Travelling and plantbased eating is not always easy! Getting out of our comfort zone is always a challenge worth experiencing. Travelling to a country like Uganda and eating plant-based is definitely a gamble, but getting in touch with the local produce and finding the best alternatives is a really valuable discovery!
Here is what I ate on my trip to Uganda!
• FRESH AND ORGANIC FRUIT AND VEGETABLES
Uganda has fertile soil where a variety of fruits and vegetables grow in abundance.
It is common to eat only fruit for breakfast. I love bananas, mangoes and watermelon. It's also common to see street vendors selling freshly squeezed juices. My favourite? Pineapple and passion fruit... what a delicacy!
Avocados are also plentiful and never missing from the table, as they are easy to find on the trees and are always ripe at the right time.
Most of the fruit and vegetables you buy in the markets and from street vendors are natural and organic. Small farmers use only natural fertilisers and herbicides, and organic farmers sell their fruit and vegetables in many shopping centres in Kampala.
• HIBISCUS DRINK
Another product that grows in abundance in Uganda is hibiscus.
Hibiscus tea is an herbal tea made from the roselle hibiscus flower. The roselle is a flower native to Africa. Hibiscus tea is widely grown and consumed in East and West Africa, where farmers trade and sell it in the markets.
It has so many benefits!
It relieves cramps and menstrual pain;
It has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties;
It has anti-depressant properties;
It protects the liver;
Matoke is the name of the plantain, a type of green banana grown in Uganda, and also refers to a dish made from these bananas. This one-pot dish is even the national dish of Uganda.
Although the fruit itself is the same yellowish colour as the banana, the skin of the matoke is green, and unlike the banana, the matoke must be cooked before eating. In Uganda, the fruit is often steamed in its leaves and used in a variety of dishes.... similar to how we use potatoes in our recipes.
One of the most popular dishes in Uganda is posho (made from maize flour) with beans, peas or other pulses. This inexpensive meal is a common poor people's food in Uganda. It is served to school children at lunchtime, to families for dinner and in many workplaces.
It is a really simple but very tasty and filling dish!
Cassava is one of Uganda's most important crops. Cassava, also known as cassava in other countries, is a plant with large roots; these roots are the part that is consumed.
You can eat the roots peeled raw or prepare them for drying. The dried roots can be ground to make cassava flour. Cassava porridge is an everyday food and dish that can be enjoyed with peanut sauce.
However, fried cassava trumps all other cooking methods.... it is truly delicious!
Knowing the place you are visiting and connecting with the locals is key to opening yourself up to discovering a culinary tradition that is different from your own. It is certainly a challenge to eat vegan while travelling, but with the right willpower, it will be really easy to find plant-based dishes every day.