Rwanda

Food & Drink

Food

The local "Brochettes" (kebabs) are delicious and are available in most bars and restaurants. Small bars will primarily serve goat brochettes, and goat liver brochettes are often of higher quality to the locals. Zingalo is goat intestine, sometimes also served as a brochette. Some locals prefer this and it could be brought to you without asking at very "local" places, so try to see whether other diners seem to be enjoying the spiral looking treat and specify you do not want it when you order ("OYA zingalo!"). Some restaurants also serve beef and fish brochettes, and a few will serve chicken. Brochettes are usually taken with french fries ("frites") or fried or grilled ibitoke.

If Rwanda has a staple food, it is ibitoke (sing. igitoke). Ibitoke are starchy, potato-like bananas, which are not sweet like plantains. While plantains are available in Rwanda, they are not seen as particularly Rwandan food. Igitoke/banana are served boiled in sauce, grilled, or even fried. You can also refer to them as matoke, which is usually easier for foreigners to pronounce. The sweet bananas in Rwanda are delicious but considerably smaller than the matoke bananas. If you want this type of banana, ask for small banana or sweet banana and you will usually get what you are looking for.

In urban areas a local buffet known as "Melange" is sold at lunchtime. This consists of a buffet of mostly carbohydrates such as potatoes, bananas, rice, and cassava accompanied with some vegetables, beans, and a small amount of meat or fish with sauce. Note that Rwandan buffets are not all you can eat! You may fill your plate only once, and with practice you'll be able to stack your plate high like the locals do. Prices range from just over USD1 to USD5 or even USD10 depending on the grade of the eatery and the variety of food available. Most of the upper segment buffets (USD3 and above) offer a salad buffet too. Note that many of the cheaper Melange places are unmarked.

Kigali has a much better range of restaurants than the rest of the country. Here you can find several Indian and Chinese restaurants, as well as Italian, Greek, French and multi-cuisine establishments charging around USD10 for dinner.

Drink

In most shops you will find milk, water, juices and soft drinks. In most bars the choice is limited to their offering of about 5 different sodas and 4 different beers, Turbo King, Primus, Mützig and Amstel. Primus and Mützig are available in small and large sizes, whereas Amstel is available only in 330mL bottles. Note that Rwandans are known for their fondness for large beers and when you order Amstel, it is common for a server to bring out 2 bottles at a time. Bralirwa in the west of the Rwanda produces most of the beer and soft drinks available in Rwanda. Inyange produces juices and soft drinks.

There are also local banana beer preparations called Urwagwa, normally brewed at home and available only in plastic containers but now also sold in bottles at some shops and bars.

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Rwanda - Travel guide

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