Sudanese cuisine is varied by region, and greatly affected by the cross-cultural influences upon Sudan throughout history. In addition to the influences of the indigenous African peoples, the cuisine was influenced by Arab traders and settlers during the Ottoman Empire, who introduced spices such as red pepper and garlic, as well as Levantine dishes. Egyptian, Yemeni, Indian, and Ethiopian influences are prevalent in the Eastern part.
A wide variety of stews exist in Sudan, often paired with a staple bread or porridge. Further south, fish dishes are popular.
Sudanese food in the north is simpler, whereas foods further south reflect the influence of surrounding areas, such as the Yemeni influenced mokhbaza (banana paste) of Eastern Sudan.
Sudan is governed under sharia, which bans the purveying, consumption, and purchasing of alcohol. Being lashed 40 times is the penalty for breaking the prohibition on alcohol. Former Sudanese President Gaafar Nimeiry enacted sharia in September 1983, marking the occasion by dumping alcohol into the Nile river.Araqi is an alcoholic gin made from dates, which is illegally brewed in defiance of sharia. Sudan's date-gin brewers thrive despite sharia.
Several stews, including Waika, Bussaara, and Sabaroag use Ni'aimiya (spice mix) and dried okra. Miris is a stew that is made from sheep's fat, onions, and dried okra. Sharmout Abiyad is cooked with dried meat, while Kajaik is made with dried fish.