Ugandans rely heavily on starchy carbs – and I love it. Being vegetarian I was initially afraid of what was I going to eat but I am actually really content with the food here. Okay, I miss cheese. I miss it so much it hurts. But my love affair with carbs is strong and I get plenty of it here. I just simply tell them I am unable to digest meat and chicken (chicken is not meat according to Ugandans…) and voila! I am served with mountain on my plate (portion sizes are beyond my words) consisting of rice, matoke, greens, g-nut sauce, cabbage and more!
The staple Ugandan mid-day meal involves “everything” with a sauce of some kind. The “everything” is really just a concoction of different kinds of carbs from posho (maize flour) rice and matoke (cooked mashed plantains) to millet, cassava and potato. The potatoes vary – from Irish (white) to the sweet ones and purple yams. The meal comes with g-nut sauce (considered Ugandan national) which is made of ground nuts (peanuts) and either cabbage or greens (whatever greens grow nearby the house). In the village majority of these ingredients are from the garden outside the house. Talk organic! Everything here is free range, organic and unpasteurized (hence my inability to take fresh milk here).
The best thing of Uganda though are avocados… they are big, cheap and beyond tasty. I also consume copious amounts of bananas and tomatoes – both rich in taste and different to the imports in Europe. This side of the country it can be tricky to find more fruit and some are certainly not heard of at all (I asked someone about kiwi and they looked at me like am from Mars) however pineapples and mangos and jackfruit (on the picture below) can be found in bigger villages or in the city.
For a snack you have an option of fried: chapatti, samosa (different to Indian though, much blander) or sweet doughnut. In the city you also get Rolex – cheaper and edible than the Swiss version – chapatti with egg and veg omelet inside. Yum!
Ugandans drink chai (sweet milky tea) and majority have never tasted coffee even though it’s they main export abroad. They also drink lots of soda but only the full fat one. No one has heard of diet coke – even in Mbale which is 5th biggest city in Uganda. Beer (local and bottled) can be found almost everywhere but forget about good wine.
Caution: if you like spicy food or very rich aromatic food Uganda might disappoint. Usually the only spice used is salt or all-in-one type. I don’t mind it as it’s better for my stomach but I know muzungus who complain about it a lot.
So even though this is typical food I consume during the week in the village I do indulge in strong black coffee, pizza (albeit with crappy cheddar cheese) and freshly baked chocolate chip cookies during the weekend since I am staying in town. And in town you can get most of things (except cheese… did I mention it already?).