Sunday, 22 July 2012

Cape Town Food Report

Food has always been a big deal to me. My father claims that I am “The Perfect Eating Machine” because I have a habit of consuming quantities of food that some may say is socially unacceptable. One of the main reasons why I love to travel is it gives me an excuse to unleash my inner monster and try lots of new foods. My dining experience in Cape Town has not let me down, as I have tried several succulent dishes over the past seven weeks. The purpose of this entry is to highlight a few of my favorite places and meals, so I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I have enjoyed savoring all of the wonderful cuisine that Cape Town has to offer its residents and visitors.
Me in my natural habitat.
The ten of us discovered the Eastern Food Bazaar after a trip to Parliament at the beginning of our trip. When I first walked into the block long Middle Eastern and Asian food court, two things came to mind. One, all of the food was extremely cheap (and even for South Africa, where food is very inexpensive compared to the United States). And two, I was dubious about the quality of the food because it seemed like any other old food court. Boy, was I wrong. The chicken tikka masala and garlic naan I ordered was easily the best I have ever tasted (and yes, better than Tamber's, The Ambassador, and Akbar, for you skeptical Baltimoreans). In addition to the incredible food, I still couldn't get over the fact that I only spent 39 rand (just under five dollars) for such an enormous portion of food. Besides a couple others and me, our group had lots of take-a-way boxes for another meal later on that evening. Christina and I agree that after our experience at the Bazaar, we are now able to die happy.

A glimpse of the Eastern Food Bazaar in downtown Cape Town.
On the Fourth of July, Lisa surprised our group by taking us out for an all-American meal in Cape Town's City Bowl. We went to the Royale Eatery, a quirky restaurant that boldly claims to serve burgers that “make your soul tingle and your dreams come true”. In addition to the uplifting burgers, Royale has an interesting selection of drinks and milkshakes. I ordered an “Ungrateful Basted” burger with sweet potato chips (fries) to eat and a peanut butter and Jack Daniel’s milkshake to drink. The burger lived up to its high expectations, as I was on cloud nine while wolfing it down. This heavenly sandwich consisted of a 250g beef patty basted in their smoky sauce, lettuce, tomato, caramelized onion, gherkins (pickles), cheddar cheese, and bacon. The sweet potato chips were quite tasty as well, but they were different than the ones from back home because they were white instead of burnt orange. The PB and JD milkshake was out of this world. It was extremely thick, so I needed a spoon to eat all of it. This delicious combination of a giant burger, sweet and salty chips, and alcoholic milkshake made this Fourth of July one for the ages, so many thanks to Anna, our Public Health in South Africa course professor, for recommending Royale to Lisa!

Ndu's in pure bliss!
According to many locals, no trip to Cape Town is complete without spending an afternoon at Mzoli's. This popular venue located in Guguletu, a local township, attracts people from all over because of the unique experience that it gives its visitors. When I first walked into Mzoli's, I found myself in a nondescript butcher shop with boring white walls and lots of raw meat. My group and I were instructed to order our meat at the counter and then go next door to a giant red tent to wait until our food was grilled to perfection. We did as we were told and ordered approximately an entire farm's worth of meat. The tent next door was not very sophisticated, but boy was it alive with energy. Inside, a DJ plays a mixture of electronic and hip hop music while people party and chow down on the best grilled meat in all of Africa. My personal favorite part of the afternoon was the combination of the taste of seasoned pork chops and the sound of A Tribe Called Quest playing in the background. Now whenever I hear their music, my mouth will automatically salivate because of the delicious food that I inhaled at Mzoli's.
A pile of goodness at Mzoli's.

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