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Mapped: The colour palettes of Africa’s favourite foods

Here’s a study you might be interested in:

Research has shown that colour is the most effective sensory cue* when it comes to imagining the flavour of food, inspiring Pyszne.pl to uncover the colour palette of each country’s typical lunchtime meal.

By scraping a reputable restaurant review site to find the most dominant lunchtime dishes for each country, Pyszne.pl then analysed the colour hues of each of the most popular dishes, and now can reveal all.

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This research is part of a larger study into the colour palettes of lunchtime dishes around the world: https://www.pyszne.pl/odkryj/mapa-barw-jedzenia/ 

Traditional Ukrainian Russian Borscht: BowL of red beetroot. Credit: Natalia-Hanin_Shutterstock

Nigeria’s food colour palette is made up of warm tones such as red and yellow as well as green and beige. Their most popular lunchtime dishes are jollof rice and efo riro, both of which use a stew-like base to build the dish contributing to the country’s red and yellow tones. The spinach and meat in efo riro and suya also contributes to the overall palette.

Ethiopia’s food colour palette is made up of beige and brown tones thanks to their love of spice, meat and injera. Ethiopia’s most popular lunchtime dish is their hybrid dish of stir fry and stew, tibs. This rich and meaty dish can be spicy but clearly locals are willing to take on that challenge.

A traditional South African chicken braai. Credit: MD_Photography_Shutterstock.


South Africa’s colour palette ranges from dark browns to peaches and beige.  With their most popular lunchtime dish of braai, this is no surprise. The meal can include a whole host of meats from boerewors to steak and game meat, and includes accompaniments such as potato bakes and corn on the cob.

The food colour palette of Tanzania is made up entirely of beige shades, this is due to their love of rice, maize and stews. Tanzania’s most popular lunchtime dish is their national dish of ugali. The swallow, usually made from cornmeal, semolina or cassava flour, is paired with  kidney bean stew and meat.

Fresh homemade Italian Pizza Margherita with Buffalo Mozzarella and Basil. Credit: V.-Matthiesen_Shutterstock.

Colour palettes around the world 

Across the pond in the United Kingdom, kebabs and fish and chips pave the way for colours such as red, green and white. Kebabs are often accompanied by salads packed full of tomatoes and cucumbers as well as seasoned meat. Fish and chips is England’s most iconic meal, especially when paired with mushy peas.

Canada’s typical colour palette is filled with reds, pinks and yellows due to the nation’s love of meat. Peameal bacon and smoked meat sandwiches are their most notable lunches, and contribute to the pink, red and orange tones of the colour palette.

Please see the full blog post for details into every country and continent analysed: https://www.pyszne.pl/odkryj/mapa-barw-jedzenia/


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