The Unvegan

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Going Tribal at Chagga Grill

I like my chicken fried.

After reaching the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro and coming back down to the town of Moshi, I learned a good amount about our guides. One of these things was that they came from a tribe called Chagga. Of course, the mere mention of tribes in Africa elicits images of nomadic people living in the wilderness, but this is simply not the case. In fact, most Chagga are Christian and either farm or live in the city of Moshi. I only mention this because after we returned to Moshi, our guide, Thomas from the mountain went above and beyond to bring us to a place for dinner called Chagga Grill.

You can’t cage this place!

Chagga Grill had the looks of a dive bar in the South. As in the American South. In one corner there was a pool table and across from it was a bar protected by a wire cage. We asked our guide if things got pretty rowdy at night, but he responded that he had never seen it get like that. Actually, he said that places like this usually shut down around 10:00 and although there were night clubs, the night life was pretty much nonexistent. This was definitely a local place though, as we found we were clearly the only tourists.

After ordering a cold bottle of Serengeti Beer, I took a look at the menu and found Chips Chicken, a dish that I had eaten on the mountain, but knew would be quite different at ground level. Chips Chicken is simply chicken with fries and in all the cases I found the chicken was fried. But this wasn’t like the fried chicken at home, which was dipped in a batter or breaded in some way. Instead, it was much simpler, with just a little bit of spice. The result was juicy, crispy and overall a pretty good dinner. The fries here were cut thick like steak fries and were definitely enhanced by a dip in the chili sauce.

Chagga Grill was a nice introduction to local food outside of the mountain. The prices were good, it was unquestionably local and the food wasn’t too shabby at all. As a bonus, no one even attempted to throw a bottle or glass at the cage protecting the bar. The waitress did, however, spill a beer on Thomas. It wasn’t as exciting as a rowdy bar, but it definitely gave us all a good laugh.