Local foods: are worth trying. A word of warning be prepared to eat a bit more than “just a little spice” – Gambians like their food hot! The food is a melting pot for all the nations and tribes from the sub-regions who live in harmony and enjoy sharing food from all cultures. If you interact with local people don‘t be surprised to be invited to a compound to share a meal as the Gambian culture is very friendly and hospitable. Food is always shared; normally a group will eat from one bowl. As a guest you will be offered a spoon and sometimes your own plate! It is said you will not argue with someone you share a bowl of food with! Fish plays a major part in Gambian cuisine due to the variety of fish available in both river and sea. Oysters fresh from the creeks make a quick and easy stew, Ebeh is made from an amazing array of ingredients including smoked fish, crabs, oysters and fish eggs amongst other things. Benachin meaning “one pot” is the equivalent of an Italian risotto or a Spanish paella. The beach bars are the best place to find many of the local tasty dishes. Some are better than others so choose wisely. Some bars don’t have electricity or running water, so keep this in mind when ordering food!
Nefertiti Beach Bar, Banjul offers a great location with a fresh menu local food and snacks daily and Kotu Point Beach Bar, Kotu offers a B-B-Q every Saturday lunch time, join in the fun, come Jamming with Lamin and try your hand at drumming!
Local Drinks: The most popular are Wonjo and Baobab. Wonjo juice is made from the dried red flowers of the Sorrel, which are boiled with sugar to make a refreshing, sweet drink full of Vitamin C. Baobab juice is made from the fruit of the Baobab tree. The fruit is soaked in water, sieved and the seeds extracted. The pulp is then mixed with a little sugar to make the base juice. Other ingredients can be added according to taste; the most popular are milk and coconut, but it is also tasty with mango, papaya or banana – making a thick natural smoothie. Both Wonjo and Baobab are very nutritious, healthy and with a unique flavour. They also make a wonderful cocktail when mixed together.
Great African Secret: Locally people use these drinks as regular source of nutrition; in Europe it had been forgotten. During World War 2 it was given to soldiers in bread to prevent scurvy. Recently rediscovered it is being branded as a super food of the future. It has been clinically proven that it is a pro-biotic with 10 times more vitamin C than an orange and 5 times more calcium than a glass of milk as well as containing antioxidants and Omega 3-6-9.
If you would like to try your hand or learn more about Gambian and West African Cuisine the Taste of The Gambia Cook Book is a simple and easy Guide, available for sale for D250 at all hotel shops and supermarkets or call 4460280