With massive chinese investments going on in Africa,we, the Africans have to contend with the infiltration of chinese culture,especially in the now many chinese restaurants coming up in Nairobi,Addis Ababa, Kigali-name it; just about everywhere!
I have to contend with this reality in Kigali during my tour of duty from Nairobi in this Easter period.
My guest house of choice whenever i’m in Kigali is Flamingo Restaurant in Kimihurura,
near Papyrus Bar and Restaurant.
China’s cuisine is deep rooted in its history.
The country is widely seen as having one of the richest
and most diverse culinary heritages in the world.
Chinese food is generally not just about eating… it is
about business deals and discussing important
As such, the seating arrangements in their
restaurant’s are typically for a minimum of four
Some restaurants have special rooms
reserved for private meetings.
When I dined at Flamingo Restaurant in Kimihurura,
near Papyrus Bar and Restaurant in Kigali, I learnt
that a meal, in Chinese culture, consists of two parts:
A carbohydrate source or starch — this is usually the
main food of rice, noodles, or mantou (steamed buns)
— and the accompanying dishes of vegetables, fish
Flamingo was the first Chinese restaurant in Rwanda;
it opened in 1995.
The décor reflects Chinese culture.
The serene and
quiet atmosphere allows patrons to relax and converse.
The smartly dressed waiters give excellent
service with a smile.
The menu offers a variety of dishes and the waiter is
on hand to give further explanations if needed.
After a brief chat, I was ready to place my order.
Even though rice is an important part of the meal in
Chinese cuisine, at some formal occasions, it won’t
even be served.
Chinese visitors to the restaurant order dessert first
and soup last, but locals prefer to have the soup first
and dessert last.
They serve each individual with
their own bowl of rice, while the other dishes are
served in communal plates or bowls.
For much of China’s history, human waste was used
as fertiliser due to the large population and scarcity
of farm animals, and this is the reason for the lack of
raw food — especially raw vegetables — on the Chinese menu.
I decided to start with the ice cream, which was delicious.
For the main course, I ordered the chicken sizzler and fried rice with vegetables.
The food arrives quickly, hot and fresh.
And now to figure out how to use the chopsticks.
Chopsticks are for solid foods, while soups and other liquids are
enjoyed with a wide, flat-bottomed spoon traditionally made of ceramic.
Chinese culture considers knives as weapons and that’s why they are not usually used when eating,blame it on martial arts embedded in their every day lives.
After trying to use the chopsticks for a while, to no avail, I decided to use my fork and spoon.
The food was delicious, and the attentive waiters kept checking on me to inquire if I needed anything.
With a well detailed drinks menu with a selection of soft drinks, wines, liquors and spirits, one is spoilt for
I settled for the freshly made cocktail juice and didn’t regret my choice.
Their prices range between Rwf5,500 ($8) and Rwf22,500 ($34).
When I finished eating, I asked for my bill; it came with a form to fill giving feedback on my experience
at the restaurant.
There is a sitting area upstairs with
an excellent view of Kigali’s landscape.
Most of the patrons are Kigali’s blue collar workers,expatriates and the elite; discounts are given to
Flamingo operates from 12pm to
3pm and reopens from 6pm to 11pm.
The trees and gardens are well trimmed with lanterns lighting up the gardens at night.
The restrooms are squeaky clean.
The restaurant has a conference room and wireless Internet; in addition, it has a food delivery service.
The area for smokers is separate from the non-smoking area.
There’s ample parking space, security and wonderful
It’s definitely one of those places I want to visit again, and tell all my friends back at Nairobi about.
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