The great Phil Rosenthal once said, “If you had a giant mansion, would you spend your entire life in just one room? No, you’d explore the rest of the house!” And that’s how I feel about eating. We live in a world of flavors and cultures, we might as well explore them! Plus, In and Out just gets old.
So, in this series of blogs, I’m going to take you on my adventures of eating around the world, all while never actually leaving LA.
This past weekend, we took a drive into Inglewood and cruised for some authentic Somali food at Banadir Somali Restaurant. Now, having never been to Africa, or tried Somali food before, I had no idea what to expect. All I knew was that I was excited to try whatever I could from this East African cuisine.
We drove by the nondescript blue awning and made our way into a total hole in the wall. Now, when you see the seats on the chairs are as worn down as the knees-holes on my elementary school pants, you know you’re in for a treat.
We were seated warmly by the elder Somali gentleman behind the counter who then explained to us the simple menu. Basically, choose a meat (chicken, beef, tilapia or goat) and it comes with a soup, rice, salad, banana and tea. Each of us got the Goat Meat and Rice platter, but before we knew it, three orders of delicious potato/vegetable soup were already on our table. And it came with this spicy green dip on the side that you could mix in to really give your mouth a kick.
Not a single patron of the restaurant was speaking anything remotely to English and I loved it. It seriously felt as if you were transported to a little cafe on the shores of Mogadishu.
Soon enough, our goat and rice platters, TOOK OVER the table. And they were Huuuuuuuge. Just massive portion sizes of hearty, authentic Somali food. I had actually never eaten goat meat before, however I was quite taken aback at just how flavorful it was. It was absolutely delicious, seasoned just right and the grilled tomatoes and rice it was served with made for an awesome and complex bite.
And for those who would be hesitant to try goat, don’t be. it’s pretty much just like a little more tender beef. It fell apart in your mouth and the bits of bone that were still attached had sooooo much flavor to it. Try and take a little step outside your comfort zone. Your taste buds will thank you.
We finished up with a banana and a hot cup of the traditional Shaah tea, which no joke, was one of the best teas I have ever drank. It was like a cinnamon and cardamom spice drink that was just delightful and a great way to finish your meal.
And with the entire combo running you $13.99, it’s probably one of the best bang for your bucks you can get in this city. Run, don’t walk, to Banadir, and spend an evening on a culinary escape to East Africa.
Banadir Somali Restaurant – 137 Arbor Vitae St, Inglewood, CA 90301