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The Food Pages: Part One

Uzbekistan Airways serves the finest sausage in coach class, rolling around in a plastic tray. TU-154’s are the finest aircraft out there. From my recent travels to Tashkent.

Coach Class on  Uzbekistan Airways.

Almaty’s best Mexican restaurant would benefit from some sensitivity training. You never see this kind of terminology used anymore.

Almaty Mexican Cuisine

I was in Thailand recently. I found this place in Phuket Town near the Thai Airways office. I like anyplace with “downtown” in the name. It reminds me of Philly. Nice soup, eh?

Below Uighur food at its best in the Green Bazar in Almaty. The Uigur place.

Uigur food almaty green bazar

It’s still winter in Almaty, and they can still find wild garlic for this plate of lagman. I was going to go in back and help the chef snap the noodles back and forth in the kitchen. Wild Garlic lagman.

Uigur Beshbarmak Almaty Bazar

This beshbarmak is the best I’ve ever had. It’s almost as good as the duck soup at the Sang Kee Peking Duck House in Philly.

Awesome plov at the Taiga restaurant in Dushanbe. This is a must, but I forgot the address.
Taiga Restaurant Dushanbe Plov

Plov at the Taiga restaurant

Plov at Taiga in Dushanbe

I am finding some unusual items on menus in Almaty.Exotic items found
Just in. Info on high-standard Indian cuisine in Dushanbe and Afghanistan. Aid workers only, please. If you’ve been in and out of Kabul, you’ve been to this place.

Delhi Dhaba Dushanbe Tajikistan

Delhi Dhaba in Dushanbe. The menu is above.

Here’s what Dave McNally and I had to say about this critical topic last year.

Check out the Cottage Annex, just down from the Metro TV station. Recently renovated yet under the same customer friendly management.

Banku at the Cottage Annex

They have excellent jollof rice, riz gras, and other food available on a more or less random basis from what I can tell.Just be sure to inquire about the load-shedding schedule so you don’t have to chug your icy cold STONE beer just to escape the generator noise.

Way better than Tante Marie

That spicy Ghanaian tomato and onion chutney looks fantastic.

And the portions…the portions are perfect.  Being a sort of health nut these days, I am really counting those calories.  Yet at the ‘Annex’ you can load up on a huge plate (you can even ask that they not put mayonaise on the salad and get a good 2000 or so calories like that.

But it is the ambiance that makes the joint.  A true multi-faceted dining experience.  At one of their two entrances, you can get “brochettes au village” fresh.  Once you walk past the newly erected cinder block wall painted in a tasteful mauve/lemon amarillo color, and enter the serene abode of the cottage you have your choice of the terrace or gazebo dining areas.  The lighting and tasteful display of beer advertisements and subtle messages inviting you to try Maggi products all collide in a gentle culinary train wreck.

What more can I say.  Zagat would give it a 25, easy (ok 24).
But RIP in Accra: The Ethiopian Restaurant. Let’s face it. The now-defunct Ethiopian Restaurant was the best place to eat in Accra. It’s a crime someone hasn’t started another Ethiopian in the city.

True, the Ethiopian joint was delicious.  Maybe some enjeera surrogate food item can be made from flattened banku dough?  Add a few dollops of red-red, minced goat meat, onion+pepper, fried plantain, and possibly a desert of ginger bitters and popcorn.

Somebody slap me if I ever suggest a restaurant in Accra that is not Ghanaian. The European places are one bad meal after the other.

Banku and okra at the Cottage Annex in Labone, Accra, Ghana. I love goat soup.

Banku at the Cottage Annex in Labone Accra Ghana

I hope President Bush got some of this on Wednesday when he was here. The culinary pleasures of banku are really underrated.  It’s amazing that a slightly fermented mass of pounded corn can be so rewarding.Missing Labone chop. I’m going to check out the Ghanaian place in Washington, D.C.


Jollor rice Ghana West Africa

The Ghana cafe in DC has some decent Ghanaian cuisine, but the lack of essential sulfur compounds in the Northeast soils makes the quality of the banku and other corn-based staples less satisfying.  Nutritionally deficient, the colorful decor and somehow lively street ambience can make up for it.  Nevertheless, you will be hard pressed to satisfy your yearning for aptikeshie, humidity, and copious Maggi-motif design.

Check out this Wiki on palaver sauce.

Palaver Sauce

Palaver sauce Ghana food Accra West Africa Nkontimire

I really miss the Cellsbridge for the chicken and chips. What the hell is a Cellsbridge anyway?

Also, a maquis like this one in Lome.Maquis, actually in Lome not Accra.


  1. Have been in many of the restaurants in Dushanbe that you mentioned. The Taiga was just down the street from where I and my friends lived. I have many fond memories of Dushanbe was there on and off for ten years between 2005 and 2015.

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