can be eaten with any type of side dish.

It is sticky and filling, and some people say that if they eat Kondowole for lunch, they are not hungry at night, even if they have not eaten anything else.

Try this delicious dish when travelling in northern Malawi.


One of Malawi’s most famous dishes is chambo.

Chambo is endemic to Lake Malawi and is a type of freshwater fish in the tilapia family.

It is dried in the sun, grilled, boiled or fried and eaten with soup.

In Malawi, it can be found in many restaurants and hotels, especially on the shores of Lake Malawi.

A trip to Malawi is not complete without a taste of chambo.


Zitumbuwa is a popular snack in Malawi, similar to banana fritters.

They are usually fried after mixing maize flour, bananas and sugar together and come in different variations.

Desserts are eaten on special occasions in Malawi, and zitumbuwa is one of the cheapest and tastiest desserts available on Malawi’s roadsides and markets.

If you get hungry while sightseeing or shopping in Malawi, try zitumbuwa.


Thobwa is a traditional fermented drink popular throughout Malawi, made from maize and millet or sorghum, with a milky appearance, grain flavour and grainy texture.

Because Thobwa is made from maize, it is very filling and many Malawians take it as their energy drink for the day, and it is sold everywhere in recycled plastic bottles in towns and in clay pots in villages.

The name, Thobwa means ‘sweet beer’ and is non-alcoholic but becomes a local beer when left to ferment for five days.