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Peanut Butter Stews, Sweet, Spicy Coffee And Other Senegalese Staples

Cafe Touba, named after Senegal’s second most-populated city, is 25% guinea pepper

Without knowing where to look, you’d miss the entrance to Khadim’s Coffee Shop, no matter how sharp your eye is. It’s hiding on the first floor of building no. 68, tucked into the corner of Long and Church Street.

“I should get a bigger sign,” jokes owner Khadim Diagne.

Inside is a simple cosy set-up that embodies Africa, with wooden tables, chairs, benches, a sofa, bar stools and one stand-out blue metal table and chair combo, as well as an array of beautiful paintings hanging against a red wall.

A PEPPERY AND SPICY COFFEE
Khadim opened his coffee shop in 2017, but the journey began when he was still a youngster living with his grandmother. We all know how grandmothers love their cuppas, right?

Everything Khadim’s grandmother taught him about coffee and tea stayed with him when he moved to Dakar to live with his mother at age 18. In 2011, he packed his bags with no destination, and after travelling and city-hopping for days, landed in South Africa.

While he didn’t fall in love with this country instantly, upon taking a trip to Congo after only a few weeks in South Africa – he returned here to start working on his coffee business. Before the coffee shop, Khadim was preparing and selling coffee from his home.

Khadim’s Coffee Shop is the only place in the city that offers real West African coffee, cafe Touba, named after Senegal’s second most-populated city. The coffee is blended with 75% coffee beans and 25% of grains of Selim or guinea pepper, which are seeds used as a spice. This mix results in a peppery and spicy coffee that will blow your taste buds out of the water when you’re having it for the first time.

TRY FRESH BANANA MILK OR TEA
Khadim combines the coffee beans with the guinea pepper. He then grinds them into a powder. Once the powder has cooled down, he places it into a fabric over a pot. He pours boiled water through a filter over the pot and when it’s drained completely, he adds sugar (lots of it) and serves it hot.

“Senegalese people love sugar, we put in about four to six spoons of sugar in our coffee.”

Of course, if you don’t take sugar at all, you can be brave and go without it. You’re also able to opt for Toubaccino, which just means you’re adding milk to your coffee. Or you can go for a fresh banana milk or tea and even Attaya (a Senegalese green tea). Khadim warns that the Attaya is very strong. Think along the lines of macchiato but in tea. Otherwise, you can choose a fresh juice to accompany your meals.

FROM DEEP-FRIED FISH PIE SNACKS TO BEIGNETS
Coffee is not the only offering at Khadim’s. There’s a full Senegalese cuisine experience and all the food is halaal. You’ll find a number of sandwich options such as chicken, chicken mayo and beef, along with Fataya snacks (deep-fried Senegalese fish pie) and freshly baked beignets.

Main meals include thiere (a Senegalese couscous), vermicelli (Senegalese pasta) and thieb or yazza (Senegalese rice). All of these are served with daily sauces. The Friday special, which is a customer-favourite according to Khadim, comprises of mafe dishes (peanut butter stew) served with fluffy rice.

Choose from a beef stew with peanut butter sauce and a fish and okra stew in palm oil. Both mafe dishes are mixed with colourful vegetables and spices including tomatoes, carrots, garlic, paprika, turmeric, black pepper, and other spices.

Everything on the menu is under R100, so you’ll leave with a full belly and your budget intact. 

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By Simamkele Matuntuta

Images: The Works Brothers and author

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August 2019
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