I can’t really claim to know too much about the range of vegan food available in Abidjan, the commercial centre of Côte d’Ivoire. I only spent a couple of days in Abidjan and I didn’t have the opportunity to check out many restaurants. It’s a big city, with a wide range of places to eat from small roadside stalls to fancy French restaurants, with West African, Lebanese, Vietnamese, Chinese, Italian and other cuisines thrown in to the mix.
Like other West African countries, there is plenty of fresh squeezed juice to be had. I had a choice of pineapple, passion fruit (granadilla in SA), orange or papaya in the morning, in addition to carrot & cucumber as a veggie option. The drink above is a “fruit cocktail” that involves several of those juices blended up with pieces of pineapple. Absolutely delicious.
Pineapples, papayas and oranges are for sale on every corner. Naturally I loaded up on the fresh fruits at breakfast. Sadly, what I didn’t see anywhere was the country’s main agricultural product: cocoa. It seems it all gets exported, processed in Europe and then sold back here as “European” chocolate.
This hotel’s breakfast buffet was a little bit disappointing. There wasn’t as much fruit as I would have liked, and the hot veg selection was limited to baked beans and sometimes sauteed mushrooms. They did have some nice fruit and nut bread one morning, but not on the day I took pictures.
There is a large Lebanese community in Abidjan, which is why I was able to get hummus and tabbouleh at the food court of the Sococe shopping centre.
It was a nice change from the boring salads I could get at my fancy hotel and fancier, French restaurants.
As I said, Abidjan is a big city. There are shopping centres with gigantic supermarkets. At the Cap Sud Centre, there’s a health food shop called Eucalyptus. The Super Hayat market there also had loads of healthy options– aside from the fresh fruit and veg, there’s soy yogurt, soy milk, agave nectar and various organic goodies.
Hopefully next time, I’ll get to sample some local cuisine and more of the restaurants in Abidjan. And of course, some of the cacao that Côte d’Ivoire produces. I can safely say that local coffee and fruits are delicious– I’m sure the cacao is too.