Most towns have a cheap cafe, while on the tourist trail you will find eateries to suit all budgets. There is a dearth of top-end options outside Blantyre and Lilongwe, but the lodges fill this gap with excellent in-house restaurants. Many offer half- and full-board packages and, apart from exclusive lodges, their restaurants are open to non-guests. When eating off the beaten track, order cautiously and stick to simple foods.
Nsima is Malawi's staple food. Made from ground corn, it is ubiquitous and served with a sauce or alongside meat and vegetables. Despite the fact that Malawi has no sea, it has a wealth of fish from Lake Malawi, including favourites like chambo (similar to bream), mpasa (like salmon) and usipa (like sardines). You'll often find seafood presented in curry or with a plate of fries.
For dessert expect tasty mbatata (cinnamon and sweet potato) cookies, as well as nthochi (banana bread). In addition to this Malawian fare, you can expect great steaks at reasonable prices in the cities, and hearty Western-style cuisine in safari lodges.