Cheap Eats

Waiter, what is the soup of the day?

You’ll be hard pressed to find a proper restaurant in Hargeisa, with the exception, perhaps, of several eating establishments within a handful of hotels that approach respectability. What you more commonly see is local, street-style “restaurants” which pretty much amount to a glorified shack with tables. The menu is usually non-existent, as they only serve one or two dishes at a time.

Don’t be fooled into a false pretext of variety by the cheerful paintings on the outside walls of the various dishes (supposedly) served – they are merely for decoration. They oddly remind me of a more primitive version of the sketchy food photographs in the windows of kebab shops and take aways in London (although the paintings here tend to be more appetising, perhaps because the restaurants here can’t base their entire business on only serving drunk people off the night bus).

If you can get over the dinginess and flies present in most of these places, the food is actually quite good. I’ve eaten some very flavourful Ethiopian food for the equivalent of $1 as well as a heaping plate of tasty pasta for $1. As people often eat with their hands, there is usually a sink in the restaurant and you are expected to wash your hands before you sit down to eat. The people working at the restaurant are generally quite friendly to foreigners, and serve you very hospitably.

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