Planning for Thanksgiving – UPDATED!

Now is the time to start gathering all you’ll want for a festive Dakar Thanksgiving! Here’s a general checklist to be sure you’ve got your bases covered in time. Please comment below if you have anything to add!

Let’s talk turkey.
Due to current restrictions on importing poultry, the options are limited this year. These are the best bets:

Poulet Express is raising turkeys locally and they will be 5,500 cfa/kilo. However you’ll need to call to reserve your bird. 33 842 9686 or 33 821 5888.

Home-raised turkeys started on a chick starter feed from day one. Now they eat a high protein mixture of local grains with corn and hard boiled eggs. They also have daily vitamins. They had antibiotics at 16 days old to prevent marecks disease. They see a vet and are in good health. While they won’t be as large as butterballs, they are well-cared for and will be the right size for a family dinner. 5,500/kg. Reserve your bird by contact or 77 366 89 11 and they will be delivered fresh.

Or there’s a lady in Louga who had 4-5 more turkeys available. She says: They grew without hormones picking grains on our ground. We sell by the kilo without feathers 5.000 CFA. Our telephone is 77 524 42 22, email:

Casino grocery stores and Hypermarché Exclusive on the VDN have also carried turkeys in the past. Again, best to reserve. (A word of warning, two years ago some turkeys from Casino were said to have a fishy taste because they had been raised on food containing, well, fish.)

(Or ham)
If you’re not set on having something that said ‘gobble’ on your table, here’s a recently found option for glazed ham that has definite potential.

Between tapalapa bread and cornbread, I think most recipes should work here.

Good looking celery was spotted today at CityDia Mermoz!

Sweet potatoes
Great news! Locally grown orange sweet potatoes have hit the market and are available at CityDia, Castor Market and other places around town – and quite reasonable at 690cfa/kilo.

Local white sweet potatoes aren’t quite right in terms of texture and taste. But carrots work surprisingly well for casseroles and soufflés. (I usually use 4 carrots to every 1 local sweet potato in my recipes. And I’m not above adding a little red/yellow food coloring to make it look right!)

Mashed potatoes
No probs.

Green bean casserole
Dior Diarama often carries cream of mushrooms soup, and so does Hypermarché Exclusive. You can also buy the Knorr powdered soup mix. Or make a white sauce, add frozen mushrooms and cube of beef bouillon. This stuff is what you want to look for.

Good news on the crunchy onions front! The oignons croustillants available in the apéritifs section at Casino and Hypermarché work great. And I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Dior Diarama has them in stock this time of year.

Cranberry sauce
I think we’re counting on Dior Diarama for this one, unless Hypermarché still has some on the shelves like they did a couple months back.

From a reader: If you want to enjoy the taste of fresh cranberries all year long, now is the time to stock up on fresh bissap (roselle), as it will be gone soon. Have your housekeeper or a local friend help you get a bunch at the market, wash, chop, and freeze it in small Ziplock bags, and use in any recipe calling for fresh cranberries. Delicious!

For recipes that call for cranberries, you can often substitute… bissap flowers! Just rehydrate them in boiling water, cool and chop. Here’s an example in these white chocolate & bissap oatmeal cookies.

Deviled eggs
Local buutik eggs + cornichons + mayonnaise + paprika (Hypermarché). You’re all set. Here’s a recipe using locally available ingredients.

All ingredients available here, even whole wheat flour if you’re going healthier this year. If you want to get ahead of the game, you could order yeast rolls from Marie and freeze them. On Thanksgiving, just thaw, heat and serve.

Pecan pie
As far as I know, pecans and Caro syrup are not available in Dakar. Does anyone know differently? Has anyone seen them at Dior Diarama? Does Hypermarché sell a UK equivalent to Caro under another name?

Frozen pastry crusts are available at most grocery store chains.

Pumpkin pie
Again, carrots save the day! Seriously. Try it. You’ll be amazed. (Carrot purée can also be used in all those pumpkin recipes filling your Pinterest feed.) You can also use local potiron, but I prefer carrots.

All the spices are available individually at Hypermarché, with the exception of occasionally hard-to-find ground cloves.

Frozen pastry crusts are available at most grocery store chains.

As they say in America… bon appétit!



  1. Yes, last year my Turkey tasted FISH and no one would eat it. This was bought from Casino. I went and talked to them, but we all know now that there is no real management at Casino and they basically don’t care. So I went to Hypermarche and told them the story they told me that it was the same person deliver to them for Christmas, so I really stressed out that they should let her know about the fish feeding.

    I was happily surprised the two turkeys I bought fro them were just great and no trace of fish. But I think it does not hurt to repeat the same thing again to all the supermarkets. I will for sure talk to Hypermarche.

    Magida. Sent from my iPad

  2. Here is my two cents. Hope it helps.

    Last holiday season we had three turkeys 1) One from Casino – We didn’t have any fish taste but you have to make sure to clean out the inner organs (turkey ovaries, black gunk on inside of breast bone near bones) that definitely changes the taste. In the US this is already done so I never thought to check before. 2) One from USAID kitchen – He found the turkey and smoked it. 3) One from Djiby – He runs the fruit stand market at the embassy and got one from a local source. All were very tasty.

    Corn Syrup/Pecans
    The US Embassy has a commissary open to “Idea” members that carries both at least the last time I checked. I’ve heard that the Hypermarche sometimes carries a corn syrup by the name of Golden but I have never seen it there.

  3. I got canned French-fried onion rings at Dior Diorama not too long ago. I think they’re out of cream of mushroom soup though. And I have bought Golden Syrup at Hypermarche before — never tried it for a pecan pie, but maybe I’ll give it a shot.

  4. For cranberry sauce, even better than rehydrating dry bissap is stocking up on fresh bissap when it’s in season and freezing it for later use. It’s amazing, and it’s not in season yet, but will be soon, so just in time for the holidays. Ask a local (like your housekeeper) to track some down at the market for you (it takes a bit of effort, since the Senegalese don’t eat it fresh much). It’ll be well worth the effort.

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