You are what you eat & drink

Bissap

From the International Scene

Senegal

One of the smaller countries of West Africa, in fact it is the western-most of the African countries. In the past one of the French African colonies the capital city is Dakar.

Dried Hibiscus Flowers

 

The national drink is Jus de Bissap (pron beesap), while technically it is more a tea than a juice it is made from dried hibiscus flowers Hibiscus sabdariffa.  Every busy street, train station, bus depot, and stadium will have its bissap vendors selling the drink. The dried flowers can be found in every market.

To make the tea is very simple. Hibiscis flowers, mint leaves, honey (if you want a sweetener) and an option of a vanilla pod.

Jus de Bissap

You can also use options of any citrus fruit, pineapple juice, etc; there are many variations.

It can be served hot as a tea, or chilled.

Like many countries who have/had their national drinks, Senegal has sadly opted for the conversion to pervasive brands like Coca-Cola that are considered to be much more in vogue.

“What happened is that when I went back, I discovered that people were basically abandoning bissap – a red drink made from the hibiscus plant – because for them, if you’ve made it now in this world, you drink the western brands.” – Magatte Wade, after having studied in France and moved to the US. You can read more of her interview on BBC’s African Dream.

Bissap is produced for consumption around the world.

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