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Food in Uganda -

Food in Uganda

Food options in Mbarara are reduced to chicken or fish, they say it’s tilapia but it doesn’t taste like tilapia. Or at least not like the South American tilapia, the only I had before I came here. They catch it in local lakes, including Lake Victoria, and that might explain the difference in taste.

Chickens here are extremely skinny, so skinny that stews look more like bone stews and when fried you get more flour than actual meat. But they are tasty. As far as I could see, fish or meat are luxuries than not everyone can afford. We always pay a premium for chicken or fish so most locals eat rice, potatoes, matóke, chapatti and avocato. Avocatos are abundant and grow everywhere, almost like a weed they say, which is great since it’s such a caloric fruit.

It’s hard to find anything other than fried chicken, fried fish, chicken stew, or fish stew. The goat meat barbeque was an exception but goat is a more expensive meat. Well, we always have the option of going to the upscale hotels and eat western-like food.

But the local food is the real experience. One of the most popular dishes is Matóke, mashed green bananas fried in a sort of thick patty shape. The matóke can also be served in the regular banana shape, in that case they just fry or grill the banana. The matóke is not very tasteful but with some sauce it’s a great side. We had it with a tomato and onion salad or with stew and it’s great. Matóke is so popular because bananas are abundant here. So abundant that they pick them either green for the matóke or ripe for desserts. Everyday we can see several trucks fully loaded with bananas, I still didn’t have the chance to shoot one but as soon as I do it I’ll post the picture.

Uganda Food Matoke and Chapatti

Matóke on the left, Chapatti on the right

A couple of days ago, at the university canteen, we had Biñeuá. I don’t know how to spell it but it’s how it sounds in Runyankore, the most popular language in Mbarara. Biñeuá is a stew made with a sort of local aubergine. It’s the perfect partner for matóke and they eat it as a sauce since it’s so rich.

Another popular side is chapatti, a corn-made sort of tortilla or crepe, thicker than Mexican tortillas and also tastier. They dip it in the stew or Biñeuá and it makes a great side.

Hopefully there’s more to come about local food. I’ll keep looking for something other than chicken and fish.

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