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GABON DIARY: If you don’t eat fish then Libreville is not the place for you

By my assessment over the last three days that I have been here, fish and rice is the most popular dish in Libreville.

Fish comes as accompaniment to nearly all dishes here. Well, naturally fish because of Gabon’s expansive shoreline on the Atlantic Ocean.

Chicken is also a favoured item on the menu here, as is Feuille de Manioc, a meal prepared from cassava leaves served with – no prizes for guessing – fish.

The writer enjoying his breakfast at a hotel in Libreville, Gabon. PHOTO | DAVID KWALIMWA
The writer enjoying his breakfast at a hotel in Libreville, Gabon. PHOTO | DAVID KWALIMWA

Meanwhile, the cost of food is much higher compared to back home. Most food here is served alongside fresh vegetables and a mixture of tomatoes and onions.

For example, a plate of rice and fish goes for about Sh1,000, which is almost four times more than the same amount will cost you in Nairobi.

MEALS ON ORDER

A cup of tea at a middle end hotel will cost you about Sh200, with a can of soda retailing at Sh100.

Curiously, one hotel owner intimated to some of my colleagues that it’s possible to negotiate the price of accommodation but not food!

Diners enjoying their meal at a restaurant in Libreville, Gabon. PHOTO | DAVID KWALIMWA
Diners enjoying their meal at a restaurant in Libreville, Gabon. PHOTO | DAVID KWALIMWA

The average Nairobian who is used to eating on the go will however find it hard to adapt here, since most eateries prepare meals on order. And you could wait for upto two hours for your order!

As a reprieve however, waiters here are very friendly, with disarming smiles that will mellow even the most famished of clients.

The food is also prepared almost in the same way as it in Kenya, with less cooking fat and almost no pepper as is the case in many West African nations.