In Uganda and Kenya, you will encounter peanuts in your food in four main ways:
1) As a sauce/stew that is eaten either with chappatis (African fried bread) or on top of rice
|The peanut paste is the pinkish-brown paste in the middle of the plate |
2) Ground into a paste and eaten on bread (what North Americans would call peanut butter)
3) In a basic roasted nut form, sometimes mixed with dried corn kernels
4) Creamed into spinach or as a sauce/paste for dried fish
No one I encountered in Uganda or Kenya had ever heard of a nut allergy. When I ate in local restaurants, I would always ask what they had on the menu, and if it included groundnuts, I would just order something called a Rolex (a chappati with an egg rolled into it with some cabbage--kind of an African breakfast sandwich, if you will.)
If they answered that nothing with peanuts/groundnuts had been cooked that day, I would go ahead and order a regular menu item--but I would make sure to stress that nothing could come into contact with even the smallest bit of peanut paste, or I would get very sick.
I was with my American friend Dan in Kamuli one day, and he told the staff at our favourite restaurant that I would vomit all over the place if so much as one little piece of peanut made it into my food. I think that got their attention, because from then on as soon as I sat down one of the waiters would make sure to tell me right away if there were peanuts around.
I never encountered peanut oil, which I know is a staple oil in many other parts of Africa, and is more difficult for allergy sufferers to avoid.
I ate a ton of street food (samosas, roasted bananas, African donuts)--and would highly recommend it. It's delicious.
The families and children with whom I worked loved to give me things like honey, mangoes--which I always ate without bothering to peel them--probably not the smartest thing, but I never got sick (nope, not even on days that bordered on mango-gluttony), passionfruit, and guavas--all of which I loved. A jackfruit did give me a bit of an allergic reaction, and so I stayed away from those otherwise-fine fruits.
I was pretty much the epitome of perfect health in Uganda--peanut allergy and all. Does anyone else have any experiences of traveling with allergies or other dietary restrictions?