While no one has yet scoffed at the idea of my eating Indian, Italian and American food in Tanzania, I have received quite a different reaction about eating Chinese. Yet, Chinese I ate. Once again it was night time and The Flame Tree restaurant was close enough to my hotel to be considered a safe distance. The place is run by a Chinese woman and deals in continental (European) food as well as the aforementioned Chinese. But I was truly interested in seeing what Chinese food in Tanzania would be like.
After a long mulling over the menu and seeing how much the table full of Chinese people was enjoying their dinner, I decided upon the Kung Pao Chicken. You might scoff at the decision to go with such a common dish from American Chinese menus, but I have found Kung Pao Chicken to be a great barometer of Chinese food. Plus, it is a very real dish at Chinese restaurants in China. I also ordered some steamed rice to accompany my dish.
When it came out, it was just what I was hoping for and more. The dish was packed with chicken, peanuts and flavor, as well as some veggies that I avoided. Most interesting, though, was that it included Sichuan peppers in addition to regular hot peppers. These peppers are not simply hot, but actually make you mouth go numb wherever you happened to bite into it. Although these peppers are no longer illegal in the USA, I have never encountered them outside of China and was glad to reacquaint myself with them. Granted, after biting into the first one I actively avoided them, but their flavor was still there.
Basically, The Flame Tree was some surprisingly great Chinese food. It was much closer to authentic than many restaurants in the USA and certainly closer to its Chinese counterpart than the Italian and American food I ate in Tanzania. Plus, the numbing peppers were a nice touch.