Sudan Restaurant Tips by mafi_moya Top 5 Page for this destination
Sudan Restaurants: 27 reviews and 13 photos
If you've got a sweet tooth then Sudan is probably not the best place to be. Sudanese 'sweets' can actually be quite savoury and dry.
By far your best bet are the Turkish Bakeries found in most major cities. They specialise in pastry, lots of it, dunked in extremely sweet and sickly honey, coated in sugar, dipped in more syrup, then a bit more for luck. Then finally they dip it in again to make sure it's sickly enough and sprinkle on a bit more sugar!
Each bite must have about a month's worth of calories and they're so sweet and gloopy they're not even that nice. The gloop even sticks to the back of your throat on the way down!
But despite this they're strangely addictive. Wash it down with a nice sweet cup of sugary tea!
Tea shops in El Obeid
No day in Sudan is complete without a visit to the tea lady for a small glass of 'chai' - very hot, very sweet tea ideally flavoured with mint. Tea ladies are found on almost every street, sat on their tiny stool with a small fire and pot. And as you'd expect after years of practice, many are experts at making tea. You've never tasted it so good!
In temperatures of 45 degrees the last thing you'd think you want is a cup of boiling hot tea but it's surprisingly refreshing. And it's not just a great drink but also a key social occasion. Sat on upturned crates and wooden stools, it's a great place to meet and talk to people.
If you don't like sugar you may have a problem! The small glasses are filled almost halfway with sugar before the tea is added. Tea with milk is even sweeter and sicklier and generally reserved for special occasions or an evening with friends. Coffee is also drunk - again very strong, black and sweet. You'll find that the masses of sugar in the drinks is a good energy boost in such high temperatures.
Interesting info: Some (though I should clarify by no means all!) tea ladies are extremely poor single women who earn some extra cash by doubling as prostitutes. It came as quite a shock when I first found out!
Favorite Dish: Most tea ladies offer just that - tea. But some places also have a local type of donut, freshly fried and coated in sugar and eaten with milky tea. This is especially delicious first thing in the morning when it's fresh and piping hot.
In the lemon groves, making our own juice!
With the incredible heat in Sudan you'll find you need to drink plenty just to stay conscious! Fortunately there are plenty of delicious drinks to offer a bit of variety from plain old boiled or bottled water.
Boxes filled with masses of ice and freshly made fruit juice can be found at many food stalls. Tourists are generally wary of the quality of water and cleanliness of the boxes and the communal cups, but stop being a wimp and get stuck in! They're absolutely delicious and cost about 500 pounds (about 12p) My favourite is white guava juice (you can also get pink), others include very sweet orange, sour lemon and mango. Try mixing different flavours half and half (nos-nos).
Sometimes the ice boxes will contain drinks such as carcaday (hibiscus) and aradib (don't really know what it is - it's a thick jet black liquid and you'll either love it or hate it). This can depend on the time of year and is often for Eid festivals. Carcaday is particularly popular at Ramadan, and drunk either cold or hot.
Pepsi rules the roost in Sudan, although Coca Cola's influence is rapidly growing (despite the US ban on American companies operating here, which they seem to conveniently get around). There is also Stim (fizzy apple), Mirinda (fizzy orange), and to a lesser extent the old classic Vimto! For a local alternative try Pasgianos - like a herbier version of Vimto and extremely nice! Also try Maaza - still mango juice. All cost 500 pounds in Khartoum, but they can be more elsewhere.
Favorite Dish: Overall favourite has to be a glass of ice cold guava juice sipped while watching the sun set over the Nile... mmmm!
Not sure what it was but it tasted nice!
When in Sudan you will eat lots of fuul - there's just no getting away from it! But there are other things to eat as well. Of course the best meals are to be found in people's homes - which I encourage you to try whenever you get the chance - but most of these following eats are available to buy on the street and in cafes:
Near the Nile, fish is also very popular. Freshly caught it's usually served fried, with bread and flavoured with salt and lemon. Thamiya (like falafel) are easily found too and represent one of Sudan's few vegetarian options. Schwarma kebabs are found everywhere - usually chicken and beef and served with chilli sauce called shotta, although it comes without the salad and extras that you might get in the Middle East.
Other common food includes: sijuk (mini beef sausages), kibda (liver), kisra (very thin, tasteless 'bread'), bammiya (okra/ladies fingers) and burgers. There are also regional specialities such as assida in El Obeid (although personally I'm not a fan of that particular one!) Sudanese cuisine hardly ranks up there with Thai and Italian, but it's better than expected, healthy, cheap and pretty tasty.
Favorite Dish: An old guy near my house made excellent thamiya (he had a crooked back because he'd spent most of his life bent over his frying pan) so I'd often buy a late-night paper cone full of them, then drown them in salt and vinegar - how very British!!!
Hmm, that looks nice!?
Fuul, or mashed or stewed beans, is a food that no visitor to Sudan can avoid, no matter how much you might want to after the thousandth bowl! It's the national dish, it's sold everywhere, and it's eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner (and sometimes all three!) When it's cooked right it's delicious and very healthy, when it's not... well, less said the better!
Many new visitors make the mistake of eating it plain, in which case it's no wonder they don't like it! The proper way to eat it is mixed up with an assortment of salad, tomatoes, onions, strong 'jibna' cheese (like feta), salt, and 'shotta' - fiery chilli powder. Drown it a bit in oil and it's then eaten by scooping it up in some bread.
There are few 'restaurants' in the Western sense of the word in Sudan. Fuul can be bought from many small shops (they'll have a large pot outside that will be turned upside down to signal when it's empty). In some places you might have to bring your own bowl and you sit on an upturned crate or box to eat. This costs about 500 pounds (20 cents) depending on what other ingredients you have in it. Alternatively, for a classier experience, there are ramshackle restaurants with wooden tables and benches, tin roofs and waiter service! This will cost about 1000 pounds but the quality is usually much much greater than the corner shops.
Like most food in Sudan, fuul is eaten communally from one bowl - the more people at the table, the bigger the bowl, and the more fingers the merrier! You'd be a fuul not to try it! (sorry, couldn't resist that one!)
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