One of the most common questions about Cameroon is about food. Cameroon has an abundance of fruits and vegetables, mostly grown on small borrowed plots of land by the women of the family. Most of the staple foods are bitter, and you can add spicy “pepé” sauce if you like. Even Cameroonian children prefer bitter treats rather than sweet…and that’s a good thing because they have plenty of bitter foods.
There were some Cameroonian dishes I liked:
- Poulet DG (fried plantains with chicken)
- rice and beans (an international classic)
- rice with peanut sauce and a chunk of beef (mmmm)
- fish (yes…whole fish)
- coki (how do i describe this…a thick spicy potato-ey substance)
and there were some that I tended to avoid ( I don’t really like strong-tasting veggies)
- Ndolé (bitter herbs)
- Okra soup (slimy is the first word that comes to mind.)
Those of you that know me (Matthew) know that I will eat food I don’t like just to avoid cooking. I’m going to show you some of the spots where I would wander to in search of grub.
This was one of my favorite spots to grab lunch. This 8-foot-square cinder-block construction is a wood-fired grill. Multiple vendors would stand around the grill selling their wares.
- The man in orange here sold the “red” chickens (grill left). These were a great one-stop option for feeding several people, and were significantly (but well) spiced.
- Grilled plantains (grill front) were the “potato” of the meal, and while I prefer my plantains fried, these were a step up from the boiled plantains.
- On the paper behind what looks like soy sauce, those strips are the “filet”. While I’m not sure what part of the cow filet normally comes from, nor where these bits come from, each strip cost 500 CFA (about a dollar). We could go to another store (off-screen to the right) and grab a half baguette, returning it to the grill to be filled with yummy beef, grilled onions, and spices. A hot steak sub! That’s why I called this Quizno’s. After making a food purchase, we would turn around and go into the “snack bar”. Here, we could order a drink to go with the sandwich. The tall drink I have is TOP (pronounced “tope”) Pineapple, a yummy carbonated fruit soda. Below is a photo of lunch with one of my Dutch colleagues, Margot.
Another tasty option was a spaghetti-omelette sandwich. What better way to get a couple thousand calories than by combining eggs, spaghetti, soy sauce (Maggi), and veggies together on a sandwich? Below is the man that makes this tasty concoction, but I sadly don’t have a photo of the meal. The bread is at the far right.
I lost a lot of my photos from the final months in Cameroon when my hard drive crashed, so I don’t have a photo of my favorite chicken restaurant. For 1,500 CFA ($4) I could get a quarter chicken, fried plantains or fries, and a soda. The pink building that housed this restaurant was very close to the office. There were others that offered the same type of food, but it was a favorite until it closed.