Sunday, December 3, 2017

Going rogue with city’s popular street food


By Tasneem Hassanali

        Back in Arusha, the only street food I knew of was fried cassava with homemade salsa sauce and some kachumbari [combination of tomatoes, onions and cabbage mixed with salt or lemon] that was either served on a plastic plate or wrapped in a newspaper for take-away sakes.

When I moved cities, as usual I was excited to try new foods. But in that endeavour I never thought that I will be biting meat off a bicycle spoke. Sounds familiar? Sururu, miniscule cubes of beef poked on a skewer, usually the one that looks like a bicycle spoke - and skewered or roasted over a charcoal grill has long been a delicacy of Dar es Salaam.

The meat is usually marinated simply with salt that also adds as a natural preservative.

Popular sururu spots:

You’ll find plenty of sururu grills on the streets of city centre, kariakoo and upanga. It’s also quite common to find sururu grills next to a Zanzibar Mix spot.

Served with:

Sururu is typically enjoyed with warm rojo (a puree of tomatoes, chillies, salt and lemon cooked over medium heat), ripe bananas and flat bread known as hajam. Two popular ways of having it are: One is to dip the meat in rojo and bite off the spoke [for the hygiene freaks, some places use disposable wooden skewers], second is to pluck the meat off the spoke and serve them over the flat bread.

Each sururu stick costs between Sh80 and Sh100, while a banana and flat bread cost Sh500 each. Rojo is served free and unlimited.

My verdict:

Choma (barbeque/roast) foods are not a new thing among locals, in fact it has a rich and storied history in the Tanzanian cuisine. Sururu likewise is not a taste that needs to be adapted – it’s just a simple, fast way of enjoying smoked meat on the city’s busy streets. Like the saying goes, ‘street food is the salvation of human race’ – and this couldn’t be any truer when it comes to savouring sururu.