Explore ‘the Smiling Coast of Africa’: Gambia, also called ‘The Gambia’. Visiting Gambia, there is no need to get bored. You can go to the beach or Royal Albert Market for example. Additionally, you can go to the crocodile farm, a nature park (bird watching) and so on. Although the city of Banjul can be very crowded, in-lands you can travel for miles without passing anyone. In this small country, every spot has his own little surprises. Take your time to explore when traveling around!
Culture in Gambia
“The smiling coast of Africa” is not merely an expression since hospitality is one of the roots of Gambian culture. Family and the family life is important, but it is easy to become a friend of the family and blend in. The openness can sometimes be overwhelming, especially if you consider Gambia is a poor country and people have not much to spend.
Traditionally, Gambian people all gather around one large bowl of food with each person eating from the part of the bowl immediately in front of them, using their right hand. If you are invited to a Gambian home to share a meal it is perfectly acceptable to ask for a spoon to eat with.
Food in Gambia
When visiting Gambia, there are a lot of possible restaurants to visit. These restaurants consist of a variety of cuisines including Italian, Indian, Chinese and Lebanese dishes. Additionally, international restaurants selling everything from a full English breakfast to fillet steak with peppercorn sauce. However, when you are in Gambia, you should, of course, try their traditional dishes. The most common food served in a Gambian home is white rice with one of the spicy sauces.
Domada is one of the most popular dishes. This meal consisting of peanuts with tomato paste, mustard, black pepper, and onions comes with white rice. Besides, Benechin which literally means ’one pot’, is being prepared with chicken or other meat but fish is probably the most common variation. Okra stew, also known as Superkanja, consists of beef, fish, onions and, of course, okra and sometimes prawns or crabs. Furthermore, Chicken Yassa is another common dish. The chicken is cooked with chilies, lime, onions and mustard and a stock cube of Maggi, a popular ingredient in the Gambia. Another Gambian dish is Afra which is a very popular late night snack. You basically select your choice of meat which will be chopped up and grilled in front of you, then served with mustard or a spicy sauce.
Moreover, for a Gambian breakfast, Akara is a delicious local dish. This meal sometimes comes in tapalapa bread which looks much like a French stick. Akara is made from black-eyed peas, grounded into flour and deep-fried.
In addition to the traditional Gambian dishes, Baobab juice is a pale brown, non-alcoholic drink. This drink is made of the fruit of the giant baobab trees. This delicious drink is full of vitamins, calcium, and fibers.
However, if you are into something stronger, you can go for Palm wine. Made by collecting the sap from the top of certain palm trees, this cloudy white drink can vary from a sweet and mildly alcoholic drink when freshly collected to a sour and much stronger drink.
ResiRest in Gambia
If you are interested in the real local life, you can have lunch or dinner with a Gambian family. Although many Gambians work in the tourist industry, they also grow fruit, vegetables, and cereals for their own use or trade. That’s the reason why the food is always fresh. Dishes are no-frills and tasty. Distinct ingredients are for example peanuts, tomatoes, bananas, rice and fish. Sometimes you eat together from one pot or bowl.
Together with the 4Gambia Foundation and our local agents we have arranged a variety of local cooks for you. Throughout the entire country you can enjoy a homedining experience. ResiRest welcomes Gambia, and Gambian cooks are ready to welcome you into their homes. See you soon!
Read more about The Gambia at our blog posts.