Senegal is the original home of Jollof rice according to research conducted by UNESCO
A long-running argument between the West African nations of Ghana, Nigeria, and Senegal has been resolved with the formal recognition by UNESCO that Senegal is the place where Jollof rice, also known as Ceebu jën in Senegal, originated. The meal, a mainstay of West African cooking, consists of rice and fish with veggies and occasionally tomatoes.
The origins of Jollof rice can be attributed to the establishment of colonial control in West Africa between 1860 and 1940. French invaders imported broken rice from Indochina to replace food crops during this time. The meal known as Ceebu jën was created as broken rice and eventually evolved to be valued more highly by the Senegalese than entire rice grains.
The meal has grown to be a source of national pride and cultural identity for the Senegalese, and UNESCO has designated it as a component of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity. The economy is anticipated to benefit from this accreditation, especially in the areas of tourism, agriculture, fishing, and catering.
Jollof rice’s cultural significance is matched by its deep ties to a certain way of life, and eating the dish is firmly associated with ceremonial occasions as well as the aesthetics of serving and presentation. Known for their extraordinary skill in this field, the women of Saint Louis, a port city in northern Senegal, are credited with giving the meal delicacy and grace.
The longstanding controversy over the origins of Jollof rice has been resolved with the official recognition by UNESCO of the Senegalese variation, Ceebu jën, as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. This strengthens Senegal’s position as the original producer of Jollof rice.