Travelers heading to the African nation of Senegal may have some idea of what to expect from the local scenery, but Senegal food may be more of a gray area. The Western African nation has been home to a number of cultures throughout the years and the result is an eclectic diet that involves a stunning mix of herbs, spices, meat, fish and rice.

The local diet of Senegal has been shaped by French, Portuguese and North African settlers, as well as the country’s native Muslim heritage. This means that pork is certainly not on the menu, yet lamb, chicken and especially fish are all common proteins.

Travelers hoping to dine on local fare will want to start their edible adventure with a bowl of Ceebu jën, also known as thieboudienne. This common dish consists of fish, rice and tomato sauce, as well as onions and peanut oil. Available in both red and white varieties, this is a must try for visitors.

Guests visiting the city of Dakar will likely be offered a plate of chicken yassa, a Senegambian dish consisting of marinated chicken with onions and lemon that has become increasingly popular in the region.

Other popular dishes include maafe (a seasoned beef stew incorporating tomato, onion cabbage and root vegetables), bassi-salte (a seasoned meat and tomato paste served over coucous) and somni (a sweet milk-rice soup).