Tummy Thursday: Senegalese Food

There’s a saying in German that states that “the farmer won’t eat what the farmer doesn’t know”. It’s again this intersection of class and culture, where the educated classes take pride in “discovering” new tastes, while certain parts of the working class take pride in never trying anything new, especially no “furrin food”. Of course, both positions come with their racism, where the latter is more obvious than the former. I was lucky to be raised in a family that loved food. My grandparents could never travel the world in person, so they tried to travel it with their tummy, even though some of grandma’s creations would probably not have been recognised by the people who actually invented them. Mr, on the other hand was raised in a family that sees lasagna as exotic and his parents have never eaten a single Döner. Mr has tried to shed that attitude, but mostly ended up in a position where he will eat foreign cuisines, but only after they have been thoroughly approved by white people. Italian is standard, Chinese is ok, Greek is high end. So when we came upon a tiny Senegalese restaurant in Mataró, he was not happy when I proposed to eat there and the kids enthusiastically agreed.

Guess who enjoyed his meal the most?

The restaurant was tiny (less than 2m from side to side and probably 8-9 m long). The cook prepared three different dishes, as Senegale food is stews that take time to prepare, and starters, so we simply ordered one of each and shared among us.

©Giliell, all rights reserved Fish cakes. they were absolutely delicious and already hinted at an enormous amount of onions to come.

©Giliell, all rights reserved Yassa: chicken in an onion and veggies sauce with rice.

©Giliell, all rights reserved Thiéboudienne, the national dish. Seasoned rice with veggies and fish. Sorry for the blurry pic, I was hungry.

©Giliell, all rights reserved Mafé, a beef stew with peanut sauce.

I’ll definitely try to cook some of these, hopefully with better results than grandma…


  1. says

    It looks delicious and it made me hungry to read about it. That being said, there are also legitimate reasons not to try “furrin food” willy-nilly. I am one of those who extremely dislikes experimenting with food and it is one of the reasons why I do not like to travel at all, especially not to places where I do not speak fluently the local lingo.

    Food allergy means that I absolutely must avoid some common ingredients (the whole Apiaceae family, if added raw, also raw overripe apples and bell peppers).

    I must be able to explain it to the waiting staff and they must respect it. Even so, I was surprised by raw parsley in a portion of food where it, in my opinion, makes no sense to add it, and I had to return the food untouched and refuse to pay because the waiter ignored my request of not adding raw carrots to the side. I am sick and tired of having to explain to every waiter everywhere to be honest. And as I found out this weekend, some things I do not know yet about can cause me problems too.

    I did not have life-threatening allergic reaction (yet), but not being able to swallow properly for hours, or having itchy rash for days is no fun either.

  2. says

    I absolutely share your sentiment on waitstaff ignoring such requests and needing to be safe. After all, my food allergies mean that my throat starts swelling which can be life threatening. Fortunately I have zero issues once things are cooked. Nature intended for me to eat apples as cake.
    But Mr’s only food allergy is canned mandarin oranges and I was fluent in the local lingo. With him it’s really a question of “food common in western cities” vs. “food not common in western cities”. If there was an all you can eat Senegalese restaurant at every corner, but hardly ever any Chinese restaurant he’d just have been the same.

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