the somalian restaurant

I went to my internship today, as usual.  About an hour in, the director suggested that we go to lunch.  I usually like to pass on this offer for a couple of reasons:  I don’t get to count the time we spend at lunch as internship hours.  I also think it’s kind of awkward.  There’s not much to talk about, and my co-workers aren’t super outgoing/conversationalist.  But this time, the director wouldn’t take no for an answer.  And now, I’m glad he didn’t.

We went to a Somalian restaurant that just opened yesterday…I don’t even know if it has a name yet!  But it was awesome.  I felt like I had teleported to another country once I walked in the door.  Those working there (only two people) speak very little English.  There weren’t menus or salt and pepper shakers or even glasses of water.  We got two plates of samples of all of the food they offer!  Yellow rice and tortilla/pita-type bread things, goat and beef.  Some shredded iceberg lettuce and sad-looking tomatoes on the side too.  We sampled all of the items with our fingers, aside from the rice, which we had three spoons to share among the four of us.  Doesn’t this sound like another country?

I made it clear: no dairy or wheat for me.  So said the tortilla/pita-type bread things would be a good choice since they have white flour.  The three of us girls exchanged smiles.  No, even though it’s white, it’s still, wheat and thus I can’t have it.  Shortly afterwards, they brought me a large plate of yellow rice and goat.  With shredded iceberg lettuce and sad-looking tomato slice on the side.  Oh and a banana too.  I asked if it was for dessert, since its common to have fruit for dessert in many countries.  The director showed me that, no, it was for the meal.  He cut it up with the spoon and put it on top of the rice, showing me how to take a spoonful of rice and a slice of banana.  I must admit, it was yummy.

I had so much food leftover, I have a full takeout box full of goat (bones still in), yellow rice, and an unpeeled banana for the rest of my rice.  I also have a to-go cup full of Kenyan tea.  At first the combination of its temperature and sweetness stunned me, causing my face to do things I didn’t want it to do, making the woman working at the restaurant laugh.  I didn’t mean to react in such a way, nor did I know she was watching.

Little things reminded me of China: the way the people watched me eating and the way one person takes your order, assuming you already know what’s offered and what you want, and then brings it to you, takes your money, cleans your table, and also makes the food.  Oh, and the same person sits and watches you eat in between doing those things.

It was an excellent experience…I would love to take the bf there, but seeing how I speak no Somali, it maybe quite an adventure.  I asked if the people working at the restaurant own(ed) the goats that we were eating.  The director told me they come from goats in the area…I had no idea there were goats in the area.  I certainly haven’t seen any grazing around town.


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