A rebuke to those who’d paint a whole continent as a monolith of despair, or Islam as something to be feared, Senegal turns simple-minded assumptions and prejudice on their heads at every turn.

By the numbers

  • 1960
    Year Senegal declared independence from French colonial rule
  • 6,000
    Distance (in miles) of the annual Paris-Dakar Rally, now held in South America

Fact

Senegal’s population is more than 90% Muslim, but the nation’s first elected president after its independence from French colonial rule, Léopold Sédar Senghor, was a Catholic.

Eats

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Jardins de L’Amitié

Allées Seydou Nourou TALL N° 4011
221-33-824-86-93

Bazoff

Sicap Rue 10
+221-77-274-82-92
What Bourdain ate: Beef mafe served with rice

Dibiterie Le Mbotté

Rue 6 X 11, Medina
+221 33 822 13 88
What Bourdain ate: Dibi, roasted meat served on paper with grilled onions and mustard

Huitres de Sokone

Plage de la Pointe des Almadies
+221-77-803-46-29
What Bourdain ate: Clams, sea urchins and thiof fish

Marché Kermel

Rue de Essarts

Senegal has famously delicious food—flavors, and, often, ingredients that should be eerily familiar to any fan of Southern cooking.

Sidekicks

Youssou N’Dour: Iconic musician and Senegal’s former tourism minister.

Pierre Thiam: Renowned chef and cookbook author.

Djily Bagdad: Hip-hop artist.

Oumy N’Dour: Journalist.

Ofeibea Quist-Arcton: NPR West Africa correspondent.

Jean Hazard: Paris-Dakar Rally racer.

1. Bourdain with Oumy N’Dour, Fama Mouf, and Minielle Tall at Vitres de Sokone in Dakar / 2. Dinner on the beach

Lingo

Thiof: Senegal’s signature fish.

Beef Mafe: Stew thickened with ground peanuts.

Thiebou Jenn: Rice with fish; Senegal’s national dish.

Dibi: Roasted meat served on paper with grilled onions and mustard; essential Senegalese street food.

Dibiterie: A place that serves dibi.

“God is great”: An expression used when there’s no solution to a problem.