Suriname

Why Suriname

I chose Suriname because while I was living in the UK, I had a weekend in Brussels (I think it was Brussels) and my Lonely Planet City Guide recommended an out-of-the-way restaurant that served food from Surname. We went there, and the food was great. I cannot remember one dish, but I do remember loving it all.

Lunch in Suriname is the perfect way to refresh the memory.

My experience of Suriname

I’ve never been to Suriname. My only experience was that restaurant in Brussels – it might have been another city, but it was somewhere in Europe. The food was lovely.

The sum total of my knowledge of Suriname is that it is in South America and I know how to spell it. I do not know what the capital is, what the main religion is, or what language they speak. This is going to be a gi-normous learning experience. And that’s what this adventure is all about – learning new stuff!

Preparation

The last Sunday of January is the Australia Day long weekend, so we’ll have lunch in Suriname on Sunday 20 January. I am very much looking forward to doing all the research.

13 January 2019

Having done some research on Suriname, I think the restaurant must have been in Amsterdam. Suriname was formerly a Dutch colony and changed its name from Dutch Guiana to Suriname in 1975.

Reading about Surinamese cuisine, it sounds so exciting! With a combination of Dutch, Indian, Indonesian, Chinese and African cuisines, the variety of food should be phenomenal.

But I’m afraid it’s not. The recipes all seem to be chicken and rice. I found a fish masala recipe, but that is the only protein apart from chicken.

Sourcing some of the ingredients is a challenge. I cannot find cassava in any of the local shops that claim to sell international food. Google tells me that you can substitute sweet potatoes for cassava so I’ll zip over to the Dandenong Market during the week and see if I can find some cassava but if I cannot, I’ll have to use sweet potatoes.

Pom, which apparently is very popular in Suriname, needs taro but we had taro while we were in Samoa and, truly, I never want to eat it again. I actually found taro, which was a surprise. Google tells me that you can substitute it with potatoes. I’m using potatoes.

Surinamese peanut butter, Indonesian bay leaves – there’s some difficult-to-source stuff happening here!

The alcohol tipple has proven difficult too. There does not appear to be a national drink and, if there was, I imagine it would also be very difficult to source. I’ve gone for a cocktail called BBC – apparently it is popular in the Caribbean, which is just going to have to be close enough. The BBC stands for banana, Baileys and coconut. Plus a shot of dark rum. That sounds quite acceptable!

Lunch in Suriname is going to be a fairly sedate affair. Only the founding and life members will be there. Mmm, with only six of us, we might be able to squeeze in a game of Scattegories. I love playing Scattegories against Will, and I’m sure Jan will love it too.

A week out, the weather is looking fairly good at a predicted 24°. Luverly!

The menu

This is what the menu is looking like:

  • Pinda Bravoe (Peanut soup)
  • Saoto soup
  • Moksi alesi (translates as mixed rice)
  • Fish masala
  • Pom
  • Curried chicken
  • Bojo
  • BBC cocktail

Pom is touted as the national dish of Suriname – we have to give that a whirl!

Bojo sounds good – it is a cake made with grated coconut and cassava (most likely sweet potato in my case) and flavoured with rum and cinnamon. Yep. Sounds good.

The food

I owe Suriname a sincere apology for doubting the excellence of its cuisine.

The food was delicious. So delicious, in fact, that we couldn’t agree on the dish of the day. Was it the peanut soup? Or the pom? Or the moksi alesi? Or the chicken curry? Or the bojo? For mine, I think the bojo won out. It was fabulous, and definitely a keeper recipe. The peanut soup is also definitely worth having again.

I ended up finding taro, so used that in the pom. It was excellent (the pom, that is). With all due respect to the Samoans, the Surinamese use taro in a much more flavourful way.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any cassava for the bojo, so used sweet potato, as Chef Google told me I could do. So, so nice.

Here are the recipes for our faves – suriname_best recipes

Click here to see all our favourite recipes.

The drinks

Lauren and Will brought Dutch beer, which is fair enough. We were never going to be able to source Surinamese alcohol, so Dutch was probably as close as we could get.

The cocktail was lovely, but how could Baileys, dark rum and coconut cream not be lovely? The only link it had to Suriname was that it is supposed to be a Caribbean cocktail, and the Caribbean is not too far away. Sort of.

The ambience

We ate inside again, as it was just a tad too warm and glary outside. I can’t wait to get my patio roof built (hello Whitehorse Council, it’s now been seven months since we applied for the permit. Hello, is anyone there??)

We found some Surinamese music on Spotify but, after a while, it was a bit same-same.

The quiz

Will wrote the quiz. Lani did an excellent job of reading out the questions and answers and announcing the winner, who was Lauren. Go Lauren!

After the quiz we had a couple of games of Scattergories. It is such a fun game, and the perfect way to end another lovely day. I was very proud of my response to naming a song that starts with the letter D – Dirty deeds done dirt cheap.  Four points to Joy, thanks very much.

Here’s the factsheet – factsheet_suriname

Here’s the place-mat – place-mat_suriname

And here’s the quiz – suriname_quiz

The highlight of lunch in Suriname

I think the highlight of lunch in Suriname was discovering how wonderful the food was despite having grave reservations about the flavour and variety. There’s a lesson there – don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.

Where to next?

Hola Mexico! We’re going to Mexico on Sunday 24 February. Mexico was chosen when we mapped out our 2019 atlas. See you in Mexico in February!

Magaritas, tacos, magaritas, nachos, magaritas, enchiladas, magaratias.

Mexico is going to be great! Hola magaritas.

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