You have to eat. No matter what else happens in life, where we go or why we go, we can’t escape the necessity of eating, fueling up.
One of the most popular questions I get about my visits to Tanzania is: “How’s the food?”
It was different. Not bad at all. My biggest surprises was realizing how much food and our taste buds shape us culturally. Your taste buds preferences can really tell a lot about you. For instance, being an American raised in the southern states of of the United States, I am accustomed to the Meat + 3 concept of plating. This is a meat entree item with 3 sides, with at least one of them being a starch. Plus, I am use to desserts and sweets…and our notion of what is sweet is insane compared to the palates of my Tanzanian and some of my European friends. No wonder we have such high incidences of Diabetes 2. (smh)
Moreover, I didn’t think I’d have to worry about getting vegetables. It was hard finding familiar vegetables and getting more (cooked) veggies on my plate. Meat, however, was very abundant and the roasted meat – choma – was delicious, but often tough to chew.
Here are some of the meals I enjoyed while in Tanzania.
I’m a fan of street food. I guess it’s the junk food junkie in me. I love quick, salty, deep fried, sweet (or not) tasty snacks that folks grab on the go or sit around & enjoy with friends.
One of my favorite snack meals, but in Tanzania it’s considered local fast food.
Attempts at Western Fare
You how homesickness presents itself first – in your appetite. It wasn’t long – 2-3 weeks in – that I found myself wishing I had something familiar to eat. (I’ve never dreamed of a plain ole cold cut sandwich more.) There are a few hotels owned by Americans (United States & Canada) so there are some familiar items on the menu….But local ingredients & styles of cooking can throw the appearance & taste of some recipes off.
But, after being away for so long, you just want something, anything that tastes familiar.
So, how was the food? It wasn’t bad and in some cases it was actually very good – and not just because I was hungry or homesick. There are some meals I actually miss when I’m back in the States – mbuzi, coconut rice, that ugly deep fried fish, and chai.
In fact, revisiting these pictures are making me hungry.