Monday March 20 2017

Who cooked best?

Students from Tooro showcase their food.

Students from Tooro showcase their food. Photo by Kadumukasa Kironde 

By A. Kadumukasa Kironde II

Every university worth its salt ought to have a culture. In this regard, Kampala International University is no exception. Last weekend saw the annual gala cultural take place and the three events that best sum up the occasion are food, dance and storytelling. I was invited to be an adjudicator for the food event and had the fortune of linking up with Chef Jane Musyoki, a top chef at one of the leading eateries in Kampala.

Rare delicacies
With more than 30 groups participating we spent the better part of the afternoon painstakingly wading through all the punters and admittedly we both learnt a good deal about foods from the different regions. Did you know that caterpillars are a delicacy in the Congo, DRC and are reserved for big shots and the very well to do?
We learnt that the Bamasaba not only eat bats which I discovered have a gamy taste and no doubt that one can discover several ways of preparing them and even make them exceedingly tasty.

Sadly, the Kenyans were a great disappointment as were the Nigerians who managed to display a mere two items; semovita and sauce. However, to be fair three groups stood out and were head and shoulders above the others. These were namely, the Bamasaba who were the overall winners followed by the Basoga and last but not least were the Rwenzori association.

The constant
Matooke constantly appears throughout the different regions of Uganda and in the case of the Bamasaba the local name is either gamatore or gamadoote. Sweet potato and cassava is also, commonly found with pumpkins, Irish potatoes and cocoa yams. In the case of vegetables, as would be expected there is a plethora of staple runners such as beans, eggplant, mushrooms, peas, sukumawiki (kale), and naturally bamboo shoots better known as kamaleya or kamalewa in local parlance.

Air of competition
It was apparent that these particular Bamasaba have a keen interest in their food and they really went the whole hog and succeeded in putting on a display that showcased all their food and along with the Basoga they put up truly an impressive show.
The judges were unanimous in their decision even though it was a very tight race.

What: Kampala International University Cultural Gala
Unique: Caterpillars are a delicacy for dignitaries in Congo
Delicacy: Bambooshoots are very delicious and Bamasaba eat bats
The constant: Matooke
Winners: Bamasaba
Disappointing: Kenyans and Nigerians