The sound of cars and commuter omnibuses horning, hwindi’s shouting and everyone rushing about, is the atmosphere in Harare. It’s scorching hot, temperatures hitting at least 31 degrees. As people pass by rushing to hustle and do their day to day jobs, a stench of sweat sweeps past your nose, some have been working in this heat since daybreak.
As you walk into town, you notice a stream of food outlets, amongst them being the good old Chicken Inn and Pizza Inn. The introduction of the dollar has seen many more food outlets springing everywhere in Harare. The likes of Chicken Slice, KFC, Kelly’s Chicken, Fish Inn and many more. Surprisingly, with the way things are in Zimbabwe, economically , unemployment and the like, those food outlets will be packed to the bream with people buying food.After shopping with my sister, we decided to walk into Chicken Inn, the one near Angwa street, I had been dreaming of Chicken Inn since boarding my flight to Zim and couldn’t wait to enjoy it. I mean it’s the one takeaway we grew up enjoying in our high school years. It took us a good 15minutes to get to order our food and an extra 10minutes to collect our order. That is how busy it is in these food outlets at the moment.
Besides these food outlets, there is a new stream of ‘vakadzi vanobika sadza’ in Harare at the moment. So if you visit most bus stations for example pana 4th street, Charge Office, Copacabana, there are women with trolleys selling freshly cooked sadza with beef stew or chicken. Their businesses are flourishing in these areas because of the combi and bus drivers who buy sadza from them. Some of these ladies are very hygienic, serving their food in disposable kaylites offering water to wash hands and disposable serviettes.
Zim Street Food has since been on the rise around 3-4years ago when things began to stabilise in Zimbabwe after the 2008 -2009 chaos. Some of these spots are doing so well and aim to please their customers. A particular hot spot being the one at Eastgate Mall, on the second floor on top of Edgars or Truworths , there is a food bar that sells all kinds of dishes. With almost 7-8 different stalls, you get to choose one of your choice. Their meals range from $2-$4, with a wide selection of dishes the likes of Mazondo, Coated Chicken, Makuru, Fish, Beef Stew, MaPork Bones/ Beef Bones mixed with Rape or Tsunga all served with Sadza.
It really is a great spot to visit if you are in Harare.
I had the chance to visit a hot but hidden spot in Glen Norah dubbed PaFarai…. All you do is buy your meat, they do the best pork chops ever. So you give to the guys to braai it for you. They do a great job, they then slice cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, drizzle a bit of vinegar then salt and bring it to you with freshly cooked sadza.
The trick is, if you are 5-6 of you, you just wash your hands and eat together without sharing out the food….The beef is so tender and very tasty literally melting in your mouth. PaFarai there in Glen Norah, they do the best pork chops, so fresh and thin such that they suck in all the spices when marinated.
Another hot spot just outside Harare is kwaMutangadura along the Marondera/ Mutare road. The women who cook there are so friendly and welcoming and work very efficiently once you place an order. There is always such an electric energy pulsing around that area that transfers to everyone who passes by. The kitchen is an old Gazebo with what seems to be a huge fire island in the middle. Huge rustic black & silver pots are seated on top of the fire cooking away and that smell of a simmering beef stew fills the air.
Two or three guys wearing aprons with their heads covered can be seen on the braai stands grilling chicken, fish or beef. I walk to one guy and start chatting asking how he marinated his chicken. As he was in the middle of explaining how they make the marinated, I’m taking photos, I paused and chuckled ‘hope you don’t mind me taking pictures of your chicken. He shakes his head and goes , ‘Of course not, torai henyu papictures isusu panapa ndopabasa pe….. Before he finishes his sentence , he starts admiring my camera and my phone and asks to see the phone and started throwing questions about the price and where I bought it…..
Another restaurant that has taken Zimbabwean cuisine to the heights is Garwe Restaurant, situated in the suburbs of Eastlea in Nigel Phillip Avenue, the menu is impeccable and impressive. From the good old Tripe Stew to Mazondo all cooked to perfection and served with a touch of class. It sure is a place to visit if you are around Harare and want something that will tickle the palate.
In all these food outlets and hot spots, especially the ones that sell sadza and braai meats, men are the majority, some coming in groups while some coming as individuals to enjoy food. However women and children makeup the large number in fast food outlets the likes of KFC and Chicken Inn. All the same,the atmospheres in these food places is just exciting, in today’s slang they say ‘Harare Yadirwa Shuga’.
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