Gambian Home Cooking is a full day experience. You will be picked up from your hotel and travel by land rover to Serrekunda Market. On the way you will discuss with the tour guides the dishes you intend to prepare and cook. Usually, on route, you will also pick up some blocks of ice to keep your provided soft drinks nice and cool throughout the day. Once there you will join the hustle and bustle of everyday life as Gambians go about their business trading wares in the vast market place. You will spend about an hour wandering through the market purchasing fresh ingredients, which might typically include fish, meat, rice, vegetables and spice. Be sure to take some water with you from the land rover!
Next stop is a typical Gambian family compound. The tour guides will change into more practical attire for cooking and you will be given the option of traditional Gambian dress or aprons. The menu can be varied between meat and fish dishes like Yassa, to Benachin rice. We also make local juices like Baobab and Wonjo juice, which is a dark cranberry-coloured juice, made from boiling the dark red flower from the sorrel plant.
So the preparation begins with a small fire set under a huge cooking pot. Then the fish or meat is prepared and all the vegetables. You will be doing all of this, not least the pounding of onions, garlic, peppercorns and seasoning leaves. The pot now be ready to start cooking. Ingredients are gradually added and stirred. Eventually, the rice is cooked separately before laying out the whole meal for serving. This whole process is easily 3 hours of preparation interspersed with talking to family members and local children.
Finally, the food is placed in the centre of the compound and locals are invited to join the meal, eaten cross legged on the floor with your hands (a fork is provided if you need one!). The Baobab and Wonjo juice is shared around to wash it all down.
There is just time to clear up, say your goodbyes and head off back to your hotel and reflect on the unique experience you have just shared. Nobody else provides such an insight into typical Gambian living.
(*) All prices are approximations due to currency fluctuations.