There is overlap with Moroccan cuisine in the north and Senegalese cuisine in the south. French colonial influence (Mauritania was a colony until 1960) has also played a role in influencing the cuisine of the relatively isolated land.
Alcohol is prohibited in the Muslim faith and its sale is largely limited to hotels. Mint tea is widely consumed and poured from height to create foam. Traditionally, meals are eaten communally.
Traditional dishes include:
Thieboudienne (Cheb-u-jin), a coastal dish of fish and rice, which is considered the national dish of Mauritania. It is served in a white and red sauce, usually made from tomatoes.
Mchoui, whole roasted lamb
Rice with vegetables
Goat stuffed with rice
Camel (unusual)(made from Dromedaries)
Yassa poulet, chicken rotisserie with vegetables served over french fries or rice. It is originally a Senegalese dish from the Wolof and Pulaar tribes.
Mahfe, goat or camel meat in a peanut, okra and tomato sauce. It is served over rice and can also be made without meat (for vegetarians).
Hakko, leaf sauce with beans over couscous
Lakh, cheese curds or yoghurt with grated coconut served over sweet millet porridge
Bulgur wheat with dried fruit
Maru we-llham, meat with rice and vegetables
Cherchem, Mauritanian lamb couscous
Harira, Mauritanian soup dish
Mauritanian pepper steak with coconut
Leksour, Mauritanian pancakes with meat and vegetable sauce
Bonava, a lamb stew
Maff, meat and vegetables in a peanut-based sauce
Roselle syrup (Sirop de Bissap)
Al-Ach, chicken, beans and couscous
Zrig, camel milk (made from Dromedaries)
Baobab fruit drink (Jus de Bouye)