Traditional Malawian food revolves around one staple, maize, served in one form, nsima n'SEE-ma. Nsima is basically a type of thick porridge, rolled into balls with your right hand and dipped into a variety of stews known as relishes. Those who can afford them eat relishes of beef, chicken or fish, but the many who can't make do with beans, tiny dried fish usipa, pumpkin leaves chibwabwa and other vegetables. At breakfast, nsima can be served watered down into a soup, maybe with a little sugar. Local restaurants will serve nsima and relish for less than MK500 US$3.
Food options in the major cities of Lilongwe and Blantyre are good. Fast food — to include burgers, pizza, and fried chicken — is very popular in Malawi. For sit-down meals, ethnic eateries thanks to a significant ex-pat population are popular. Do note that, in many restaurants, pork products are not served to accommodate the Muslim population.
Outside the larger cities, however, you might be a little underwhelmed with food options. Along the major roadways, you will find "tuck shops" featuring packaged cookies or Take Away Meals — meat pies or sausage rolls, for instance — which may or may not satisfy you.
Finally, in terms of hygiene outside the major cities, you are unlikely to find a proper washroom with running water. You will probably be given a bowl of water, a piece of soap, and a damp towel. Therefore, some travelers bring small bottles of anti-bacterial hand soap with them.