Discovering Mbabane's Local Cuisine: Dishes, Restaurants, and Recipes

Discovering Mbabane's Local Cuisine: Dishes, Restaurants, and Recipes

Discovering Mbabane's Local Cuisine: Dishes, Restaurants, and Recipes

Welcome to Mbabane, the capital city of Eswatini, where you can immerse yourself in a vibrant culinary scene. This culturally rich city offers a delightful array of local dishes that will tantalize your taste buds. From traditional African specialties to international fusion cuisine, Mbabane has something for everyone. Let's dive into the world of Mbabane's local cuisine and explore the best dishes, restaurants, and even some traditional recipes!

Local Dishes

Mbabane is known for its diverse and flavorful local dishes that showcase the unique culinary heritage of the country. Here are some must-try local dishes:

  • Umqusho: This traditional dish features a hearty combination of corn, beans, and a variety of vegetables. It is often served with meat and is a staple in Eswatini cuisine.
  • Sishwala: Made from ground cornmeal, sishwala is a thick porridge that is typically served with a variety of stews and curries. It is a comfort food that you shouldn't miss.
  • Inyama emnandi: Translating to "tasty meat," this dish includes a selection of succulent grilled meats, such as beef, chicken, and lamb. It is often accompanied by flavorful sauces and condiments.
  • Emasi: A popular dairy product in Eswatini, emasi is similar to yogurt but with a tangier taste. It can be enjoyed on its own, used as a marinade, or incorporated into various dishes.
  • Puti: If you have a sweet tooth, puti is a must-try dessert. It is a rich, creamy dish made from maize meal, milk, sugar, and flavored with cinnamon and nutmeg.


Mbabane boasts a vibrant culinary scene with a range of restaurants that cater to all types of palates. Here are some top-notch restaurants where you can experience the best of Mbabane's cuisine:

1. The Swazi Kitchen

Located in the heart of Mbabane, The Swazi Kitchen offers an authentic culinary journey through the flavors of Eswatini. Their menu showcases traditional dishes prepared with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Don't miss their umqusho and inyama emnandi!

2. The Royal Terrace Restaurant

Set in a picturesque location with views of the city, The Royal Terrace Restaurant combines stunning ambiance with delectable cuisine. Their menu features a fusion of African, European, and Asian flavors, offering a unique dining experience.

3. Olive Branch

If you're in the mood for Mediterranean-inspired cuisine, head to Olive Branch. This cozy restaurant offers a delightful selection of dishes ranging from Greek mezze platters to Moroccan tagines. Their vibrant flavors and exceptional service make for an unforgettable dining experience.

4. The Calabash Restaurant

Experience the tastes of Africa at The Calabash Restaurant, where you can savor a variety of African specialties. From South African braai (barbecue) to Mozambican peri-peri chicken, this restaurant takes you on a culinary journey across the continent.

5. Mbabane Market

If you prefer a more casual dining experience, head to Mbabane Market. Here you can explore its vibrant food stalls and sample a wide range of local dishes, snacks, and street food. Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere and try a bit of everything!

Traditional Recipes

Why not bring a taste of Mbabane to your own kitchen? Here are a couple of traditional recipes that you can try:

1. Umqusho


  • 1 cup dried corn kernels
  • 1 cup dried beans (e.g., sugar beans or red kidney beans)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Soak the dried corn and beans separately in water overnight.
  2. In a large pot, cook the corn and beans together until tender (approximately 1-2 hours).
  3. In a separate pan, heat the vegetable oil and sauté the onions, garlic, and tomatoes until softened.
  4. Add the sautéed mixture, carrots, salt, and pepper to the cooked corn and beans.
  5. Simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes, allowing the flavors to blend.
  6. Adjust seasoning if necessary and serve hot.

2. Sishwala


  • 2 cups maize meal
  • 4 cups water
  • Salt, to taste


  1. In a large, thick-bottomed pot, bring the water to a boil.
  2. Gradually add the maize meal, stirring continuously to prevent lumps from forming.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for approximately 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add salt to taste and continue cooking for an additional 10 minutes, or until the sishwala reaches a thick, porridge-like consistency.
  5. Remove from heat and serve hot with your choice of stews or curries.

Embark on a culinary adventure in Mbabane and indulge in the rich flavors of Eswatini's local cuisine. From traditional dishes to international delights, the city offers a gastronomic experience that will truly satisfy your taste buds!