Food and Drink in Namibia
on Susan Somers (Namibia), 23/Feb/2010 13:56, 34 days ago
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Food and drink here in Namibia, perhaps southern Africa in general, isn’t terribly exotic. It’s not like traveling in South America or Asia, where the food is an experience in itself. There isn’t really such a thing as Namibia food. I can get most of the foods I’m used to in Ireland in the city supermarkets – even if there is far less variety. The restaurantsare mainly fast food or European (Italian and Steak Houses being particularly popular) with a few Indians thrown in! In fact I’m not sure if there is such a thing as a Namibian or traditional African restaurant in Windhoek!Meat is the staple of the Namibians diet. Boy, do they love their meat! A Namibian meal, especially a braai (which is basically a barbeque) often consists solely of different types of meat. Some Namibians (especially those with European influences) might also include something along the lines of bread, some veg or salad, but otherwise its just meat! They might have lamb/mutton chops, pieces of beef steak, boreworst (kind of long fat sausages made from different types of meat) and even some game meat (orynx, zebra, springbok etc.)Claiming to be a vegetarian would probably lead to being viewed with some suspicion (and then you’d be offered some chicken or fish!) However the meat here is good and cheap. It is easy to find steak in a restaurant (a massive slab of beef - cooked to your tastes) for under E10. They are also big fans of biltong (strips of raw dried meat, often flavoured with chillie) and I’ve seen a woman in a taxi munching on a packet of cold hot dogs/frankfurters.The other staple food, especially for the poor, is pap– a white, rather tasteless porridge made from ground maize meal and mahangu. It is served with all kinds of meats and stews and is usually eaten by taking some and molding it into a ball with your fingers and then dripping it in what every sauce or gravy is available.They also have a sweet tooth but not so much for snacks (since they prefer meat!) but in drinks! Most Namibians I’ve met put between 5 and 7 spoons of sugar in a cup of tea or coffee! The also put coke in their red wine!With regards to alcohol, beer is probably the most popular drink,‘Windhoek’ and ‘Tafel’ being the most readily available. You can get foreign beers (Carlsberg, Bud etc. if you a willing to pay a bit more!) A bottle of beer ranges in cost from 50c in the supermarket to E1.20 in a nightclub. Wine is fairly popular – almost always imported from South Africa (you can buy it in 5 litre boxes - for about E5) There are of course local liquors, some illegal (available in poorer areas in the small shack-like pubs called Sheebeens) and mostly pretty lethal!That's not to say that I haven't had some delicious meals here - I just don't think I'll be developing an african cooking style (even if I had one)