Friday, July 23, 2010

Rwanda's (in)famous Brochettes

Perhaps Rwanda’s most famous food, brochettes are basically meat on a stick. They’re typically goat, but sometimes fish or beef are available for a bit more money. One brochette costs anywhere from 250-600 RWF ($.40-$1), depending on the place. Some eat them with French fries ($1 and up), but the much cheaper option is two halves of a potato, fried until crunchy, for 100 francs. You can also order them with bananas, below.

Brochettes are unpredictable. Although some bars are more reliable than others, you never know when you’re going to get a delicious tender brochette or one that’s so chewy or fatty as to be inedible. Some bars season the brochettes before cooking them, and of course they’re always served with a bowl of homemade urusenda oil.

Beware. Many Rwandans consider the stomach meat, pictured on either side above, to be the best part of the goat. When I’ve asked why they prefer it, the answer usually is that it’s softer: a tough brochette can be a workout for the jaw. Because of this, when ordering a brochette, it’s important to say “sinshaka inyama yo mundo” (I don’t want meat of the stomach) or “sinshaka zingara.” The meat is called izumubiri.

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