Finding Good Food in the Gambia

February 2, 2014 by


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I am a lucky duck.

I have been fortunate enough to travel to the usual and not so usual…frankly, some of the most rural villages around the world, experiencing some of the daily jobs that locals have been performing (sometimes for centuries).

I recently spent nearly two years in Indonesia, moving around the islands and the mainland, working the rice fields, tea plantations, driving tuk-tuks and before moving to West Africa, I assisted a family who bred Siamese Crocodiles in Mekong, Cambodia.

I’m lucky in that I am sponsored, which I have been given flack over because it’s seen as selling out in some way. I obviously don’t see it that way because without the sponsorships, I wouldn’t be able to write.

I was given the opportunity to move to Banjul, along the coast of The Gambia. I would’ve stayed in South East Asia but my funds were running out and with the help from my sponsors, I was able to get a flight to Banjul through flythomascook and a better paying job as a sous-chef at a small B&B near the Albert Market. I think they hired me more as a “European food Consultant” to cater to the tourists… I’m still not entirely sure.

I was also super excited that there is a major Asian influence within the country though, meaning I wouldn’t have to give up the amazing Eastern and Asian foods I am so used to now. Writing is my life but food is my passion so finding Asian or Indian food in Gambia was almost literally the first thing I did after I booked into the hotel.

Golden Bamboo Garden (Chinese Restaurant)

This restaurant has more of a Thai flavour to it with a mix of other Asian cuisines. They add a little bit of coconut which lifts the flavour to something out of this world.

I sit outside mostly, it’s full of trees which I love because it gets hot here, even at night. I have their thick spring rolls with a fiery peanut sauce, some fried calamari (sometimes I have their prawns). They also sometimes have a selection of other Asian foods and drinks such as Sake and Wonton soup, as well as a selection of international teas, beers and wines.

The Clay Oven (Indian Restaurant)

You get small plates and you can order a variety of dishes that everyone can try and see if they like it. I thought maybe that the food would be sort of ‘westernised’ or have a mass processed feel but it didn’t. I enjoyed their Roti’s and curries, which go well with a beer (I think I had an ale…I might have had a couple the first time I came here)

I’m still figuring out Gambia, I don’t get a hell of a lot of time to travel around but I’m sure no matter your food favourites, you will find something to obsess about on either of these restaurants menus. I’m not entirely into the traditional Gambian food just yet, so I’m still sticking to what I know…

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About Jack Phillips

Jack Phillips, a photographer and travel blogger sponsored to work around the world trying out odd jobs and quirky careers. A lover of beer, wine and food. Makes sure there’s plenty of it no matter the destination.