In case you haven’t gathered as much already, there are no fast food chains in Somaliland – no McDonald’s, no Starbucks, and no internationally recognised brand of fast food of any sort (even the ubiquitous branding of Coca Cola that is seen in many African countries is totally absent here… the logo has yet to invade Somaliland).
But if you’re feeling nippish, the Somali answer to fast food is the sambusa. These tasty snacks are sold all over the place in corner shops, street stalls, and dilapidated shacks. They are usually 500 Somaliland shilling a pop ($.10) and are unceremoniously served up to you on an old square of newspaper. If you’re lucky, you’ll get them piping hot. Given their small size, you can easily wolf down three or four in a minute or two.
What’s inside? It seems to vary substantially from place to place, but essentially it is a fried triangular pastry filled with some combination of minced meat, vegetables (potatoes, onions, peas, carrots, spinach, and the like), and spices (hot peppers, cumin, garlic, or cilantro).