Enews148 West African Cuisine

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高雄醫學大學e快報 第148期  分享園地

本校98學年度國合會外籍生獎學金計畫共招收3位外籍學生,1位來自甘比亞、1位來自瓜地馬拉、1位來自海地,另外1位來自索羅門群島的外籍學生是本校助學金受獎生,4位學生皆就讀醫研所臨床組碩士班。他們將陸續在e快報發表文章,自我介紹或是抒發生活上的感想,期待本校師生能更了解這些遠道而來的外國朋友。此期由來自甘比亞的Bintou (賈君怡)介紹甘比亞美食。

West African Cuisine

Bintou 賈君怡

I am Bintou Junaidi Jallow a female graduate Doctor pursuing a master degree program in clinical medicine Kaohsiung Medical University. I am a Gambian from The Gambia a country in the western part of Africa. I arrived in Taiwan four months ago initially experience some culture shock but down the lane I have settled in relatively well both with academic work and social life.

Friends always enquire about way of life including culture, food, etc. in my country as a result I decided to write in this article about food from Africa with emphasis on West Africa.

Africa, the second largest continent in the world, is rich in geographic and cultural diversity. It is a land populated by peoples with histories dating to ancient times and cultures shaped by innumerable tribes, languages, and traditions. Because it is the birthplace of Homo sapiens and the land of origin for much of the world's population, the culture of food and eating in the different regions of Africa is important to people throughout the world.

Throughout Africa, the main meal of the day is lunch, which usually consists of a mixture of vegetables, legumes and sometimes meat, however, fish is abundant in coastal regions and in many lakes. The combination of various foods is called stew, soup, or sauce, depending on the region. This mixture is then served over a porridge or mash made from a root vegetable such as cassava or a grain such as rice, corn, millet, or teff. Regional differences are reflected in variations on this basic meal, primarily in the contents of the stew. The greatest variety of ingredients occurs in coastal areas and in the fertile highlands. Flavorings and spiciness have varied principally due to local histories of trade. Traditional ways of cooking involve steaming food in leaf wrappers (banana or corn husks), boiling, frying in oil, grilling beside a fire, roasting in a fire, or baking in ashes, although modern times people cook using electrical or gas cookers.

Within West Africa, there is considerable variation in the staple food. Rice is predominant from Mauritania to Liberia and across to the Sahel, a region that stretches across the continent between the Sahara and the southern savannas. Couscous is the prevalent dish in the Sahara. Along the coast from Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) to Nigeria and Cameroon, root crops, primarily varieties of yam and cassava, are common. Cassava, imported from Brazil by the Portuguese, is boiled and then pounded into a nearly pure starch. Yam is the chief crop in West Africa and is served in a variety of dishes, including amala (pounded yam) and egwansi (melon) sauce. Millet is also used for making porridge. Palm oil is the base of stew in the Gambia, southern, and eastern regions. In the Sahalian area, groundnut paste (peanut butter) is the main ingredient for stew. Other stews are based on okra (a vegetable native to the rainforests of Africa), beans, sweet potato leaves, or cassava. Other vegetables are eggplant, cabbage, carrots, chilies, French beans, lettuce, okra, onions, and cherry tomatoes. All the stews in this territory tend to be heavily spiced, often with chilies. Plantain, a variety of banana, is abundant in the more tropical West Africa. Dates, bananas, guava, melons, passion fruit, figs, jackfruit, mangos, pineapples, cashews, and wild lemons and oranges are also found here. Meat sources of protein include cattle, sheep, chicken, and goat, because of the Islamic influence, pork is localized to non-Muslim areas. Giant snails are also eaten in various parts of West Africa.

Whether from Africa or Asia food plays an important element in our way of Life.