Results tagged “soumbala”

And the nominations are ...

burkina faso
Smetreburkinabe.JPGTen minutes into Burkina Faso, and we knew it was going to be a dead cert for that most coveted of awards: Most Friendly Border Guards Anywhere Ever. The Malians will be disappointed, I know, after a very strong showing indeed, but the Burkinab├ęs trumped them from their very first "Bienvenue!". This is the way to welcome new arrivals to your country -- friendly, enthusiastic, helpful, interested and generally very correct. UK Customs and Immigration could certainly stand to learn a thing or two ...

Smsoumbalapounding.JPGAnd now that we've spent a (too too short) while here, that's not the only award it's been nominated for. It's up for the hotly contested Chef Most Generous With His Time prize, is the bookie's favourite for Most Surprising Yoghurt-Offal Combination, has several entries in the extremely competitive Tastiest Street Food category, and is way out in the lead in the (admittedly less competitive) Most Impressive Cross-Town Inter-Generational Search For An Obscure 70s Funk Album.

Let's open those envelopes, and find out just what they won ...

My mate marmite

Smbaobabroad.jpgOur experiences crossing from Mauritania to Senegal had left us slightly wary of border officials, but that definitely changed when we crossed into Mali.  On the Senegalese side, the police and customs were cheery, chatty and helpful (if quite hard to actually find).  On the Malian side, they just invited us in for lunch.

A few kilometres of dusty plains covered with enormous baobab trees, and we found ourselves sitting outside a customs hut with three friendly douaniers, sharing their thiou and their thiep - a delicious meaty stew, and a tasty rice dish studded with vegetables, garlicky chilli paste and savoury hibiscus-leaf sauce.  If all of Mali was like this, we thought, we'd probably get on OK.

Smdouaniersthiep.jpgAnd as it turned out, a great deal of it was.  We spent a lot of time in Mali sharing food with people: cooking it with them in big bubbling marmites on charcoal fires; and then eating together, with everyone gathered round one big pot using their fingers.  This is partly because we're greedy, of course; but also because people here are so sociable.  And because Tabaski was coming, and the rams were getting fat ...


Culinary Anthropologist