What better than to hear the word ”food” when you’re hungry and you want to try something new and different? Nothing. Alright, I know there are better words than that but not right now with what you’re about to discover.
Every country offers a variety of exotic food to try and usually there’s one or two (sometimes more) that you end up falling in love with. In Egypt, I can tell you about my love story with almost every dish. Molokheya, Bamia, Koshary, Taameya to name a few.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo there’s something for everyone. Meat lovers, pescetarians and vegetarians too. I have put together for you the types of food you must try (other than the pundu and fumbwa) when you’re here, if you want to get that true feeling of eating locally.
Binzo are caterpillars. I know you probably fainted at the thought of having caterpillars down your throat. I can relate because had someone suggested that to me before I try them, I would have probably murdered them. However, it’s not the case. Far from what you think, binzo are so delicious. I remember my mom made me try them once when I was about 6 years old and I forgot about it until I came back here and tried them again fifteen years later and it reminded me that there are so many weird things that one must try. They’re easy to cook or you can eat them at a malewa. They’re crunchy and you can have them as a snack with a perfect cold beer or soft drink of your choice!
2. Smoked Shrimp
Shrimps are easy to find almost everywhere, especialy in countries where seas occupy most of the lands. In Egypt, the best place to have that great sea food experience is Alexandria. You smell the sea, the minute you’re there. Here in Kinshasa, shrimps are found in supermarkets and cold rooms, whereas smoked shrimps are found in local markets. And most of the times, they’re displayed in plastic bassins so you can never miss them. You can have them for lunch with rice, french fries, potato salad or whatever dish you want. And like the binzo, they would perfectly go well for a snack!
3. Grilled Chicken
Yes, I know what you’re thinking. You’ve already seen that in every restaurant’s menu you’ve been to. But grilled chicken is widely eaten here and cooked differently. Especially in Bandal. They spice up the chicken so well, grill it then eaten with mayonnaise and a great chikwang from Bateke. (I might be the worst person to tell you about chicken, but trust a vegetarian).
4. Fried Manioc
For those who don’t know what Manioc is. It is usually found in central Africa. They’re a great subtitute for potatoes and you can either fry or boil them. They are easy to find in local markets and supermarkets an they’re not expensive at all. In malewa (street food), you find fried manioc and they start at 100 FC and up. For 500 FC (less than a dollar) you can have a great quantity. If you prefer to eat it the healthy way, you could eat them boiled.
Plantin is also a type of vegetable found in Africa and in the Philippines. They’re not ordinary fruit banana that we know so you cannot eat them raw, you have to cook them and you can choose whichever method you wish. They’re like the sweet version of Manioc because you can either have them boiled, fried or grilled. And there are plantin ships sweet or salty. Personally, Plantin is one of my favorite food. They’re delicious and easy to cook. They also go along with almost anything! Plantin/Makayabu or Plantin/ Pundu are among many great combinations.
Salted Fish! If you love fish, you might have a shot at this. Makayabu are basically salted fish that you dissolve in water for several hours or overnight to get rid of all the salt, then you cook it. It usually goes really well with some chikwang and Fumbwa (personally it’s what I think). Some people choose to have it as a snack while drinking a beer and listenning to some good music. Yummy!