So I spent most of September in Namibia and South Africa, both are fairly large countries on the continent of Africa. Anytime I travel, I make sure I ate like the locals do. With that being said, check out all the awesome stuff I got to try below.
I arrived in Windhoek, Namibia after a 30 hour commute from Chicago. Once I got settled into the AM Weinberg Boutique Hotel, it was time to finally eat. Without holding back, I dove right in; gigantic spicy fried jalapeno poppers, grilled ribeye, broiled bone marrow and truffled risotto. For a boutique hotel, everything was rather inexpensive. For reference, I recall the marrow dish was about $4.00 USD. The grilled ribeye was not that much more.
The bone marrow was my favorite dish at this particular meal. It was juicy, buttery, and salty – and spread on the toasted bread like pâté. Keep in mind, this meal didn’t represent a proper Namibian meal. The AM Weinberg Boutique Hotel’s menu offered a gentrified list of worldwide dishes – and it was delicious nonetheless.
At the suggestion of a tour guide we met at the airport, he insisted we check out Joe’s Beerhouse. Joe’s is a tacky, touristy, beer hut. The food was alright, but clearly, Joe’s is for the experience. They have a grilled dish called the “Bushman Sosatie.” You get a taste of all of the common meats of Namibia. Springbok is very lean and tender. Oryx is juicy and has a very light game taste. Kudu is a bit on the tougher side, and is lean like springbok. Zebra was very similar to veal.
We left Windhoek and drove to our lodge called The Desert Grace in Sossusvlei, Namibia. The drive was rocky and scary – all dirt roads and wild animals everywhere. Our first night at the lodge was a treat – we had a proper Namibian meal. The meal was a nice thick cut of grilled oryx with grilled seasonal vegetables and a side of seasoned rice. Alongside being delicious, the meal was rather healthy. My body thanked me for finally getting some vegetables in.
From Sossusvlei, we made the long drive to Swakopmund/Walvis Bay. With the Atlantic Ocean in sight, it’s no surprise that restaurants in this town have an abundance of seafood. We went wild with oysters because a dozen fresh (never frozen) oysters that were caught that morning cost around $9.00 USD. The Walvis Bay oyster is plump, briny, and fresh. I’m surprised we don’t see more of this oyster in the States. It is inexpensive and delicious.
After eating oysters and drinking local beer all day, we dined at one of Swakopmund’s finest restaurants – Ocean Cellar. The restaurant sits right off the beach. We dined outside and we can feel the mist from the Atlantic Ocean breezing over. It was a nice experience, until the weather became uncomfortably cold over the course of our dinner. At Ocean Cellar, I ordered the pan-fried Atlantic salmon. It was a very large portion that was placed on a bed of sauteed zucchini and spinach. The creamy butter sauce was a nice touch. It was appetizing to dip each bite into the rich butter.
Namibia has some really great food. A lot of it was German and Dutch-inspired, due in part to the obvious history of German colonization and strong current Dutch tourism and influence. Check out a future post about some of the food I enjoyed in South Africa. Cheers.