By Catherine Wanzala
A mind is a powerful tool that can store thoughts and events from the past and at the least expected time those thoughts will pop up making you nostalgic. The memories I have about Uganda come at different times and seasons of the year especially when I miss birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, and other celebrations.
“When you least expect it, the memories will come. Embrace them.”~Kate
When I first moved to the US, I did not think that much about the Ugandan cuisine as I was busy trying out all the different foods around and it is only after a while that I really started to miss the food. I had to constantly catch myself as I kept making comparisons about the food here and the one in Uganda. I am usually open to trying out new food and I love to experiment on foods like crocodile meat and crab legs, but even with all of that I still miss the familiarity of the Ugandan food I grew up to know and love.
The Ugandan food I miss most at the moment;
1. Milk Tea aka chai wa mata
Anyone who knows me, knows I love milk tea and milk in general. My first time in the US, I had to keep explaining to people what milk tea is as the majority of the people will drink their milk straight out of the refrigerator cold or in coffee or as hot chocolate. Others would offer me black tea with milk on the side to make my milk tea. This was a totally different way that I stopped drinking milk when offered and now, for the most part, I make my own spicy milk tea from home. I could not contain my joy when I discovered chai masala in Indian restaurants. It is milk tea spiced with all the right spices and brings back those memories I miss so much.
2. Street Food
The Ugandan street food is extremely diverse from plain chips to barbeque. It is a common sight to see the food vendors lined up by the main road selling their delicacies. It is important to inquire and get the best vendor who makes the most delicious food. Usually, you would notice the long lines of people waiting to be served the hot delicious food. In particular, I want to highlight the famous rolex which are fried eggs rolled in a pastry known as chapatti. This food serves all classes of people and is a great way for the vendors to make a living.
Pork is special to me and the Ugandan pork is extra special. I miss the lusaniya pork, which is pork and other sides like avocado, cassava, greens, etc set out on a large tray for a group of people to eat. This is a great way to bond with friends over food and all the food is prepared really well. The places that prepare the best pork are the local pork joints as they are popularly known, and they serve the pork on these lusaniyas or also as take out.
4. Sim-sim Balls
If you have not already guessed, sim-sim balls are balls made out of sesame seeds and sugar. They are a delicacy and are usually eaten as a snack in the different parts of Uganda. They are a healthy and quick and easy snack that all ages of people can snack on at any time of the day.
5. Passion fruit juice aka katunda juice.
Passion fruit is a delicious fruit that is grown in different countries from Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina to Ecuador, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, India, etc. Passion fruits are in plenty in Uganda for most of the year and they make one of the most delicious types of juice that I have tasted. It is common to find restaurants and homes serving this juice on a hot day. This juice can be mixed in a cocktail of juices or drank on its own.
In as much as I miss the food and the events around food, one thing I know is food is better with community and community is wherever you are. Food is a great way to socialize and bond with different people around us. I will use this time to take every opportunity to learn about the different foods in different areas that I visit and make new memories that will carry me on.
Share with me in the comment section which foods you enjoy and the ones you miss the most from your past.
Catherine is passionate about using her words both spoken and written to touch the world around her. She lives in Minnesota home to over 10,000 lakes (11,842 but who is counting? Lol) and uses her blog to bring hope through her experiences and journey. Find more on her blog at https://catherinewanzi.wordpress.com/