The following is a guest post from Off The Beaten Path – A great resource for unconventional Travel Destinations (right up my street for sure) – Here is a taster of what they have to offer. The one downside is that each update will probably make most of us sick that we are sitting in a cubicle and not out experiencing these things for ourselves! At least it is inspiration for the next holiday - If you like this post, you can follow the link at the bottom to sign up for their newsletter.
Most countries have a national cuisine or dish that visitors are told they must try. It is often the highlight of a trip. From escargot in Paris to freshly made naan in India, I have loved trying new dishes while traveling. It is easy to use a guidebooks to find restaurants that serve excellent examples of a country’s most famous dishes. However, sometimes you just don’t love what a country has to offer or maybe you eat so much of it you make yourself sick. I had this experience while studying abroad in Tanzania.
Although eating with locals definitely improved my minimal Swahili the choices were very limited. The national dish is ugali and is a very white, beyond bland, spongy starch made of maize. It is a good way to get calories and is filling, but has absolutely no flavor. It is usually used to scoop up stews with your hands. Unfortunately, even with a great stew I found I really preferred rice.
So here I was in Mto Wa Mbu, Tanzania and pretty much all there is to eat is ugali and barbecued goat, which has great flavor, but is incredibly stringy. So it was a delight to discover Blue Turaco. It had just opened when we arrived in Mto Wa Mbu and the chef was an incredibly nice older Tanzanian. This is not a typical restaurant for Mto Wa Mbu, instead it serves napoli style pizza. And a really good one at that. Now my taste buds may have lowered their expectations a little bit after only eating rice and beans and a kale like green vegetable, but Blue Turaco makes a pretty amazing pizza. It was an incredibly unique find, and one that was not replicated for the rest of my 10 weeks in Tanzania and Kenya. This was not a restaurant run by ex-pats, but natives and my favorite pizza used “Arusha” cheese from a nearby larger city. With a cold Kili beer it makes for a great evening off the beaten path.
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