Well, it is morning and drinking my roommate’s healthy green tea made me realize at what point I was back in the fold, as one may say, from my more adventurous times in Gabon. While the occasional poutine in Montreal might sometimes confuse my taste buds, I think that nothing will ever beat the menu illustrated in the picture.
Eating the tough meat of sanglier, or wild board in English, made me feel like Obelix in the Asterix and Obelix comic strip. I had trouble enjoying it as much as Obelix does, partly because the meat was super tough.
Another interesting dish is the lacoste (caiman) which is caught in the nearby rivers and sold at the market. I actually think I once had a taste while wearing a Lacoste polo….
Python is surprisingly good and tastes like chicken…However, eating all these animals was a real effort for me, and I often thought that I was an unwilling guest on the Man vs Wild show on the Discovery Channel. Most times however, I would simply stick with the fresh carpe caught hours before in the nearby might Ogooué River. Served grilled, along with plantain, onions and rice, it is simply delicious, although I never warmed to the fact that true locals also eat the head…
Craving something special to eat? Maybe you fancy a monkey at the market? Given the fact that the Ebola virus is a pretty intense pathogen that makes you bleed to death and often infects primates in Gabon, I gave that particular monkey a pass…You can also buy smoked monkey if you prefer. Trust me it is not a nice sight.
Unfortunately, my stay in Africa also made me interact with some endangered species at the restaurant. A local favorite is the pangolin (an anteater of sorts). It is often found in soups and in braised dishes.Even though eating bush meat is an interesting aspect of living in Africa, and kind of got me closer to “nature” in sorts, I also felt quite uncomfortable snatching these beautiful animals from the rainforest for my “pleasure”.
Let’s say I was happy to be back home, although it did make me realize at what point conservation of wildlife is not on the agenda of many African states.To be honest though, maybe they have more pressing problems at hand.
It should be up to us and other institutions like the WWF to help out in prevention efforts, especially regarding endangered species.