Trying new food in an unfamiliar culture is one of my favorite parts about traveling. Upon arrival in Swaziland, I wanted to learn more about the local culture and was told to visit the Mantega Cultural Village. It was there I had the opportunity to taste a wide variety of food; everything from staple dishes to local delicacies.
As in most parts of the world, there are some dishes I loved and others that didn’t quite fit my palette. Although a bit nervous at first, I was surprised at how well the food tasted. From cow intestines to maize, I tried many of the staple foods and traditional dishes that are in the heart and soul of this culture. You may find yourself surprised by my reaction to many of the selections. My least favorite dish was the soft porridge (en masse): My only comparison is sour chunky milk. Overall, I absolutely loved the food in this region. A one-pound filet of steak costs the equivalent of $5 US Dollars, was grass fed, and tasted better than any steak I’ve had at a high end restaurant.
Westernized food was hard to come by outside of visiting the local KFC. The US Embassy hosted an event where I had the chance to have a hamburger with fries, buffalo wings, quesadilla, and a cold Budweiser. All shipped in from the States. I will admit, once I returned home after my 6 month trip, my first stop was eating at a local Mexican restaurant in Atlanta. Good Mexican food is hard to come by in most parts of Africa.
A lot of people ask me if I got sick while living in Swaziland. Ironically, the only time I became ill during the 6 month journey halfway around the world was when I returned home and re-introduced processed food back into my diet.
If you find yourself in Africa, you won’t be dissapointed by the number of unique dishes avaiable. Here, even the most sophisticated palatte will be in pure bliss.