We are quickly developing the Saturday tradition of eating lunch at a local restaurant called Afrika Bite. Jacob, Caleb, Robin and I all get the same thing: peanut sauce. It’s this Ugandan dish that is grilled (the proprietor would say “barbecued”) in layers of banana leaves. The banana leaves are trucked in from Uganda every week and they only serve this dish on the weekends. The sauce is hot and creamy…not creamy like creamy peanut butter, but creamy like a good milkshake (should I have come up with a comparison that wasn’t freezing cold?). The flavor, like most foods common to Africa, is impossible to describe to non-native taste buds. It might be described as bland by some, full of rich nutty flavor by others. It isn’t spicy and somehow the cooked onions are always a surprise to find resting in the bottom of the bowl because they don’t provide a discernible flavor. I always take one bite, wonder if today the sauce isn’t as good and then think it’s the best thing possible by the third bite. In the foreground you can see the side dishes that can be eaten with the peanut sauce: rice, matoke (cooked bananas), vegetables and a chapatti.
The third best thing about eating at Afrika Bite on Saturday afternoons (after the peanut sauce and African tea) is to listen to the conversation of the tourists who are brought to lunch by a certain gorilla trek agency. They inevitably prove entertaining. From our usual table and woven banana leaf chairs we can generally listen in without being too obvious. Today we heard these comments, piled right on top of each other, from three middle aged women at the end of the meal, “That was SO GOOD” “And SO HEALTHY” “I feel SO SATISFIED” They obviously didn’t have very high expectations for this “African food” and were very pleasantly surprised.
So, do you want to get some peanut sauce today?