Nana Kwaku and I spent three wonderful weeks in the Motherland. We spent 8 days in West Afrika in Ghana and 14 days in East Afrika in Tanzania. We visited cities, villages, and spent time on the beach. We traveled by plane, bus, boat and taxi. Through it all we met many wonderful people, some are US expatriates and some are continental Afrikans. We will be sharing reflections and more from our trip over the next few weeks.
One question we had before we left was how easy it would be to eat vegan or raw vegan while we were there. Truth be told it was challenging at times. What is locally available or affordable is much different from what we have here in the USA. None the less, we were able to find several vegetarian restaurants and even one raw food restaurant! Most restaurants did have at least one vegetarian option (generally curried veggies). We did have to resort to french fries (or chips) or steamed veggies a few times. Fortunately a few of our stays were at locations where the proprietors were vegan themselves and the food there was wonderful.
In Ghana in particular the range of vegetables was limited. Mostly we saw cabbage, onions, red bell pepper, tomatoes, yams and potatoes. Issues of water quality across the continent meant eating mostly cooked veggies except where we were confident extra measures were taken to address the potential for contamination. There was more variety in Tanzania, including kale, especially in the northern portion where the climate was cooler. The range of fruit available in both countries was outstanding. Bananas, mangos, pineapple, avocados, papaya, oranges, limes, lemons, guava, watermelon, and more were readily available and the flavors were fabulous.
As we ate I had an eye out for tastes and recipes that I could recreate at home. You will see my versions of these showing up here soon. In the mean time here photos of some of the meals and beverages we enjoyed. We also had delicious greens including Afrikan kale on several occasions which are not shown.
We ate too much white bread (toast for breakfast) and overall we ended up gaining weight because of what we had available to us, and our reliance on restaurant food. We did see, however, that it is possible to eat vegan and even raw vegan with access to your own kitchen, attention to sanitation, and some modifications for what is available locally.
Do you have experience eating vegan in Afrika or other countries? What has your experience been? Join the conversation.