China and Kenya Share Culinary Traditions
The annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival returns to the National Mall today introducing DMV residents and tourists to the folk traditions and cultural practices of this year’s featured countries, China and Kenya. As any worldly traveler knows, the best way to digest a new culture is through your stomach, and this year’s Folklife Festival will provide visitors a cornucopia of opportunities to taste their way through foreign lands. While meandering on the Mall during your lunch hour be sure to take advantage of the cooking demonstrations, food lectures and authentic concessions available from June 25-29 and July 2-6.
Just because I eat General Tso’s Chicken like its my job doesn’t mean I know the fist thing about Chinese food. If you are looking to get off-menu, check out the Five Spice Kitchen tent to discover Huiayang-style squirrel fish and brewed bamboo shoots taste like. Also visit these dining options for another perspective on Chinese cuisine:
Chi Fan Le! Let’s Eat! offers common Chinese entrees like lo mein noodles and dumplings, plus mapo tofu with pork, cucumber salad and a mango coconut dessert.
Dragon Tavern provides popular Chinese beers Tsingtao and Yanjing, plus a common Chinese bar snack, spiced boiled peanuts.
A staple of the Kenyan diet includes meat grilled over an open fire with cooked greens, ugali (cornmeal mash), fresh tomatoes and onions. At the Flavors of Kenya tent, authentic Kenyan chefs will be leading cooking demonstrations on regional dishes like Swahili fish, curry and the styling of West Kenyan cooking. Pick up some Kenyan grub at these concessions options:
Spice Routes Café features Kenyan coastal cuisine like spiced coconut rice dishes, curry, samosas, fries with masala sauce and sweet pastries.
Choma Grill presents dishes from the Kenyan uplands such as grilled beef, goat stew and fish stew with ugali and spinach, and beef samosas.
The Watering Hole carries Kenya’s own Tusker Lager and Kingfisher Lager, popular in Kenya but brewed in Bangalore, along with spiced beef samosas.
Festival hours are 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with concerts taking place most evenings from 6-8 p.m.
Richard is a freelance writer who enjoys building a healthy appetite with long runs around the city. When not logging the miles, he can be spotted training the palate at brunches, happy hours and food trucks.