To eat or not to eat?

I used to devour street food on backpacking trips as a student. Now I take more care over what I eat – with limited time for working I can’t afford to get ill on a reporting trip if I can help it. But I’m always tempted by the scents wafting over from street food stalls, by sitting down at the roadside and watching the world go by. Street food is also served up quickly, an alluring prospect when you’re trying to squeeze in food between back-to-back interviews.

I had been eating pizzas and steaks in Juba’s expat-oriented restaurants for several days. The food was decent, but repetitive. So when Silvano, a great local journalist who was working with us as a fixer, suggested a street food lunch I let my rumbling stomach overrule my head (although I avoided the meat, succulent-looking as it was).

The food, dear readers, was delicious, the best I had in Juba. I can’t say I knew exactly what all of it was – the rich bean and potato stews were easy enough to identify, the slimy, lip-smacking green-yellow mixtures not so much. But the variety of vegetable concoctions, served with sharp lime, piquant chilli sauce, fluffy bread and a savoury pancake not dissimilar to Ethiopian injera, were music to my tastebuds.

And, most importantly of all? I didn’t get food poisoning.

Rachel Savage, South Sudan Reporting Fellow 2018

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