Steve's Weird Food for Tanzania: Banana Beer!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

This one fell right into my lap. I'm with my big Dragoman tour now - 21 of us bouncing across Africa in a giant orange truck named "Christie". I'll have to write more about the overland experience another time, but for now, on to the beer!

The group had a "cultural visit" to the town of Mto Wa Mbu in Tanzania on Tuesday afternoon, where we saw rice fields, and banana plantations and had a nice local lunch. We also had a very very very long and bakingly hot trudge around the area that started to feel a bit like the Bataan Death March after about half an hour. However, one very pleasant stop was at the home of a local family who brew traditional banana beer.

Here's the woman of the house - she made the beer!

What they do is, approximately, is this: mash up bananas with water and let it sit and ferment for 4 - 10 days, depending on the prevailing temperature. Then they add a mash of sprouted millet that's been ground and dried. And I think they let it sit some more. The end product is exceedingly rustic. A sort of pale pink sludge with the ground up millet stuff floating on the top. Some of that gets skimmed off befreo drinking, but the end product is still decidedly chewy.

Banana Beer

Naturally, I had a taste, as did everyone in the group. It was actually reasonable - a sort of tangy concoction that had a bit of bite nd a bit of fizz. If it were diligently filtered and chilled, it would be quite nice. As it is, the best I could do was to chug the remains of the container, after our guide asked for volunteers to finish it off.
Well how could I hold my head up at the next hash if I couldn't even chug a half a container of banana beer?
And there you have it. More weird beverages, and yet more weirdness to come. Who knows what Christmas dinner will be like at a campsite in Tanzania?


Lisa said...

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm banana beer!

Viviane said...

Great to know that you can find beer anywhere! Wishing you a Merry Christmas Pam!

Amanda Isaak said...

Happy Christmas, Pam! I loved the giraffe pics! What's up with your wardrobe malfunctions?

Marilyn said...

Merry Christmas Pam. Looking forward to reading this years Christmas Dinner report.
Enjoy, loving the journey so far......

Unknown said...

Merry Christmas Pam!

eme said...

Merry Christmas Pam!

Unknown said...

Happy Ho Ho from the Great White North

Anonymous said...

Thinking about you on Christmas....hoping the rain stops!


Nomadic Matt said...

that didn't look good but it sounds delicious.

merry xmas

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