The others have decided to go to the Engo (our local outdoor pub) tonight for chipsi mayai, but I’m still recovering from the flu (thankfully it didn’t turn out to be malaria) so I’m staying in my hut to write about it instead.
Chipsi mayai, literally chips and egg in Kiswahili, is probably the most popular food here in Tanzania, and the Engo apparently makes the best ones between here and Dar es Salaam.. that’s going by the word of a friend who has travelled between the two cities many times, and probably as a result tried far too many chipsi mayais. Anyway, it’s basically a chip omelette (with no cheese.. cheese is ridiculously expensive here, so its a rare luxury) - the Engo puts vegies in it though. It really is good, but every time I walk past the Engo kitchen I try not to look inside (you can probably tell by the broken plastic plate in the pic what their standards would be like).. unfortunately though, the kitchen is right next to the entry and is almost completely open on two sides so it’s a bit hard to avoid. I just try and ignore it, and remember that the open flame used to fry the food probably is enough to kill any bacteria or bugs. I haven’t been sick so far, and at only 1200 tsh (about $1.40 Australian), I’ll be going back for more.
Apart from chipsi mayai, I’ve been lucky to have lots of African lunches cooked by Aggie, our local cook. Deliciously simple but very heavy dishes like banana curry, ugali (a maize dish, similar consistency to thick mashed potato), beans and rice, and chapatti (soft flat bread), and other local dishes I don’t know the names of. It’s really great traditional food, the only problem is all the sunflower oil used in everything.. I feel like I’m putting on weight already. The local women don’t understand that mzungus like to be thin, so they started complimenting a couple of volunteers by saying, “ooh, Africa loves you! You look so fat!” No one has said that to me yet, but give me another couple of weeks of this food.. Anyway, better go, I have lunch leftovers waiting for me.