African Town Walking Tour - Westside Discovery @ Friday, July 04, 2014
Today I fell, literally. We were crossing the road and the next moment I was on the ground. I have no memory of falling, must have tripped over something invisible or I tripped over my feet. First time I have fallen (on my own) and not had someone catch me. Fortunately it was at a zebra crossing and chances of getting hit by a car was low as jas was standing so the driver did see someone. A stranger helped me, as jas was preoccupied. Not sure what he was doing, as I was confused. The good news is that there's not a scratch, not that I didn't have my mini first aid kit on me.
The rest of the day went better. As part of the 'Westside Discovery Tours' which happen three times a year, the City of Maribyrnong runs a some free tours, limited to one per person. We made the bookings about a month ago, for the 'African Town Walking Tour'.
We met at this place, though as we were late (I missed a train, and jas took forever to get to the station, and then I fell) we're not going to write about it. Other than it was odd when we asked the waitress if the tour was there and she had no idea... Inside the lighting wasn't so great, unless you're by the window.
Next we went by a few African stores, one sold white cds that look like copies and these things that look like a rock made of dirt in a pack for $5. You sure this ain't dirt? Karim one of our tour guides said it suppresses strange cravings in women who are pregs. They have cravings for dirt? Cause I know those who have certain conditions do crave dirt. The same store sold pillows for $5 out front.
Next stop was an arcade across the street, with a Sudanese henna painting parlour (think Indian, but it only comes in black ink, and lasts for 3wks, for reasons unknown the guys weren't allowed in the shop, but really they weren't missing much. This place to me has an ancient Egyptian deco to it, well not the deco, just the basic feel of it all, ok maybe just the tiled walls and colour theme. Hygiene/cleanliness is questionable, but as it's just painting on skin you should be fine. There's premade designs or you can design your own, prices vary depending on design. Henna's popular for weddings.
We passed a hair dresser and a shop that sold a lot of African hair products including wigs/extensions for all those amazing braids, and sandalwood - bits of wood that smells nice in big packs. The shop keeper said you burn these on charcoal sort of as an incense.
Miswak - African Chew Sticks, used in Africa it's a traditional alternative to the modern toothbrush. How do you brush your teeth with a stick? A guy in one of my classes said this was his secret to white teeth (though really most of the time I'm pretty sure it's the contrast between the colour of their skin and teeth). At the time I thought he was joking as he was smiling a lot.
We tried African food including fried lemon chicken which was amazing! (We're coming back). Sampled lots of food from 'Somali Star Cafe' which recently opened a fortnight-ish ago, they don't have a menu up yet, so you have to know about it to order it.
Along with coffee (which is cheap) we sampled 'Samosa' a popular entree appetizer or snack, the ones we tried are minis, smaller than normal as they were made just for us. These come with two fillings, tuna and mystery meat (it wasn't clarified).
Samosa - a fried or baked pastry with savory filling, such as spiced potatoes, onions, peas, lentils and sometimes ground lamb, ground beef or ground chicken. This one had tuna and spices. It was very good, though I'm not a tuna person.
At the star cafe we also sampled their doughy pancake, more homemade style (well at least for me) than Pancake Parlour, this was oily. To the right is spaghetti with beef, turmeric along with other spices was in the beef says jas. Tried some yellow rice, which reminds me of that time we had Indian near SKR with saffron, raisins, though this one was no where as good. Bottom right is a fried doughnut, which was quite nice.
Saving the best for last to write about is their lemon fried chicken, it was amazing! No pictures as it was cut up and a piece of meat on a fork doesn't look so great on its own. But seriously this was like one of the top highlights of the tour. We're coming back for lunch in a couple weeks.
Rounding up the arcade there was a few clothing shops, great for summer there was an assortment of very colourful moo-moos and similar things. There was also a tailor that sold perfume.
A very uniquely coloured restaurant, they do some sort of special deal on Fridays. Sorry I don't have lots of info, we had info overload and didn't really plan on doing a post for this event.
Our next stop was for drinks, beer and a honey wine (which smells like beer too, but doesn't taste like it). It was interesting, not our thing honestly. I didn't like it, and did a sip of both. The woman who runs this place is very passionate about cooking, and has her family as taste testers. Karim says back in Africa she's a famous singer and does perform at events here.
On the way to our last stop (coffee!) we stopped by a store that sold injari bread 80c a flat round piece like a pizza base in shape but flatter. And I saw Tang! But made in Bahrain. Has anyone other than jas heard of this place? "...one of the earliest areas to convert to Islam in 628 AD... Formerly a state, Bahrain was declared a "Kingdom" in 2002... Since early 2011, the country has experienced sustained protests and unrest..." Travel sight gives it a 3/4 for no go zone. Tang comes in orange and mango, 100% artificially flavoured with preservatives and colour. There ain't nothing natural about Tang, but I do like it and often had it back home.
Last stop, Ethiopian injera bread (sourdough, takes a few days to ferment).
Coffee Ceremony @ African Cuisine (?)
We were served coffee which was lighter than 'Konjo Cafe & Restaurant' a few doors down and sweeter. I drank half a mini-mini teacup while jas devoured it all. Didn't stop me from napping on the train later than day.
Here we were also served a big tray of injera bread (used as a plate on a tray) with lamb, beets and a range of other things. I love my spork, so it was quite an experience to eat with your hands. This dish is $12-15 and serves two+.
We had a great time, learning something new, information overload a bit, but it was great to try something new. There was also an asian tour going on, but we picked African because it's not something everyone knows about.
Thank you to our lovely and very informative tour guides Antia & Karim. We hope others will get to experience this tour and discover African foods out West next time they run it in October.
Do you have any African places you'd recommend? Any dishes? Oh and what's for dessert?
Hi. I'm Charlie. Capricorn. ISFJ. Engaged. From CA, studying events in Melbourne.
This is a blog about food, photography, hot chocolate & cupcakes, events, shopping, and the occasional beauty product review.
Want to contact me? Click here to email me.
Original Base Design
Base Editor - Erma97
Basecoder - detonatedlove
Original Header Design teacakehouse
Coding Assistance (IT)
Any resemblance to real or fictitious names, identities, characters, persons, whether living or dead, settings, situations, or other information, is purely coincidental and unintentional.