Our team usually eats lunch together in the cafeteria downstairs. Today, we ventured out to a small "house restaurant" near the building where we work. This is a favorite of the local staff, and I was glad they were there to lead the way. It was about a 5 minute walk from the building, and although the weather is starting to heat up, the days are still quite pleasant.
We walked past the park near our apartment and continued on down the street. After a few blocks we turned into a small alley that led to another even smaller alley. There at the end was the Tia Maria restaurant. The dining room is covered, but outside of what used to be a house.
We found an empty table and looked at the menu. There were about 6 items on it, none of which looked all that familiar. Luis, offered to help me order, and we found some grilled chicken, which seemed like a safe bet. When the waiter took our order, I found out everyone else had ordered the same thing: Funge (pronounced Foonzh), beef in a stew, and beans.
Funge is a national dish here and comes in two main flavors; corn or cassava. The corn is quite good, and the cassava is quite heavy, bland, and thick. It is a joke among my team members that they only eat funge on the weekend because it is so heavy and time consuming to make. The cafeteria serves it on Thursdays, and I think it is a major profit center for them; when you hand your plate to the lady serving up the funge, she starts piling it on. I think she has been coached to do that because the food in the cafeteria is sold by weight, and funge is definitely the heaviest stuff you can put on a plate. Yesterday Cesar's plate of funge cost $25!
My plate of chicken was delicious, but next time I'm having the FUNGE!
The REAL thing - Funge in an Angolan neighborhood restaurant
This is what goes on it - beef in a stew, and beans
Some of my team - Luis, Eurico, and Cesar (left to right)
The entrance to the restaurant