Eating at the Maquis, Côte d’Ivoire’s Favorite Spot

cote_divoire1In a few minutes, Les Éléphants will square off against Colombia in Group C, with a win by either team sending them to the knockout stage. In Abidjan, and likely across all of Côte d’Ivoire, Ivorians will watch the game at one of the city’s countless maquis: a small, open-air restaurant that serves as a go-to meeting place for locals. Developed in Ghana around the 1950s, the maquis is now an indelible part of the Ivorian cultural landscape. Anyone visiting Abidjan will find maquis packed not only with locals, but with some of the best home-made offerings of Ivorian cuisine. Maquis can also be found throughout West Africa, from Mali to Burkina Faso, as well as further afield wherever Ivorians have gone – you can find them in Geneva and Paris. Indie Travel Podcast provides a great breakdown of the history of the maquis, the range of Ivorian classics on offer, maquis eating etiquette, and some suggestions for the best maquis to try while in Abidjan. Based on their recommendations, we would definitely hit up Poulet aves les doigts (“Chicken with the Fingers”, a maquis in Abidjan’s Treichville district serving up mouth-watering chicken and alloco, a classic Ivorian snack of fried plantains served with chili peppers and onions. Maybe Côte d’Ivoire and Colombia can swap plantain preparations recipes after the game?

Women grilling fish at a maquis in Abidjan.

Women grilling fish at a maquis in Abidjan (via Courrier International)

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