Sunday, July 03, 2005

Somali cuisine

My Singaporean friend Linus loves trying obscure ethnic restaurants in London. I like to join his exploration. In the past he discovered the Ethiopian restaurant Menelik on Caledonian Road (see 14th November 2004) and the Turkish Bursa Inegol Koftecisi in Hackney (see 2nd April 2005).

Today, it's a Somali restaurant in Mile End Road: Tayo Restaurant. Everyone but us in the restaurant is Somali people, a good sign for authenticity.

When I arrived at the restaurant, Linus already had a spaghetti. Oh, yes, Italians colonised Somalia in the early 20th century. But, acoording to Linus, the taste is more of Indian. Yeah, East African coasts have a sizable population of South Asians because Muslim traders came to East Africa during the times of Islamic empires.

I don't know the name of what I ordered, something like meat and vegetable stew. It tasted like a Jamaican meal. Well, both countries have black people...

Accompanied with the stew was Somali bread, looking like Ethiopia's ingera (sour crepe). But it tasted different and good!

We noticed all Somali customers were easting bananas with the stew or other meals. Next time we should order bananas as well to have a proper Somali lunch.

The problem with such obscure ethnic restaurants is it is difficult to take girls there. Linus does take his girlfriends and enjoy seeing how they react. He's so mean. :)

Next door to the restaurant is a Somali clothes shop, where Linus got the incense and the decorated stand on which you burn incense with charcoal for the Ethiopian coffee ceremony. (Google "Ethiopian coffee ceremony, and you'll find its popularity!)

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