Bright red peppers and fluffy golden rice. Dark rich stews and fritters glistening, still fresh from the fryer. From east to west, north to south, it’s hard to imagine a cuisine that actually lends itself more to the modern trend of “food porn” than the cuisines of Africa. And yet, professional, up-close-and-personal food photography from the continent is hardly pervasive – in America, we might even call it elusive. But why?
The intensiveness of it all could certainly be a factor. Many dishes basically take 28 weeks to prepare, when you account for the two months to soak the pigeon peas (we jest. Sort of). But a handful of Instagrammers are proving that with African food photos – as with, say, D’Angelo albums – good things come to those who wait.
And like D’Angelo albums, those photos can be damn sexy.
So, for your viewing pleasure, we’ve compiled the sexiest African food photos that IG has to offer at the moment, along with the dedicated chefs, writers, and photographers behind each of the eye-feasts. And speaking of eyes, keep yours peeled for links to each of their blogs at the end of the post: you know Rum & Biscuits would never rob you of the pleasure of more pics, c’mon, now.
And with that, if it please the court, we enter the following exhibits into evidence:
These flaky, chewy, decadent puff puff that have us totally DTF: Down To Fry
@FoodAce comes to us courtesy of UK-based mum, foodie, and business owner, Belle Nnorom.
This veggie-rice-plantain triple threat that we’ll double tap all day
Active since 2012, the account is heavy on the Nigerian eye-candy, with sophisticated plating and fun personal touches on classic dishes.
This box of buttery crunchy chin chin that literally could not contain the pleasure
The daughter of a caterer, Nnorom was bit by the food bug early: “falling in love with cooking [and] creating new recipes,” she took on her own mother’s catering duties at the age of 15.
These succulent spreads looking like the new slow jam from K-Ci and JoJollof
With over four thousand posts and two HUNDRED thousand followers, @FoodAce is undoubtedly the most prolific account we’ve featured.
Or the quiet storm classic from Luther VandRice
In fact, the above post may be Instagram’s most-liked jollof to date (Rum & Biscuits Hive, come with the fact-check if not!)
This egusi soup that knows some nights we like to mix things up
Perhaps coolest to us, though, is that Nnorom’s passion for food and food photography has expanded into her own spice line, for which her food pics offer one hell of a compelling promotion.
This skillet of fiery gizzards that knows how to get us hot
I mean, just look at these things.
These savory stewed goat morsels that aint afraid to pose for a pick
Keep up the killer work, @FoodAce!
These crispy akara that know the black eyed peas that get us in the mood come on a plate, not a playlist
A passion for West African food is hardly limited to Nigerians and Ghanaians. Just ask food blogger Elsie Kriz of @AfroVitalityEats
This creamy banane malaxée that reminds us, y’know, sometimes you just wanna spoon
The Tennessee-based blogger originally hails from Cameroon and often features gorgeously-crafted dishes from her native country, adding a welcome novelty to an already visually stunning feed.
This peanut stew chicken we see looking all cute in that little cilantro number we got ’em
While her food is not limited to West African, it’s the wellspring of Kriz’ love of cooking, as she recalls flavors and experiences from her childhood.
This baked jollof that made us confess, “If oven you is wrong, we don’t want to be right.”
Hence her own beautiful take on jollof, because is jollof is life.
This lamb peanut stew that wants to do…all things you lamb won’t do
@KitchensofAfrica meanwhile has an angle that merges the two above: like @FoodAce , the account supports a larger business of African food products; and like @AfroVitalityEats, KoA is West African-born (Gambia) and based in the Southern U.S. (North Carolina). All we know is if their jars of sauce taste anything like their food pics look, we’re buying mad shares.
This combo that asks, You come home from work and see your seasoned grated cassava wearing this. WYD?
With @SeeMyChow, Accra-based Naa Oyoo Quartey and a team of African food bloggers dish the recipes, reviews, cooking tips, and – of course – food porn for Ghana-hungry folks at any stage of live.
This luxurious Apapransa that blends palm oil and super fine roasted corn powder. Super fine, indeed.
Quartey is a true renaissance woman with her finger on the pulse of all things Gold Coast. Outside of @SeeMyChow, the award-winning Quartey blogs on fashion, technology, entertainment, and relationships.
These golden piles of jollof that had us wondering, is there any more room for us…in those coconuts?
And speaking of relationships, we’re about to change our Facebook status with these plantains. It is so not complicated.
This steamy South African samp and beans whose moisture level is completely NSFW
@MyAfricanFoodMap is something apart. The brainchild of Berlin-based PhD graduate and filmmaker Tuleka Prah, the account offering is polished and diverse, with features from Kenya, South Africa, Ethiopia, and Ghana.
This melt-in-your-mouth kelewele that let us know tonight we aint making plans, we making plantains
Unlike many other top African food porn ‘grammers, Tuleka’s photos aren’t of her own cooking, but rather are “a growing record of African recipes just as they are made, by people who love to eat them, and who prepare them every day.”
This glistening Nigerian Native Rice that may get our likes, but that we’ll never share
Former radio talent Matse Uwatse Nnoli transitioned from captivating our ears to captivating our eyes with the her account @MatseCooks
This dish that started as Ogbono Soup but ended up OgboOH GOD YES Soup
The Nigerian-based Nnoli serves up big, in-your-face, (likely) bold-flavored dishes as part of her larger effort to “educate and interact with her followers on food and drinks from all around the black continent and all over the world.”
This katogo looking so scrumptious that, literally, the s*** is bananas
Sophie Musoki of @AKitchenInUganda is another content creator who – like @AfroVitalityEats, but on the opposite side of the continent – is doing big food things in a big food region, but from a country with an otherwise quiet online food presence.
These mandazi that had us turn the lights down first before they put the sugar on
Musoki’s often shadowy, highly saturated photos are distinct and cool; like a speakeasy, almost dangerously inviting. Most importantly, though, they have also given us what we’d consider the sexiest photo of mandazi ever in the world, shown above. Be sure to check out her beet-and-hibiscus-tinted ones for Breast Cancer Awareness Month as well.
This East African chicken rice that has us begging for a little pilau play
Staying in East Africa, we head west now to Kenya and the culinary stylings of Kaluhi Adagala of @KaluhisKitchen
This Kenyan rice and chicken that had us hollering, “I’M IN LOVE with the coco, coco(nut sauce)”
Like many of her peers, Adagala’s mesmerizing work flows from a combination of passion for food, love of creative experimentation, and a personal drive to make African cuisine and recipes more accessible.
This garlic-and-paprika-soaked meat stack that proves #LiverIsForLovers
A self-described fashion enthusiast, the appearance of African fabric (and big, bold color) give the photos of @KaluhisKitchen a stark and exciting calling card.
These sweet and sticky Kenyan treats that made your old fashioned donut ask, “Hey, who you textin'”?
While Kenyan cuisine plays a central role in her mission and content, Adagala’s creations aren’t limited to African food either.
These crackly, spicy, lemony sardines that put the bait back in clickbait
But damn, do we love it when they are.
This saucy Kati Kati chicken looking so nice they named it twice
We’ll try to limit the special treatment, but @ImmaculateBites holds a special place in our heart, as one of the few African food Instagrammers whose dishes we’ve taken beyond the food porn: testing the recipe and verifying as bangin’. AND whose creator we keep forgetting is a fellow Angeleno!
These Moroccan chicken thighs that usher us to a place that’s nice and quiet…where there aint no one there to interrupt (aint gotta rush), we just want to cook them nice and slow
The photos from @ImmaculateBites and its creator, Imma, are bright, even at times ethereal, with simple and clean staging
These Mozambican coconut chicken legs that about to have more than grill flames licking ’em
As with Rum & Biscuits, the @ImmaculateBites focus extends to the entire diaspora, with dishes from the Caribbean and American South as well. The underlying narrative of commonality that threads in and out is a wildly engaging intellectual lens into food, culture, and history.
This indulgent twist on a favorite that has us going cuckoo for cococa puff puffs
But of course, it’s impossible to overstate the value of the account for African food in particular, offering otherwise hard-to-find dishes from all over the continent.
We hope you’ve all enjoyed the ocular feast! As promised, please find links to the blogs associated with the IG accounts listed above. We absolutely encourage you to check them out – while their food pics may have your stomachs growling, they really don’t remotely do justice to the compassion, culinary expertise, and story-telling abilities of these very talented women. Happy oogling!: