Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Gambas

Recently, we were invited to meet one of Charles' co-workers  at a 
bush bar restaurant overlooking the Wouri River in Douala.   
As newcomers, we don't turn down many invitations.  


Paquebot (pronounced Pa-cky Bo) is renowned among the expats and located right near the port.  

Bienvenue - Welcome for those of us who need translation.     

A hand-washing station was located
right beside the entrance to rinse our hands - with SOAP.  
We were on the 'air-dry' or 'shake' system to dry our hands though.       

The bush bar had an inner area along with an outside section on the sand.  
Due to the light rain, the outdoor portion was empty.    

We had an option to eat at the restaurant or to order our food for 'take-away'.   
Since it was a Sunday afternoon and the other guest 
wasn't eating, we chose to 'take-away' and have dinner at home.  

There was no menu.  

So we simply choose whatever was on the grill.  
I am not big on fish with all the parts looking at me, so we chose the gambas.  
 Gambas are prawns which are caught locally in the Wouri River and Cameroon is famous for them.   Prawns differ from shrimp in three main ways.  Prawns have bigger legs with claws on three pairs of legs, where shrimp only have claws on two pair of legs.   (Both have 10 legs).  Prawns are usually larger and reside in fresh water like rivers.  Shrimp are caught from salt water and are typically smaller than prawns.   The terms 'shrimp' and 'prawn' are often (mistakenly) used interchangeably, with 'prawns' simply defining larger shrimp.  
Our prawns are cooking at the back of the grill.  
From the outer deck, we could watch the fisherman right off the beach.  
This fellow (L'homme) was trying to sell gambas from the sand and calling out to us on the deck.  The bush bar happily cooks for anyone willing to pay a small charge. For our gambas, we paid 10,000 cfa (Central African Francs) for our small  bag (about $18 USD) and 1,000 cfa (less than $2) for the ladies to cook the food.  
The vendor didn't sell the gambas, so he is off to find another customer.  
I wonder how long he has been carrying these around?  
These ships were close into port.  
The two on either ends are both Tidewater ships.  
We'll have to come back on a prettier weather day to enjoy sitting on the deck.    
When we opened our "take-away" package at home, 
we were pleasantly surprised to find french fries 
And plantains
and some sort of hot sauce. 
           It had an unusual, strong smoky flavor and it was set-your-mouth-on-fire HOT.                         African red chilies - NOT on my recommended list.   
Fresh gambas with onions, tomatoes and peppers. Yum!
Charles graciously peeled the gambas for us 
and we had a wonderful dinner at home.  
I am functioning a bit out of my comfort zone with the food in general, just from the perceived cleanliness and sanitation viewpoint, but I know this will get better. 
  
However, this meal was something we'll definitely repeat.  
 While the fries were only passable, we agreed that the plantains 
and prawns were absolutely fantastic.  

We'll definitely go back for gambas! 

Bon Appetit! 

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