The four ages of fast food in Dakar, Senegal

By Chantal Crenn, Jean-Pierre Hassoun, John Angell

Based on a piece of ethnographical fieldwork, this paper reconstitutes the biography of so called fast food restaurants in Dakar today. These restaurants were opened by Lebanese migrants who introduced shawarmas (1964) and then hamburgers (1980s) into the country. Until the mid 1990s, these restaurants were located in the historical core of the city. They then spread to its various districts and suburbs. The uniformity of the foodstuffs masks differentiated uses and moral tensions around individual eating versus collective eating. Although their ingredients are more and more frequently imported from “elsewhere,” these foodstuffs are felt as being “domestic,” while eating in a fast food restaurant is viewed as a form of participation in the globalized world, thus illustrating the extroversion of Dakar.


  • fast food
  • Dakar
  • shawarma
  • hamburger
  • restaurant
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