Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Food in Sierra Leone

While food variety is fairly limited, we can get some very good foods.  Delicious butter from Belgium, Holland, and Denmark.  Oats (both regular and Scottish) and UHT box milk from Germany.  I've used that milk with a yogurt start that I brought to make really good yogurt!  Frozen vegetables from Belgium.  Great gherkins from Turkey.  Canned and bottled goods from the U.K. Chicken from Brasil.  Chicken frankfurters and some other items from Lebanon.  Beans and flour from the U.S.  Pasta from Italy.  Rice is from the U.S. and Asian countries.  Laughing Cow (La Vache qui rit) cheese.  Bread, eggs, mangos, bananas, garlic, onions, potatoes are local.  We have papaya, coconut, plantains in the yard and we may get a pineapple before our 23 months is up.  They are pretty small right now.  Local beef and Groundnut Paste (peanut butter) are available in Freetown.  I made a Sierra Leonean version of stroganoff that was pretty good.  Only thing is, Freetown is 4 hours away.  Next trip there we will get a cooler and bring things back that are not available here in Bo.

The local market has lots of "things" available.  If you can't find it, just ask and someone will appear with it.  Then the bargaining starts.  We are quite good at walking away... we know what the prices should be for the few things that we need to get at the market.  If they don't come down, we don't need it!

There are 3 "mini-marts" in Bo that sell things fixed price.  Bo mini-mart and Albertsin's have a very limited selection, but Sabbagh's is the store where we do most of our shopping.  They are Lebanese (as many of the store owners seem to be), have the best variety of foods and other things.  They sell propane, mosquito nets, Islamic foods, all the foods listed above (except for the beef).  They even had Argentine apples the other day.  The most interesting thing on the shelf is an inflatable life raft... I'm not sure where you would use that, although there is a river between Bo and Kenema.  I'd hate to puncture it and sink in that water though!

So, cooking is a bit of a challenge.  I haven't yet had the courage to try the oven... there is no oven thermometer, it's all a guess!  And, cooking really heats up the kitchen so I think I will wait til the rainy season when it's a bit cooler.  We are eating well, more carbs than at home, but we work it off!!

The missionaries tell us there is a new restaurant run by an American couple for another faith's ministry here.  They say it is "real American food", mashed potatoes even... the Americano... they get real excited about it!  When we get a free moment we will have to try it.  Sab's, run by the Sabbagh store owner, is a restaurant that is also okay to eat at... haven't tried it yet.  We hear that they have chicken and rice and more traditional Lebanese food.

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