All over Sudan, you'll find streetside cafes with burly men in dirty jellabiyyas ladelling brown sludge from a huge metal vat. This is fuul. In Khartoum, most local dukkans (grocers) have their own fuul pots, and you sit crouching by the side of the street.
Favorite Dish: Sudan's national staple food is fuul, essentially a bowl of mashed boiled beans. Now a bowl of brown sludge never appeals, so the Sudanese like to liven it up by adding extras such as jibneh (cheese), ta'amiya (felafel), toum (garlic), tamatim (tomatoes), shatta (chilli) and basal (onions), and topping it all with simsim (sesame oil). You scoop it out of the bowl using bread. Fuul done well can be delicious, but usually it is mediocre, and you can get terrible fuul which tastes as bad as it looks!
Variations include "bosh", which is upside down fuul....you fill a bowl with small pieces of bread, then mix into it a few beans, cheese, chilli and soak it all with fuul juice...this is the poor man's option, but if you eat late, this may be the only food available. Bosh, like fuul,can be good, but cold soggy bread is never the most pleasant of meals.
This restaurant is one of my favorites for sure. It is in Omdurman, right off shari sita (street six). The ambience is incredible.....there are tables set up outside where people sit, eat, talk, laugh, and drink tea.
Favorite Dish: My favorite dish happens to be the only one they serve........bush. It is a very local dish that Sudanese love. It is fuul with the bread mixed in (for those of you who know what fuul is).
It is prepared by first choosing how much bread will be needed.....generally, it's about 3-5 per person. They give you the bread and a big bowl....tear the bread into small, bite-size pieces until it fills the bowl.
Next, take the bowl of bread to a boy sitting next to a large pot of fuul (beans). He will scoop out the fuul about 4 or 5 times, and then add a lot of juice from the beans.
Now, you take the bowl to the man standing behind a buffet-looking bar, and he will ask you what you want in it.....I suggest getting it all.
He will take boiled eggs, tamiya, goat cheese, peanut butter, tomatos, onions, and a wonderful spices and put them all in the bowl. He then uses a coke bottle to smoosh it all together until it becomes the consistancy of play-dough or thick mashed potatos. The final thing he adds is oil to make it all stick together.
The bowl is then taken to the table where everyone sits around and uses their right hands to take off pieces of this wonderful dish. The hand gets messy, but it is worth it!
This might sound like a nasty thing to eat, but I promise it is delicious....I took many of my american friends there, and always they loved it. It is a unique and deliciously sudanese place to eat.
Don't expect any fancy eating places along the highways. There are traditional stopping places along the Khartoum-Wad Medani road that are used by long-distance lorry drivers and buses/coaches.
The first one is at Meseed where a string of cafes line the road. By day travellers can buy a cold drink , tea or coffee and a traditional breakfast of ful , eggs and sometimes liver .
At lunchtime traditional meals can be found, but it is in the evening that the place comes alive with the smell of grilled lamb. Plumes of smoke rise from the barbecue grills. The plastic chairs and tables are transformed under fairy lights, and lorries are double parked , waiting till the early hours to cover the last leg of their long journey from Port Sudan to Khartoum.
Another stop preferred more by buses is at Kamlin.
I was recommended to go to this restaurant and was looking forward to it. The plave was not that clean, most items on the menu were not available and what we got was all from packets or frozen food stuff.
Favorite Dish: None
Actually, the fish is pretty fresh and not bad. It comes from the local fish market, only a few blocks away from this restaurant. You can get breaksfast, lunch and/or dinner here 7 days a week.
Favorite Dish: Nile River perch.
Also located on the River Nile, this restaurant is a good choce for outdoor eating when visiting the Muslim neighborhood of Ombduran.
Favorite Dish: Random, unidentifiable fish -- resunebably caught fresh from the River Nile.
If you can call anything in Sudan "touristy" this might be it. That said, it is not. There are very, very few tourists in this city at all -- mostly foreign busienss people, who find this restaurant safe and reasonably good. The location is nice -- right alongside the River Nile. You can even book a tourist cruise on the river from this location. Since the River is one of the best things about this city, I would recommend doing the cruise!
Favorite Dish: The buffet is standard, but perfectly good. Nothing stands out, however.
Delicious serves great meals and takeaway foods such as shawourmahs, beefburgers etc. at very reasonable prices. Delicious also has an Ice Cream Parlor in Riyadh near the McNimer pharmacy.
Favorite Dish: Good meals and takeaway foods such as shawourmahs, beefburgers etc. at very reasonable prices.
If you are fed up with beans and falafel then there is the great opportunity to go for the best pizza in Sudan in the Pizza restaurant. Its located two blocks south of the Palace. The only disadvantage is the irrigated garden. The air is more humid than elsewhere in the city. Order your pizza (about 1000SDD) as a take away.
The best juice shop is on Sharia el Nile next to the Blue Nile Sailing Club. A juice pressed from fresh fruits costs 250 SDD.
Favorite Dish: In every city or larger village there are places to eat. restaurants or take aways are every where. The cuisine will be traditional, for sure fuul (beans) and taamiya (felafel) will be served. Chai (tea) is served everywhere in the country.
All travel off road or on road to the west is devoid of restaurants as such. But, there are a number of tea/coffee shops. These normally consist of metal tables and chairs under a straw or cane construction. Passers by can have tea, coffee , cold drinks like Coke or Pepsi ,or the local alternatives, and simple meals.
Not very hygienic, but welcome to the traveller.
Favorite Dish: mint tea
Visit during Eid al-Adha, and as long as you are outside Khartoum, chances are high that you will be invited to celebrate with a family. Eid al-Adha commemorates Ibrahim's slaughtering of the ram, so many a sheep's throat is slit on the first day of Eid.
I was given the dubious task of holding down the legs of my host's sheep, while my friend Ammar went moved in for the kill, expertly slicing through the neck. Minutes later, the sheep had been skinned (a tip for those who fancy giving it a try...slice the skin around one of the hoofs, then blow lungfuls of air into the cut...the sheep will blow up like a balloon, and the skin will just peel off), it was hung up in a corner by its hind legs, blood dripping into the dust while strips of meat were carved off, the flesh still warm.
Nothing goes to waste, so Eid al-Adha is not a celebration for the squeamish...I was handed slices of raw heart and liver with a dash of fresh chilli, grilled and plaitted intestine, bones (I was supposed to suck the marrow from within, but passed on that one...), hoof meat, skull meat...I have no idea what happened to the testicles, and think it best not to ponder whether they found their way into that strong-tasting stew I was forced to eat.
Vegetarians stay away!!!
We carried a large mess tent which was erected every lunch time and evening. Mattresses were placed on the floor for us to sit on (three of us had brought a collapsible picnic chair to sit on). As we were waiting for lunch or dinner to arrive, bowls of olives, dried fruit, biscuits, pringles and sweets were served.
For the first couple of days, fresh meat was cooked, after that, only tinned stuff was available.
Breakfast was served al fresco, as it was easier and quicker for the camel handlers to dismantle the mess tent while we ate.
For some reason I do not have any pictures of the mess tent, so you'll have to make to with a photo of Jean and Ali in the desert.
Favorite Dish: Soups.
The food is plentiful and very tasty. The kitchen is run by George's wife, who is Italian, so there is some emphasis on pasta and other Italian / European dishes.
Favorite Dish: Breakfast starts with half a grapefruit. There is usually eggs (boiled, fried or scrambled) and sausages, cheese and meats. Cereal, jams, toast, fruit and juice.
Lunch starts with a salad followed by a pasta dish. Once you think you can eat no more, the main dish arrives! We had chicken, beef and fish while we were there, served with potatoes (mashed, fried or chips) and vegetables. The meal is finsihed with a yummy dessert. Lunch is served from 13.00 until 16.00.
Dinner is available from 19.00 until 21.00 and consists of a starter which is usually soup (and very tasty they are too), followed by a meat or fish main course with potatoes and vegetables and fruit to finish.
Iced water is always available on the table, with a bowl of fresh limes for squuezing into the water. The tap water in the hotel has been filtered, so is potable.
If you've got a sweet tooth then Sudan is probably not the best place to be. Sudanese 'sweets' can actually be quite savoury and dry.
By far your best bet are the Turkish Bakeries found in most major cities. They specialise in pastry, lots of it, dunked in extremely sweet and sickly honey, coated in sugar, dipped in more syrup, then a bit more for luck. Then finally they dip it in again to make sure it's sickly enough and sprinkle on a bit more sugar!
Each bite must have about a month's worth of calories and they're so sweet and gloopy they're not even that nice. The gloop even sticks to the back of your throat on the way down!
But despite this they're strangely addictive. Wash it down with a nice sweet cup of sugary tea!
Africa Road, P.O. Box 12290, Khartoum, Sudan
Good for: Couples
Cornich St, Port Sudan, 79800, Sudan
My wife and I lived in the Burj Al-Fateh Hotel for 5 months. The staff (and there's plenty of them)...more
More Regions in Sudan