If you are anything like me, generally the word “market” either has you; (a) fretfully contemplating how to fit all the contents of your handbag into your pocket or (b) very nervous because aside from the occasional Beyoncé concert, crowds aren’t really your thing.

But what if I told you there was an open air market in West Africa where you could find flavoured biscottes, sesame cashew pralines, Italian sausage, coconut beignets, as well as local flavours like Ghanaian shito sauce and Senegalese ginger juice? Forget all that nonsense I just said about markets, you will be at this market at 9am sharp; long before your greedy neighbor (you know the one) shows up to cart off all the good stuff.

Lous Bess? Dakar’s Farmers Market brings together African and international food producers and artisans to offer shoppers a feast for the senses as well unique hand crafted goods. The philosophy behind Lou Bess? (Wolof for “What’s New?”) is to promote locally grown food and materials. Therefore many of the products on offer, whether of African or international bent, are made from materials that come from Senegal. It is a unique idea and one worth supporting. But even if the appeal of buying local sounds awfully political to you, after all, were are talking about food here, still visit Lou Bess?! The vendors are incredibly friendly and offer products of the highest quality. Below are some great vendors to check out.

  • Patîssier Matthias: German bread made by the very charming Matthias, also from Germany
  • Marie Diallo Laboratories: A Senegalese chemist trained in Paris, producing skin care products for black skin. What’s not to love?
  • Esteval: Natural juices produced from locally grown fruits
  • Raft Home Decor: Bags, baskets, and hampers with exquisite designs.
  • Made In Sénégal: Cute shopping bags made from Ankara cloth and potatoe sacks!
  • Sunu Tool: Genuine South African Boerewors
  • Liqueur de Warang: a family-owned business that produces fruit liquors

One more minor detail, Lou Bess? is organized in the Almadies, right near the beach. So if you find yourself in Dakar on the first week of the month, definitely visit the farmers market and maybe afterwards, go for a swim.