Would you call the food at Simba's Grill African?
- fruglescot Feb 11, 2008 11:40 PM
AFRICAN FOOD -TANZANIAN
I am planning to attend Simba's Grill on Donlands Ave. for a meal as a way to celebrate Black History Month (February) Although it was well reviewed here I have been challenged on another thread that requested best African Restaurants:
"Would you consider Simba Grill authentic Tanzanian food? Quite a few people of Indian origin moved to Tanzania and Uganda, and I bet that the owners are from India. I'd consider it a stretch to go there for "Black History" month. The menu looks very similar to what you would find in some Indian restaurants"..end Quote
With all due respect to the challenger I shall leave him nameless for now.
OK, so here's the question..... Is this Chowhound making a valid point?
Is SIMBA'S GRILL serving authentic Tanzanian food or just a reasonable facsimile?
I must say I find that remark offensive. The Indian population of East Africa has been living there for a long time. How long do they have to stay there before they are no longer considered foreign?
I have avoided posting my review of Simba's Grill due to a lack of time. I lived in East Africa for some time and have travelled widely in all its countries. The food at Simba's Grill is as authentic as you will find on this side of the Atlantic. Some dishes are Indian-inspired, but nyama choma and ugali and many other menu items are 100% African fare. Some of the food eaten in this region (e.g. samosas and chapatis) obviously developed under Indian influence, but they have been widely adopted by the indigenous population and modified to suit local palates.
They are eaten and prepared by Black Africans, and not just the Asian population, which, if I am to understand the poster correctly, is her/his' rather ethnocentric definition of "authentic." There are also a wide variety of Indian restaurants in the larger centres and some of Simba's menu is more Indian-inspired. I fail to see how that makes its Tanzanian fare any less authentic, since one could easily find the same combination of menu items at a restaurant in Tanzania itself.
Poor fruglescot, landing in that hornets' nest. To give you an example, using nyama choma (roast meat, usually beef or goat): Amongst the Maasai, it would just be roasted over fire, with minimal seasoning. The recipe I use, from a friend who lived in Nairobi, and who got it from a black colleague (if that really matters), includes curry powder, lemon, garlic, and coriander seed. The Maasai don't really eat game, but I wouldn't be surprised if some upscale place in Nairobi or Dar es Salaam were to serve zebra nyama choma. That wouldn't be traditional, as such, at least amongst the Maasai, but it would certainly speak to 'terroir'.