Gabon in detail


Libreville and Port-Gentil have plenty of restaurants serving mostly European food. Look carefully, though, and you'll find some excellent Gabonese flavours, including sauces such as nyemboué (crushed palm nuts) or odika (crushed acacia seeds, known as 'chocolate') with meat and fish dishes. Fish is plentiful on the coast and tropical fruit abounds. The main side dish is cassava or manioc formed into sticks.


The cassava (aka manioc) staple is a long-time favourite and is usually pounded, mixed with water, formed into sticks and boiled. Fried plantains, yams and rice are also very popular. Okra, spinach and palm oil are widely eaten here, and there is a wonderful array of tropical fruits, especially bananas and mangoes. Fish is plentiful and you'll find chicken and pork, too. In the countryside the lure of bushmeat from the dense rainforests is a hard custom to shake off, despite efforts by conservation groups to prevent hunting.