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Ode to Africa Bite

January 6, 2009

No, this is not a restaurant whose name is also an imperative sentence. “Bite” is Kinyarwanda for, loosely, “What’s up?” And Africa Bite is my favorite lunch joint in Kimihurura the neighborhood where I stay. You can slop as much food as you can carry, on a giant, thick clay plate, and get a Fanta for 3000 francs, or about $5. The good deal used to be great—it was 2500 francs (but the exchange rate was worse, so it wasn’t all that far off today’s USD price), and you got a little fruit salad at the end.

Nothing on that buffet can be approximated anywhere else in the world–not the little Rwandan eggplants, which are the color of jade and the size of a plumb and have a bitter edge; not the ‘peanut sauce,’ a lavender-colored stew made of ground nuts (that for some reason is out of this world if you drench a chapatti in it, but is totally unlike the ground nut stew I loved in Sierra Leone); not the igitoki, the savory warm bananas served from a huge clay pot. And definitely not the beans, which are something of a Rwandan specialty.

Take that, Betty Crocker.

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