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Letter from Beira 5, Food

Before my departure from England I made sure to pack some home comforts, just so I knew I always

had a backup option for dinner if required. I didn’t pack anything special, mostly junk food to be

honest: Pot Noodle, packet-pasta, cereals. It’s now nearly April and I’ve still got most of it left. I’ll

have to use it up at some point just to free up some space in my suitcase for my return journey;

however, meals here are generally very nice, so at this point in time I have no real need for the food

I carried nearly 8000 miles with me.

It’s fair to say that rice is a staple food of the Mozambican diet. I’m not exaggerating when I say that

during my first month here, I had rice with either lunch or dinner every day bar one. The good thing

is that rice is always served alongside something and almost always in some kind of sauce, so it is still

a different meal most days. Chicken is also extremely popular, with the local food markets quite

literally full of chickens for sale on weekends. Most meals are washed down with juice, bottled

water, or one of Mozambique’s many highly-popular soft-drinks.

The city of Beira is well known for its seafood. I’ve been told to visit the restaurants along Miramar,

which is the part of town that follows the coast. There you’ll find a number of fancy bars and places

where you can eat crab and lobster among other local delicacies. The fish we eat at home comes

from the markets, and is often dried out and preserved with salt. I’m not sure exactly what type it is,

but it tastes good nonetheless.

So far, my favourite meal has to be the piri-piri chicken. When prepared at home, the chicken is

usually left to marinate for a day before being oven cooked and served piping hot. In restaurants and

takeout places it is often boiled in coconut water before sauce is added, and if you’re lucky they will

throw in some chips to go with it. It’s definitely something I want to learn how to make well, so I can

impress my friends and family back home.

Another meal I enjoy is Matapa. This is made using ground peanuts and coconut milk, served with

rice. The first time I tried it, it had crab mixed in too which was really nice. I have also learned to like

Xima, which is basically a porridge made using water and corn flour. Like rice, Xima is served with

almost every meal. It is about 80% tasteless, with a small aftertaste of corn – however, there is

something nice about it. It goes well with any kind of sauce, and definitely leaves you full-up, which

is why it’s such a popular m20160402_131752eal here.

As I approach the halfway point of my time here there are still many Mozambican dishes I need to

try. A friend of mine once mentioned taking me to try snake, but I couldn’t work out if he was joking

or not! If you look hard enough in Beira you can find decent Indian, Chinese or Italian food; but of

course there are still foods that I miss which aren’t available here in restaurants or supermarkets.

Now I just have to hope that I won’t face the same problem once I’m back in England and missing

Mozambican food!20160402_131752

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