Thursday, August 28, 2014

Remembering a really good chicken meal at Nando's Peri Peri in South Africa



Today, in Tokyo living a Travelife, the discussion at lunch turned to Nando's Peri Peri, the favourite chicken restaurant of everyone in South Africa.

One of my friends wants to bring the Nando's franchise to Japan after having tasted the famous peri peri chicken in South Africa. 

It was love at first bite.

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THE FIRST TIME I TASTED NANDO'S

This made me remember the very first time I tasted Nando's peri peri chicken, which was last November.

I'd flown into Kimberley, capital of South Africa's Northern Cape region, from the middle of the Kalahari Desert, after a really bumpy flight midway, when our Pilatus got tangled up in an airstream.

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I had the plane all to myself for about ten days, and this was something like Day 5; and I was actually taking advantage of all the space by sitting with my feet up on the opposite chair, working on my computer and answering emails.

I also had my iPod on, and I was listening over and over to Tori Amos singing "Sleeping with Butterflies."

MOVING AROUND WITH WIFI



We were flying low enough for me to catch the mobile WiFi signals via a portable device I was carrying.

And since I had WiFi in the air, I was completely focused on work -- answering emails and even actually ordering food from a menu for a big party in Manila the following weekend.

Then the plane started gyrating to the wind, and I swear it was like a roller coaster ride. 


My Pilatus in Northern Cape

And because my seatbelt was rather loose, I actually got thrown off almost into mid-air twice.

Fortunately, I was thinking so much about my emails that I didn't have time to get scared.

And the actual landing was pretty smooth, as my pilot Francois is an expert and the Pilatus is a great plane.


AN APPETITE FOR LIFE AND FOR LUNCH.
AND FINALLY, NANDO'S PERI PERI


But all that motion in the air certainly gave me an appetite for life and lunch. I was positively famished when we landed.

So from the airplane, we proceeded straight to the center of Kimberley for a shopping stop and lunch at Nando's Peri Peri, which is the favorite food of almost all South Africans.

I'd long been hearing about Nando's Peri Peri, but I'd never gotten around to trying it before.




THE QUINTESSENTIAL SOUTH AFRICAN EXPERIENCE

The place was full, and the restaurant had a distinctly African vibe in a stylish way, even if it was basically a fastfood joint.

I asked a South African friend: "Is Nando's really that good?"

He nodded and answered: "Every South African swears by it. In fact, it's so good that it's the only thing we order if we have to stay late at the office."



MY EYES DID THE ORDERING

That definitely got me hungry, and I ordered way more than I should have eaten. I wanted to try everything.

I got a half chicken with wild rice, spinach and feta cheese on the side, and sticky toffee pudding for dessert.



The server asked: "How do you want your chicken? Lemon and pepper, malt or spicy?"

I didn't really know, so I asked her: "What's the best way to have it?"

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TRAVELIFE WITH US

MOROCCO




SPICY IS THE WAY TO GO

She smiled and said, "Spicy is very popular."

So spicy, it was. And the verdict?



The chicken was incredibly good, and tender moist inside.

It was so good, in fact, that I was trying to figure out how to replicate it back home while I was eating it.



MEMORIES OF ANOTHER TRIP

And the sticky toffee pudding at the end was equally good as well.

It reminded me of the sticky toffee pudding the Travel Companion and I shared over lunch at Cape Town's waterfront, almost exactly one year before.

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TRAVELIFE WITH US

SOUTH AFRICA


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We'd just returned to Cape Town from a morning visit to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela had been jailed, and we'd decided to walk around the waterfront and look for a nice restaurant for lunch.

We found a decent steak place, but the best part of this lunch had been the sticky toffee pudding.



I just love sticky toffee pudding, ever since the first time I had it in England many years ago. This was love at first bite for me.

And as it's so hard to get a decent version in Asia, I've learned how to make good sticky toffee pudding at home. However, somehow, the ones I've had in South Africa have a particular sweet taste and they are very wet.

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It must be the sugar used here, I thought.

So, of course, after lunch, I headed to the supermarket to see what other sugar and spices I could buy, to take back home, to make peri peri chicken and sticky toffee pudding, to remind me of beautiful South Africa, in between my never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.

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