Monday, December 21, 2009

More Food in Angola!

The lingering and re-emerging Portuguese influence on Angola, this former Portuguese colony, is greatly evident in the area of cuisine. Many of direct Portuguese descent and the emerging Angolan 'modern'culture living in the largest cities have embraced more of Portugal's culinary tastes. I will cover just a few of the prevalent items and some of the favorites served at Christmas here. (Since I love foreign food and think that it is a major part of cultural assimilation, I will cover it frequently here in this blog)

Starting off with coffee, the strength of the coffee drunk is much stronger than normally used in some countries. This full-strength expresso coffee, or bica as it is commonly named, is normally combined with lots of sugar and gives a good jolt!  It is commonly consumed as a start to a daily routine at pastry shops before work.

he Portuguese national dish, the soup "caldo verde", has kale (or collards ) as it's key ingredient. Soup is commonly eaten as a starter at the beginning of the meal or even after a meal to 'get that full feeling'. The dish is brimming with potatoes, onion, garlic and filament-thin shreds of kale and often fortified with slices of "chouriƧo" or "linguiƧa" (sausages).

Bacalhau, a fish dish with the main ingredient of salted, dried codfish, is a traditional dish served at Christmastime.  There is said to be 1001 ways to serve bacalhau, but it is most commonly served with potatoes and eggs.

Leitao, or suckling pig, is another Christmas delicasy though young piglets are often hard to come by in Angola.  The month-old young piglet is seasoned with salt and pepper and roasted whole on a spit for two hours in a wood-fired oven.

Bolo Rei, literally translated 'King Cake', is normally served during the Christmas season. The cake is made in a round design with a large hole in the centre to intentially resemble a crown. Crystallized and dried fruit are placed on the top to resemble jewels.  Tradition dictates that a fava bean be baked into the cake and that whoever finds the fava has to pay for the Bolo Rei next year.