Countries Visited

Svalbard Spain United States of America Antarctica South Georgia Falkland Islands Bolivia Peru Ecuador Colombia Venezuela Guyana Suriname French Guiana Brazil Paraguay Uruguay Argentina Chile Greenland Canada United States of America United States of America Israel Jordan Cyprus Qatar United Arab Emirates Oman Yemen Saudia Arabia Iraq Afghanistan Turkmenistan Iran Syria Singapore China Mongolia Papua New Guinea Brunei Indonesia Malaysia Malaysia Tiawan Philippines Vietnam Cambodia Laos Thailand Myanmar Bangladesh Sri Lanka India Bhutan Nepal Pakistan Afghanistan Turkmenistan Tajikistan Kyrgyzstan Uzbekistan Japan North Korea South Korea Russia Kazakhstan Russia Montenegro Portugal Azerbaijan Armenia Georgia Ukraine Moldova Belarus Romania Bulgaria Macedonia Serbia Bosonia & Herzegovina Turkey Greece Albania Croatia Hungary Slovakia Slovenia Malta Spain Portugal Spain France Italy Italy Austria Switzerland Belgium France Ireland United Kingdom Norway Sweden Finland Estonia Latvia Lithuania Russia Poland Czech Republic Germany Denmark The Netherlands Iceland El Salvador Guatemala Panama Costa Rica Nicaragua Honduras Belize Mexico Trinidad & Tobago Puerto Rico Dominican Republic Haiti Jamaica The Bahamas Cuba Vanuatu Australia Solomon Islands Fiji New Caledonia New Zealand Eritrea Ethiopia Djibouti Somalia Kenya Uganda Tanzania Rwanda Burundi Madagascar Namibia Botswana South Africa Lesotho Swaziland Zimbabwe Mozambique Malawi Zambia Angola Democratic Repbulic of Congo Republic of Congo Gabon Equatorial Guinea Central African Republic Cameroon Nigeria Togo Ghana Burkina Fasso Cote d'Ivoire Liberia Sierra Leone Guinea Guinea Bissau The Gambia Senegal Mali Mauritania Niger Western Sahara Sudan Chad Egypt Libya Tunisia Morocco Algeria
Map Legend: 28%, 75 of 263 Territories

Monday, September 6, 2010

Hungry, hungry [to eat a] hippo!

While being in Southern Africa was nice for a number of reasons, we really missed the cheap and varied cuisine of West Africa. Crossing the border into Mozambique was crossing the food barrier back into the real Africa. On the South Africa side of the border, you find sanitary little restaurants serving boring food. On the Mozambique side, women throw whatever dirty food they have at you and you eat it off the ground with your hands--and it is almost free.

As soon as we had a hotel in Mozambique, we set out to find the market that was supposedly lined with food sellers. We got there well past the lunch rush, but found a few places left with food. This one was called guisado vaca, a beef dish, and cost us about $1.20. Exactly what we needed and very tasty. Many small vendors of candy and cigarettes in Maputo have buckets of what looked like miniature garlic knots. In the interest of our readers, we bought a couple of them for 2 cents each and discovered that they taste like a little, crunchy, not-so-sweet donut. Not terrible, but not worth the stomach space.
Because Mozambique speaks Portugese, it apparently has great trade relations with Brazil. We were happy to see many products that we first learned to love in Brazil or knockoffs of Brazilian products. We found cheap peach nectar which was at leat 50% sugar, not like the pure juice garbage that they have in some countries. Amazing. I drank many liters. (A liter is like a quart for those who are metric-challenged. A liter is the same as a litre for those who are British or dyslexic.)
We mentioned the South African love of green cream soda in an earlier post, and that carries over to the yogurts of Mozambique. Tara decided to try the cream soda yogurt, but she later regretted that decision. Slimer from Ghostbusters apparently went into business making this stuff.
Lots of our favorite Brazilian cookies for cheap. Hooray! The bottom one--banana and cinammon--are some of my favorite cookies. We carried no less than eight rolls out of the country with us.
Back to rice and bean country! I have no idea why the beans always taste so good, and I'm fairly sure it is best that I stay in the dark.
Mozambique has very cheap cashews everywhere. Huge bags of them for a couple of dollars. Well, I love cashews, though I have a bad skin reaction to them (they have the same chemical that causes poison ivy reactions). Without even considering my allergy, I bought a bag and started eating. Three days later, my face looked like was coming down with leprosy with my skin flaky and splitting. Oh, well, at least I had some good cashews.
The local soda brand of Mozambique is Fizz. Very good. It comes in Lemon (or maybe it is lime--the word is the same), tangerine, raspberry, and pinacolada (coco-pine).
One morning in Tofo, I was exploring while Tara was off learning how to do crazy yoga poses. I found the local bakery and bought a jelly donut. It was only a mediocre jelly donut, but it sure looks good with the lovely background.
More yogurt. Didn't try it and don't know what Tara thought aboutit. Probably just okay.One of the specialties of Mozambique is called matapa, which is some greens stewed in coconut milk. A surefire way to get your kids to eat their greens. At the market in Vilankulo, we found a yogurt seller. He cut open this plastic bag of white goo and poured it into the mug for Tara. After one drink, she ran for the sugar that he had sitting there, which is something that she very rarely adds. She adapted to it, but took a pass on more the next day. On our snorkelling trip, they served a stewed squid and crab (no fears--they made me a chicken). Tara says it is probably the best squid that she has ever had and she still tells me regularly that she is thinking about it.
A return to the land of frozen juice bag popsicles! I first saw some little kids coming from school with these and ran up to them and tried in my best Portugese to ask where I could get one. They looked scared and had no idea what I was saying, so Tara made me leave them alone. Following the stream of kids coming from school, we were then able to locate the source outside the school.
The last time we were someplace that sold a bag of fries (aka chips) with a piece of fried chicken in the bag was probably South America. They had them in Mozambique, though.
We made dinner one night in Chimoio, and then we ate it in our awesome camper.
The local grocery store had a sale table where they put out things that are almost expired and on super discount. We couldn't pass up the Frosted flakes that were expiring in a week. Really, we just wanted to educate our readers that Frosted Flakes are called Frosties in most of the world. We speculate that it is because "flake" is a hard word to say for many people who speak other languages, but we don't really know why. They are still Grrrreat!
In all of Africa, it is common for people to run up to the buses selling food at rest stops, toll boths, police roadblocks, etc. In Malawi, the people seem to have a specialty at each stop. Sometimes, a hundred people run to the bus selling bread when all you want is fries. You wonder why someone doesn't try to sell something else there. Well, at this stop, the bus was swarmed by people selling carrots. Seemed very strange. Yet, many people on the bus uncomplainingly bought carrots and started eating them.
Tara with some more yogurt. I'm sick of putting in pictures of Tara's yogurt, so I'm sure you're sick of seeing them.
Once again, we found baobab juice. Called Malambe in Malawi and Zambia, but much less sweet than in West Africa and generally not as good. Tara paid about 50 cents for 25 tea bags, paying extra because they are "export quality". Based on this purchase, we suggest avoiding Malawian tea at your local store.
But then we found the problem. In Malawi, they make tea by mixing six parts sugar, three parts milk, and one part tea. Prepared in this way, it is good and quite similar to how I make tea at home.
At breakfast time, guys wander around the bus station with buckets of sausage. It's like a secret since you have no idea what they are carrying unless you live there or you ask. In my case, I walked up and asked if he was carrying some kind of food that I should know about. While waiting about six hours for this stupid minibus to leave, our choices were limited. I found some fries and a drink called "Milky Tropical Juice". Thinking it was a dairy product, I was excited to try it. However, it had no dairy. But it was frozen, which made it like a slushy, which I love. In Zambia, they have so many hippos that they have started a community program with the government to kill a limited number for food. They sell some of it to tourists at crazy prices which allows them to sell the rest really cheap to locals so that they don't go shooting endangered animals. We tried the biltong (like jerky) and it was very good. A lot like beef. Yum, hippo!
On lake Malawi, we tried many foods on the street that all seemed to turn out to be rice or rice stuffed into dough. This one turned out to be pure rice with a layer of palm oil on the outside. Not terrible if you are in the mood for rice.
Malawi is a big peanut butter country. Since about half my diet consists of peanut butter, this was really good for our budget and my happiness. Malawi and Zambia have Sobo as a local drink. We were talking to kids in Zambia about life in America and the most distressing part of the entire conversation for them was when they found out that we don't have Sobo in America. Tara holds a coco-pine and a berry flavor. They aren't bad and come in fun flavors. Fanta competes by adding fun flavors that don't seem to exist elsewhere. These are Exotic and Passionfruit Fanta. We give both high marks. They should distribute them in the US. Write your local congressman or Coke executive.
Nsima is the local pounded starch goo. This happens to be made of maize, but they often make it of cassava as well. We like it, but many tourists hate it, so it makes the locals very happy to see us eating it. And you pick up a piece with your hands and then dip it in the stew and eat it. No utensils.
This is Richard. He came over and told us how excited he was that we were eating Nsima. When he found out that we take pictures for our blog, he suggested that we should get one of him eating his whole fish. Here you go, Richard!
That concludes foods of Mozambique, Zambia, and Malawi. Let me know if you have enjoyed it. Send any complaints to Tara.


  1. Yay food post! But you glossed over one intriguing thing: in the photo of Tara with the lemon (or lime) Fizz, what's with all the single sneakers? Mozambique doesn't like to buy shoes in pairs?

  2. Thank you for all the Tara pictures (and of course, Andy,too). It does my heart well to see how healthy both of you look.

  3. helloooo to my favorite bloggers!! i've been remiss in keeping up with all your food posts, but this one makes me want to catch up on them all now! everything looks DEE-LISH in your photos, and i continue to be thrilled about all your yummy eats! :) ping me when you're in philly!