The cuisine of the Riverlands on Zeist is distinguished from other No-Maki cuisines mainly by their specific preparation of meat. Instead of cooking their dishes, No-Maki in the Riverlands mostly prepare it by soaking it in sour fruitjuices which denaturize the proteins and remove most types of bacteria. It is furthermore popular for its rich variety of spices, as the Riverlands are a fertile and diverse environment with a long agricultural history.
Dominated by hundreds of rivers ranging from small to big and with excessive precipitation, the cuisine of the Riverlands has developed around the needs of its inhabitants who rely on boats for transportation and face considerable hardships when required to light a fire.
The No-Maki being a carnivorous species, the cuisine of the Riverlands revolves around meat and animal by-products, most prominently those of aquatic origin, due to the topography of the region. This, combined with the environmental factors, has led the No-Maki of the Riverlands to develope the practise of marinating their food with sour fruitjuices, rather than cooking it, to denaturate the proteins. This bypasses the need for fire and allows for preparation of food on the traditional reet-boats of the Riverlands as well. It furthermore provides for conservation of food rich in protein and fats in a climate that is characterized by intense heat and high air-humidity.
Additionally, the Riverlands are a source of many different plants - and animals - with distinct flavors, which are used for spicing. This in particular is the reason that Riverlander cuisine has had a profound impact on other cultures of Zeist, who imported spices from the Riverlands and incorporated them into their own regional cuisines
Riverspear, a predatory waterdwelling species with features akin to terran fishes, is a popular source of meat for Riverland No-Maki. It's taste has been described as mild and buttery and most families have their own traditional recipes, passed down the generations. The Riverspear can be considered the one major food of the Riverland Cuisine.
Archeological records show that the No-Maki in the Riverlands have been hunting the Riverland Swampdigger since they first settled in the region. The herbivore, which lives in great numbers in the shallow riverbanks of the region, is hunted and eaten to this day and remains a staple ingredient of Riverland Cuisine. Reportedly having a mild and unobstrusive taste, it can be served in almost any variation.
Zeist Peach is a common source of fruitjuice for the purpose of marinating meat. The trees, which grow bountiful in the swampy Riverlands, produce soft, round fruits which taste very sour and need simply be squeezed to provide juice. Aside from marinades, Zeist Peach is also a major ingredient in many desserts and has found fame beyond Zeist in the form of refreshing lemonades.
Growing plentiful in the waters of the Riverland, the Green Riverlentil has been the staple food of the poorest strata of society for centuries. The plant developes small, submerged tubers about the size of a human fingernail, which are very rich in protein and saturated fats. Due to their nutritional value, they are a possible replacement for the No-Makis usual carnivorous diet, though their taste is generally considered unfavourable and recipes focus on masking it by adding the Riverlentil as minced paste to meat or cooking it in broth.
The colorful Peagerbil, a popular choice as decorative pet on most parts of Zeist, is considered a particular delicacy in the Riverlands. Difficult to raise in considerable quantities, Peagerbil meat remained expensive to this day and is valued for its tenderness and its tangy aftertaste.
A resident of the riverdeltas of the region, the Stingereel is not sought after by the No-Maki for its meat - which is poisonous - but its bones. The numerous spiked appendages that protrude from its skeleton to protect it from enemies are considered a delicacy if ground to a powder and mixed with meat. The resulting paste is then baked into small cakes which are traditionally eaten on high holidays and important festivities.
Considered the most basic of drinks in the Riverlands, the bodily plasma of numerous animals (a fluid that serves functions comparable to both blood and lymph within the bodies of most animals on Zeist) has been consumed by the No-Maki since the dawn of ages. It is sometimes spiced with Zeist Peach or other fruitjuices and a more recent trend called Clood has become popular throughout Zeist: carbonated plasma.
Riverlanders traditionally have a sizeable dinner each night, while restricting themseleves to minor snacks during daytime. Dishes during dinner, which is a central social event within Riverlander families, are served individually within small bowls. Riverlanders sit down in a circle on cushions draped on the floor and place the bowl in front of themselves. The food is then picked up with a long skewer. It is considered very bad luck to drop the skewer and putting it aside marks the end of the meal, after which it should not be picked up again, as it is seen as a sign of dishonesty towards the host.
Daytime meals are given less emphasis and tend to be finger-food. These snacks are eaten individually between different activities and are usually simple dishes that require little preparation.