This post should be pretty fun, I’ll be talking about candy, snacks, bon bon, and tangal. All essentially meaning the same thing of something sweet or savory that’s empty in nutritional value. In Senegal, there are 2 types of sweets people can buy.
The first, the pre-packaged (either in Dakar or abroad). These are each individually packaged so usually one costs 100 cfa. That’s about $0.20. They also sell ones that are 50 cfa ($0.10). The most common type packaged goodie is a cookie. Locally, they are known as biscuits or bon-bons. There are also little individually wrapped hard candies. In a boutique they are normally stored in a plastic twist top container. They are sold by money amount. For example, you will tell the seller you want 25 cfa of a certain candy and you’ll get 1-3 pieces depending on the type of candy.
These are called “ships.” Like chips, but said very quickly. The taste like a not crunchy cheeto. They are 50 cfa a bag.
These are klass cookies. The center of this chocolate cookie, is chocolate cream. :)These are a PCV favorite.
These are the individually wrapped candies. Ginger, mint, and coffee are the most popular flavors.
This is a small snapshot inside a boutique where you can get these goodies I’ve been talking about. You can see cookies on the right, Rolli cakes above that, etc.
The second type of snack/candy is hand wrapped in Senegal usually by local women. These take more explaining. Peanuts are the most common snack, they can be roasted in shell form or shelled and roasted in salt or sugar. Sellers will have 25 cfa-100 cfa bags to sell. I love the salt roasted peanuts. Another common snack comes from the Baobab tree. This tree is common all over this continent. In Senegal, these trees are meant to have old magical power of genies. To be honest, I don’t think I fully understand what people believe about them, all I know is, it’s a bad idea to fall asleep under one because people might look at you strangely. Something else neat about these trees is that each one you see is easily hundreds of years old. They grow very slowly, but their fruit is delicious. In Wolof we call the fruit “buyi.” It has different names in each local language. Then we also have jujubes, ditakh (a local fruit that tastes like a dry kiwi), madd (another local fruit in which you carve out the seeded fruit and mix it with sugar and hot pepper to eat), shrimp chips (locally known as “crevettes”- shrimp in French), and mangoes. Many of these things are seasonal. Small oranges, jujubes, and ditakh from the south of the country come out in cold season. Madd, cashew apples, and mangoes are in the spring. Of course, we also have donuts. Unfortunately, not like a commonly known donut, more like a sweeted flour and water, deep fried. That sounds like a donut right? Just without yeast.
This yummy fruit is better known as “sweet sopp” I believe it’s called corossol in English.
Here are some salt-roasted peanuts.
These are cashew apples. You can see the nut on the bottom side of the apple.
These are baobab trees. They are deciduous so they lose their leaves every year.
You’ll notice a lot of these local snacks are fruit, this is because fruit is a treat. It is a delicacy that is hard to come by, and only families with extra income can afford it, unless in small amounts of money. It’s very rare to see families buy kilos of apples. There are exceptions of course, for example, during the height of watermelon season, I see families buy a watermelon for a third of the price of a kilo of apples, but either way it’s a treat. It’s not an item that sits on dining room tables, waiting to be consumed. Almost all of these items you can find from sellers (mainly women) sitting on the sidewalk or in boutiques.
For my next couple of posts, I’d love to hear from you guys. What do you want to know about? Truthfully, after 22 months, I feel like I’ve covered most things, and other things just seem so normal and insignificant to me, so tell me what you are curious about! Just comment below!
Until next time, you’ll find me sneaking off to snack on mangoes,