As I mentioned in my last post, the population of Suriname is a wonderful mix of African, Indonesian, East Indian, Amerindian, Chinese, Dutch, and other heritages I am surely forgetting. And what´s really cool about the country is how well all of these groups get along. Unlike in neighboring Guyana, where the two political parties are divided along racial lines (there is one black party and one Indian party, and around election time the two groups apparently really don´t get along), there are lots of parties in Suriname, and they´re preoccupied with much more important matters than race (like, for instance, justice over the military coup that destabilized the government in the 1980s...yup, still an issue today).
Anyway, at all the restaurants we went to, we saw all sorts of people enjoying each others´ foods and culture. We couldn´t help but jump in and enjoy, too. Unfortunately, we don´t have a lot of restaurant pics, because we didn´t take a camera to the fancy Chinese place we ate at, and the pictures of our delicious food from Andy´s birthday dinner at an Indonesian place are stuck on the other camera (whose memory card is apparently unreadable now by our card reader). But we had beef crusted in spicy coconut (YUM), vegetables with peanut sauce, and vegetable bami (a sort of lo mein-esque noodle dish). So, just trust me, it was delicious.
Here are the food picture we do have.
One of our first stops on crossing into the country was a gas station, where Andy was SO excited to find the "windmill cookies" of his youth. These are kind of spicy ginger cookies with pictures of windmills on them that are apparently Dutch, and therefore sold in Suriname. Very tasty.
Our default cheap meal in Paramaribo was roti aard, served mostly at Roopram Roti, a fast-food-esque chain where small armies of people make rotis (a delicate flat Indian bread) in the kitchen and serve them up with various fillings. Roti aard is the cheapest on the menu, and for less than $3 US you get a huge roti and a huge plate of curried potato filling, sometimes with green beans added too, and hot sauce if you like. You then use the bread to scoop the filling, no utensils.
Forgive my expression here, it´s no reflection on the tastiness of the roti!
Another reason Suriname is near and dear to our hearts is that they had abundant supermarkets with abundant freezer sections, meaning abundant ice cream. (We determined that the ridiculous amount of supermarkets in Suriname must be due, in part, to the fact that the whole country runs on hydropower from a huge dam created in the 1960s on the Suriname river, meaning that electricity for things like lighting and fridges and freezers is abundant and cheap...unlike in the surrounding countries, where sometimes things like gas are cheaper, but electricity isn´t so the markets are much more basic, and frozen foods much harder to come by.)
Anyway, because no birthday pie or cake was available, Andy had to buy a big tub of locally-made coconut ice cream for his birthday...
Oh yeah, and make ice cream floats with it in glasses of fruit nectar.
On our trip to Brownsberg National Park, our trip leader Irvin turned us on to these amazing garlic-flavored banana chips. We ate a LOT of those.
There were also onion-flavored cassava chips, which weren´t as amazing as the banana chips, but were still darn good.
Also, when he cooked for us, Irvin prepared prodigious amounts of rice. Check out part of the lunch he packed for us when we went on our day-trip to Bergendal for zip-lining--literally a bucket of rice.
The other thing we loved about the food in Suriname was all the vegetables. Nearly every restaurant dish we ordered came with delicious fresh vegetables, which never happens in the other we have been to (where, when you order meat, you get meat, maybe with some rice or other starch). And Irvin always included veggies in our meals on the tour (not the case on our rainforest trip in Brazil). Now that we are in Brazil, land of meat on a stick and deep-fried pasteles, we sure do miss our Suriname vegetables.