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Colour palettes of Africa’s favourite foods

Food delivery service Pyszne conducted research into discovering the colour pallets of a typical lunchtime meal in different countries.

By House & Garden South Africa | September 9, 2021 | Category

Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

Did you know that colour is the most important sensory cue when it comes to imagining the flavour of food?

This amusing fact inspired food delivery service Pyszne to conduct deeper research into discovering the colour pallets of a typical lunchtime meal in different countries.

To conduct the study, Pyszne analyzed the content of over 3 million online reviews from 150 countries to determine which lunch dishes are mentioned the most.

They then used a color palette generator to extract the colors that stand out the most in each dish.

As a result, for each of the surveyed countries, they were able to obtain a specific colour palette reflecting popular lunch dishes in different countries. Not surprisingly, the most popular lunch dishes strongly correlated to the staple food of a particular country, while colour pallets also reflected each country’s landscape and surrounds.

For example, braai meat topped the list as South Africa’s lunch time meal of choice (of course, we didn’t expect anything less from our meat-loving nation), making our colour palette a range of dark browns to peaches and beige.

The lunch meal usually includes a whole host of meats from boerewors to steak and game meat, as well as accompaniments such as potato bakes and corn on the cob.

Further North, Nigeria’s food colour pallet is slightly warmer with reds, yellows, greens 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 make up the greens and beige.

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