The different kinds of food Liberians eat

Written by DFP Liberia Staff

One nation one people, but with 16 different tribes across 15 counties; each of these tribes has a way of life special to them. They live in and own different parts of the country. These tribes are different from each other in many ways; the languages they speak, their cultural practices, and the food they eat. Rice is Liberia’s staple food but the way it is prepared matters to the different tribes. There are other foods as well; like cassava, eddoes, plantains etc. These foods are also differently and specially prepared by each tribe.

Different tribes like different kinds of soup and have special ways to prepare them. Let’s consider the Lorma tribe; they like the soup in their dialect called torborgee. It is eaten with rice; it can be prepared with bitter bud, beans, peppers, cassava leaves, etc. When prepared with bitter bud, they call it bitter bud torborgee. When prepared with beans, they call it bean torborgee. When prepared with cassava leaves, they call it cassava leaves torborgee. They also prepare torborgee with pepper; in this case, a lot of  pepper is used. This type of torborgee can be very hot and difficult to eat especially for people who are not used to eating hot pepper. However, they usually prepare this when they want to feel hot inside. Other Liberians also cook and eat torborgee periodically.

Bean Torborgee Soup
Bean Torborgee Soup

This kind of soup is prepared through a process explained below:

  1. Cook the beans with small eating soda (sodium bicarbonate) and later add the other ingredients. The ingredients include: salt, vetal (magi cube), pepper, palm oil and onion, dried meat and fish.
  2. When the bean is properly cooked, take it down from the fire and put additional eating soda, this is the ingredient that gives the soup that special taste and makes the soup different from other bean soup.

When the soda is added, it makes the soup to foam a lot. In this way, the real torborgee is cooked. The typical Lorma eat this and feel very satisfied.

The Lorma women are noted for having big hips. Many people jokingly say their hips are big because of the foaming nature of the torborgee soup they eat all the time.

vetal (magi cube) the ingredient that gives the soup a spicy taste


Front Photo: Bitter Bud, an edible crop locally grown in Liberia (Photo taken by DFP Liberia)