Chic African Culture Africa Factbook

Grilled Sugarcane Skewers

Grilled sugarcane skewers with spicy dipping sauce is a popular street food in Zambia.

Sugarcane is a popular street food in Zambia, especially during the summer months when it is abundant. The sugarcane sold on the streets is sold by vendors who cut it into small pieces and sell it in plastic bags or on skewers with a spicy dipping sauce. 


To prepare sugarcane for sale, the vendor will first wash the sugarcane stalks and then use a machete to cut off the outer layer of the stalk. 

This outer layer contains tough fibers that are difficult to chew, so it is removed to make the sugarcane more palatable. Once the outer layer is removed, the vendor will cut the sugarcane into small pieces, usually about 4-5 inches long. 

The sugarcane is then either put into a plastic bag or skewered onto wooden sticks. The skewered sugarcane is often grilled over an open flame to caramelize the natural sugars in the cane and enhance the flavor. 

Sugarcane is a popular street food in Zambia because it is cheap, nutritious, and refreshing. It is a good source of natural sugars, which provide a quick burst of energy, and it is also high in fiber, which helps to keep you feeling full. 


In Zambia, grilled sugarcane is sold on street corners and at roadside stands.

Ingredients for sugarcane.

Sugarcane stalks 

Wooden skewers 

Spicy dipping sauce (recipe below)


Preheat a grill to medium-high heat. Cut sugarcane stalks into 6-inch lengths and peel them. Insert a wooden skewer through the center of each sugarcane piece. Place the skewers on the preheated grill and cook until lightly charred, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove the skewers from the grill and serve with a spicy dipping sauce.

Spicy dipping sauce.


1/2 cup soy sauce 

1/4 cup rice vinegar 

2 tablespoons honey 

1 tablespoon sriracha sauce 

1 tablespoon grated ginger 

1 garlic clove, minced 


In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey, sriracha sauce, grated ginger, and minced garlic until well combined. Serve the spicy dipping sauce alongside the sugarcane skewers.

Sugarcane growing in Zambian soil


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