October 19, 2005

Bouffe Locale / Local Food

Guineans eat rice (local rice which to me looks very ordinary), if possible, 3 times per day. They have it with a variety of sauces which include :

Les Guinéens mangent, si possible 3 fois par jour, du riz local, qui me semble très ordinaire. Ils le mangent avec diverses sauces, dont :

Fish (with tomato sauce and veggies) - my favorite ;
Poisson (avec sauce tomate et legume) - mon choix personnel ;

  • Yassa (onions, lemon and pepper sauce) and grilled chicken - the chicken is dreadful - barely any meat onthere, which is too bad because the sauce is otherwise quite good ;
  • Yassa (sauce aux oignons, aux citrons et au poivre) et poulet grille - soit-dit en passant, le poulet est affreux, maigre a faire peur, ce qui dommage cas la sauce est autrement tres bonne ;
  • Leaf sauce (green and goowy - kinda scary and not very good) ;
  • Sauce feuille (verte et gluante - un peu effrayante et pas terrible) ;

  • Okra sauce (also green and goowy with string like bits) ;
  • Sauce Gombo (aussi verte et gluante avec une tendance filandreuse).
  • Meat sauce (with suspicious unidentified bits of food) ;
  • Sauce viande (avec morceaux de nourriture suspects) ;
  • Peanut sauce (the smell is quite strong).
  • Sauce arachide (l'odeur est tres forte).

When rice is unavailable - because it's very costly, they have back up solutions :

Quand le riz n'est pas disponible, parce que trop dispendieux, il y a d'autres solutions :


Cassava (Manioc)

  • attieke (cassava semolina) - which they have in abundance, in Forested Guinea particularly. It's frowned upon like the poor's food, but nevertheless it is a common find in Conakry. Attieke is quite appreciated in Burkina, Ivory Coast and some parts of Ghana.
  • l'attieke (semoule de manioc) est abondante en Guinee, surtout en Guinee Forestiere. Elle est meprisee et consideree comme la nourriture du pauvre, mais on peut en trouver facilement a Conakry. L'attieke est tres appreciee au Burkina et en Cote d'Ivoire, et dans certaines regions du Ghana.
  • toh (plantain dough or millet dough) is as well common, but not as popular as rice. To is the main dish in Burkina Faso.
  • le toh (pate de bananes plantain ou de mil) est aussi commun, mais pas aussi populaire que le riz. Le to est le plat principal du Burkina Faso.

Nevertheless, it's possible to find pizza, pasta, french and chinese cuisine in Conakry at a reasonable, if not ridiculously low price (for North-American standards). Of course, the quality will range from awful to awesome - actually, bad chinese and bad pizza have been redefined in Conakry. It's also common to find burgers and shawarmas (lebanese sandwiches with beef and hummus in a pita).

Tout de meme, il est possible de trouver de la pizza, des pates, et de la cuisine francaise ou chinoise a Conakry pour un prix raisonnable ou meme ridiculement peu eleve (pour les standards Nord-Americains). Bien sur, la qualite varie de merveilleuse a horrible - en fait, le mauvais chinois et la mauvaise pizza on ete re-inventes a Conakry. Il est aussi facile de trouver des burgers et des shawarmas (sandwiches libanais avec du boeuf et du homos dans un pita).

When not eating local or at a restaurant, it's possible to shop at a regular grocery store (held by Lebanese or Indian businessmen) and to find blue cheese and other luxury items - I've already had blue cheese twice here in Conakry, it's kind of a comfort food for me. For the more adventurous, it's also possible to go haggle over veggies and meat at the local market, and bread can be bought at the side of the street.

Quand on ne mange pas local ou dans un restaurant, il est possible de s'approvisionner dans un magasin d'alimentation local (tenu par des hommes d'affaires libanais ou indiens) et d'y trouver du fromage bleu et autres marchandises de luxe - depuis mon arrivee, je me suis deja paye deux lunchs au fromage bleu, c'est une nourriture reconfortante pour moi. Pour les plus aventureux, il est aussi possible d'aller marchander des fruits et de la viande au marche local, et on peut acheter du pain dans la rue.

I want to conclude on the fact that Conakry is a sea-side city and has great grilled fish. With grilled alhoko, it's just great !

Je conclus avec ceci : comme Conakry est une ville maritime, on y trouve de l'excellent poisson grille. Avec de l'alhoko frite, c'est genial !

The Beaver

Merci, Pat et Sophie sur la Rive-Sud pour la tite pinouche !

My guest map is wonderful ! And you'd all be wonderful to post, all of you lurk mode readers!
Thanks and may the winds of Fate blow your way !


Xolo said...

Wow! I love West African food (truth be told, I love most food). I actually like the sauces on Cassava, Manioc, and Plantains much more than I do on rice. That probably just shows my plebian roots...

I have not had a chance to comment, but I have enjoyed reading about your work and observations.

Take care and keep on sharing your experiences...

Anonymous said...

Wow, petite chanceuse! Des vrais Shawarma Africains Libanais... mon dieux que je m'ennuie de mes Shawarma... profites en à ma place ;-)


Salt Water said...

You crack me up with your "Kinda Scary" reference to the Leaf Sauce. I take it green is not your favorite food color. I on the other hand, cannot think of a single green food I do not like. Yet, I'm not easy. I would never ever ever eat a pickled beat and Cucumbers are only for sandwiches. Thanks for the update. The wife and I like stuff of Basmati rice. Do not go to any trouble, but if you should happen to hear how the Leaf sauce is made or composed, we would like to try and copy it here. Thanks Beav!

Qalamana said...

Hi Beaver!
Guinean food reminds me of Senegalese food; I used to love yassa souce and manioc... by the way, a few months ago they opened a Senegalese restaurant near my house!!!

Liquidplastic said...

I am hurgry right now! Send me some food. --- Blog looking better Beaver.

I am still working hard on my book -- and I read your blog to keep up with what you are doing.

As for pickled beets .. I used to love them when I can them, but from the grocery store they are really nasty because of all the added perservatives! I love gumbo, but I am indeed a fan of my own cooking because I find it safer.

Take care ...