Swahili food borrows from many places- Arabia, India, Italy and Portugal and the native African organic culinary offerings. As such, any food connoisseur is sure to have their pallet treated to spicy dishes if they choose to go the Swahili way when it comes to matters of food.
And while you get your fingers oiled with some foodies treat, remember to also get your Swahili language sharpened because the menu was all that unusual. Mbuzi chemsha, sukuma nap, spinach fry, mrenda stew, mutombo ya mbuzi and the more familiar ones like pilao, coconut rice, collard greens (sukama wiki), amaranth (dodo), some ugali (grade two piano), githeri, and much more.
Variety gave the largely Kenyan audience a delightful time as they mingled, networked, and enjoyed the treats from the extensive and rich menu at the second edition of the Swahili Night at the exterior gardens and within the restaurant section of Protea Hotel Kololo on Saturday night.
These included meats, salads, condiments, accompaniments, and carvery section which served a whole roast pork leg, mbuzi China (whole toast goat) and live barbecue of chicken drumsticks, beef, and fish brochettes, all for the foodies that turned on Saturday night to partake of six-hour treats with an unwritten rule of ‘eat till you drop’.
From the look of things, there was plenty to dig in and slice into as chefs kept sharper the edges of their knives to continuously help diners to well marinated meaty goodness whose goldish outlook was as enticing as was delicious, along with sauces to go with.
The other was a goat stuffed with biryani, if one didn’t enjoy that, he had Swahili pilau to serve themselves from the buffet arrangement.
As guests enjoyed the night, they also listened to the resident band, Legends 256 Band that serenaded patrons to East African cover songs that melted through the borders of Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Tanzania.
True to the words of reggae icon, Bob Marley, when music hits you, you feel no pain but pleasure. Indeed, many patrons got on their feet to dance to a groovy rendition of Harry Belafonte & Miriam Makeba’s 1965 timeless classic ’Malaika’ then Sauti Sol’s Short n Sweet, Meddy’s Slowly, Kenneth Mugabi’s Naki and many more. There was more to the Swahili Night than the food.
As Protea’s proprietor said, Patrick Bitature observed, Swahili, having been made a national language, allows those in the hospitality sector to also capitalize on the number of people it unites since it can be spoken in some 19 countries.
“We are trying to get Ugandans to appreciate East African foods. We are going to try and build this momentum,” Bitature, a fan of fish in coconut sauce, added.