Things to do in an around the DC, Maryland, Virginia Area This Weekend

Things to do in an around the DC, Maryland, Virginia Area This Weekend

Re-opening of the National Gallery of Art East Building – Sept. 30, 2016.  National Gallery of Art, 7th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC. The museum celebrates its reopening after three years of renovations of the East Building with a special weekend of events including live music, concerts, tours, evening hours, and more.

Taste of Georgetown – Oct. 1, 2016, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sample dishes from 30 Georgetown restaurants, while enjoying live music and children’s activities

DC Beer Week – Through Oct. 1, 2016. Hundreds of venues in Washington DC, Virginia and Maryland will host a variety of beer related events, including beer dinners, tastings, educational panels, glassware giveaways, and more.

 – Through October 2016. Get spooked at a haunted house, romp around a pumpkin patch or go on a haunted city tour. Find the best Halloween events in the Washington, DC area.

Oktoberfests Near Washington, DC – Various Dates.  Find German folk festivals with great beer, food, and live entertainment.

Pumpkin Festivals – Through October 2016. Check out the best pumpkin patches and fall festivals  in the Washington, DC area. Plan an early visit before the crowds.

Corn Mazes in Maryland and Virginia – Through early November 2016.  Enjoy some family fun and find your way through a cornfield.

Fall for Fairfax Festival – October 1-2, 2016, 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Northern Virginia’s largest fall festival includes more than 100 interactive activities and exhibits for the whole family.

Calvert County Fair – Sept. 28-Oct. 2, 2016. Prince Frederick, MD. The fair includes a wide range of activities including farm animals, exhibits, musical, entertainment, food, carnival rides, contests and a 4H auction.

DC Design House – Oct. 1-30, 2016. The annual interior design showcase transforms a house by top local designers. The home is open to the public and is a fun place to check out creative home decorating ideas.

Taste of Bethesda – October 1, 2016. Bethesda’s famous food and music festival features 50 restaurants and four stages of live entertainment.

Washington Nationals Baseball – Nationals Park, Washington DC. Saturday is Pups in the Park and Firefighter Appreciation Day, Sunday is Jerseys Off Their Backs and Yoga in the Outfield.

Autumn Conservation Festival – October 1-2, 2016. Smithsonian Biology Conservation Institute, Front Royal, VA. Get a behind-the-scenes look at our world-renowned science, research, and animal care.

Manassas Fall Jubilee – October 1, 2016, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The family-friendly event features live music and entertainment, hand-made crafts, and a variety of foods.

National Hispanic Heritage Month – Sept. 15-Oct. 15, 2016. Celebrate the culture and traditions of Spanish speaking residents who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean.

Charity Walks in the DC Area –  Throughout the year. See a guide to charity walks in the DC area this weekend and throughout the fall season.

Washington DC Museum Guide  – See the highlights some of the top exhibits that are on view at Washington DC museums this season.

Fall Theater in Washington DC – Enjoy the theater scene in Washington DC. With dozens of performances around the capital region, here is the schedule of the top shows for the 2016 season.

Fall For the Book Festival – Through Sept. 30, 2016. The regional celebration of literature and the arts features events at George Mason University’s Fairfax, VA Campus and at multiple locations throughout the capital region.

DC Dance Challenge – Oct. 1, 2016, 6-10 p.m. The Westin Alexandria Hotel, 400 Courthouse Square, Alexandria, VA. Pro/AM and Amateur Ballroom Competition, Professional Dancesport Show, Dancing with DCDC Stars Showcase & Dance Party

DC Blues Society Battle of the Bands – Oct. 1, 2016, 7:00 p.m. – midnight.  American Legion Post 41, 905 Sligo Avenue, Silver Spring, MD, 20910.  The event features a diverse mix of bands. The winner will represent the DC Blues Society at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN next January.


Movies opening this week

Deepwater Horizon showtimes and ticketsMasterminds showtimes and ticketsMiss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children showtimes and ticketsAmerican Honey showtimes and ticketsM.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story showtimes and ticketsAmong the Believers showtimes and ticketsClinton, Inc. showtimes and ticketsDanny Says showtimes and ticketsDenial showtimes and ticketsDo Not Resist showtimes and ticketsFlock of Dudes showtimes and ticketsHarry & Snowman showtimes and ticketsI Belonged to You showtimes and ticketsA Man Called Ove showtimes and ticketsMaximum Ride showtimes and ticketsOperation MeKong showtimes and tickets


Deepwater Horizon Opens Friday


Masterminds Opens Friday


Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children Opens Friday


American Honey


M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story Opens Friday


Among the Believers Opens Friday


Clinton, Inc. Opens Friday


Danny Says Opens Friday


Denial Opens Friday


Do Not Resist Opens Friday


Flock of Dudes Fri, Oct 7, 2016


Harry & Snowman Opens Friday


I Belonged to You Opens Friday


A Man Called Ove Opens Friday


Maximum Ride Opens Friday


Operation MeKong Opens Friday

9 ways to travel Africa in style


No need to forgo the plump pillows and power showers with these all-pampering African outings


You want the full “Out of Africa” experience, you’re hungry for adventure, for excitement or simply quality time-out under big skies, but God forbid you should forgo your plump pillows and power showers.

Roughing it is not everyone’s idea of fun. And who says it has to be?

You can experience Africa, shining a spotlight on Kenya, Uganda, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Namibia, without sacrificing style.

1. Walk with indigenous warriors, Kenya

safari walk, kenyaGetting back to your roots.
Looking for an excuse to dust off those chic, branded safari boots?

Try a walking safari from Kenya’s stylish Kitich Camp, the only one in all of the Matthews Mountain Range.

You’ll hike through forest that’s a playground for leopards, lions, elephants and hyenas.

All that greenery makes for great camouflage and means lots of thrilling encounters with the wildlife.

You’ll also learn the traditional methods of tracking game. The walks are led by indigenous Samburu and Ndorobo warriors as well as professional guides.

The seclusion, the attentive service, superb food and just six ensuite tents add to the five-star safari experience.

Rates start at US$400 per person per night (sharing), and includes drinks, guided bush walks, game tracking, river swimming, bush picnics, airstrip transfers and laundry and can be booked via Cheli & Peacock;

Also on CNN: 10 African islands for indulging your passions


2. Paddle the Selinda Canoe Trail, Botswana

Selinda Canoe Trail, BotswanaWannabe crocodile hunters should stay home.
If you’re a water baby you’ll adore this jaunt.

It’s a new four-day canoe trip along the (once dry) Selinda Spillway which links the Okavango Delta to the Linyanti and Kwando river systems, in the north of Botswana.

You travel with a chef, dine on gourmet three-course meals, freshly baked bread and savor fine wines — sometimes while sitting in a river in your swimsuit — and learn about the flora and fauna.

The mobile camps are as luxurious as you can imagine with “proper” showers, toilets, tents with cosy bed rolls and fur-lined hot water bottles.

Oh, and if that’s not inducement enough your meander will be led by expert guide and “hippo whisperer” Josh Iremonger, an “Out of Africa” pin-up.

Rainbow Tours (; +44 20 7666 1250) run a four-day/three-night trip on the Selinda Canoe Trail, with Wilderness Safaris from US$1,826 per person.


3. Discover ancient rock art on a four-wheel drive expedition, Namibia

4x4 expedition, NamibiaNot as scenic as some safaris, but just as fun.
Namibia is home to an ancient tradition of rock art with thousands of figures carved into cliffs and daubed in ochre on desert boulders.

On this trip, you’ll join an archaeologist and expert guide lecturer in prehistoric art for an unusual Indiana Jones style expedition that’ll take you off-road in a four-wheel drive across the desert and up steep mountains to explore remote sites.

It’s not all about the art though — there’ll be time to track desert elephants, explore the Okonjima Africat reserve and the eerie Skeleton Coast too.

Throughout you’ll stay in remote and beautiful lodges — many with viewing platforms out over the bush, ideal for taking in Namibia’s extraordinary wildlife and scenery while enjoying a well-earned sundowner.

From US$6,344, exclusive of flights, for the 16-day trip;


4. Meet gorillas at the Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp, Uganda

Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp, UgandaAs relaxing as it gets … when mountain gorillas are strolling nearby.
The camp is set in the eerily named “Bwindi Impenetrable Forest,” a rainforest in southwest Uganda and UNESCO World Heritage site.

It’s home to half the world’s remaining population of mountain gorillas and more than 200 species of birds, butterflies and trees.

Dotted with waterfalls and lakes, the forest is dominated by the dramatic Virunga mountain range.

The Camp lies on a flat ridge high in the forest, and it’s not unusual for the gorillas to come into the camp itself; good to know if you don’t fancy tracking them.

There’s a cottage and eight tents complete with wooden floors, decks and a bathtub with a view of the jungle canopy.

You’ll have a tent attendant and spa treatments are available — there’s even a sedan chair specially built for guests who might find walking difficult.

Gorillas and flora aside, you can also visit the Batwa Pygmy community, the oldest inhabitants of the Great Lakes region of Central Africa.

Prices from US$295 per person per night, based on two people sharing and including all meals, drinks, laundry but excluding gorilla permits, transfers to/from airstrips, schedule or charter flights to/from camp and international flights to Entebbe;

Also on CNN: The battle to map every single African reserve


5. The ‘old-school’ classic camp tour, Zimbabwe

classic camp tour, ZimbabweYou really can’t beat the classics.
For old-school luxury why not try a 10-night safari around beautiful, vibrant, land-locked Zimbabwe?

The trip begins and ends at the iconic Victoria Falls and features stays in small independent safari operations in riverfront or forest settings that few venture to. There’s the luxurious Elephant Camp, a private concession within Victoria Falls National Park, Little Makalolo camp in Hwange National Park and then two nights each in Ruckomechi and Kanga Bush camps, both in the Mana Pools National Park.

You can go on game drives, canoeing, walks and more.

Prices for from US$5,271 (based on two persons sharing), include all road and flight transfers in Zimbabwe, all meals and most drinks at each lodge, and activities; 


6. Bond with rescued elephants at Abu Camp, Botswana

Abu Camp, BotswanaSay hello to your new BFF — big flappy friend.
Abu Camp, in Botswana’s Okavango Delta, is owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and is an exceptional property: chic and sumptuous, with opulent suites, gym, pool, extensive library of books and wildlife DVDs and al fresco meals overlooking a lagoon.

But it is also a lodge with heart — where staff run a pioneering elephant rescue and rehabilitation program and give guests a chance to bond with the seven-strong herd.

How does it feel to walk with an elephant? In a word, therapeutic. Walking tusk to shoulder through the bush requires a certain level of trust, empathy and openness between elephant, handler and guest.

Costs from US$1,985 per person per night sharing, all meals, local drinks and scheduled activities included;


7. Ride on a thoroughbred and spot the ‘Big Five’, Kenya

horse riding in AfricaLooking for zebra, then you run into a postcard.
If you have the urge to saddle up, a mobile horse safari on Ride Kenya’s thoroughbreds will scratch that itch.

You’ll travel with a team of grooms, chefs, waiters and camp hands and speed over South Eastern Kenya’s savannah plains, swamplands, thick acacia forests, or the Chyulu Hills.

If you’re lucky you’ll spot elephant, buffalo, lion, hyena and other wildlife. You’ll sleep in luxurious tents with double or twin beds and en-suite hot showers.

If a mobile safari sounds too strenuous, try their day safaris, based at ol Donyo, one of the most luxurious lodges in East Africa — we’re talking iron-ore chandeliers, indoor gardens, bronze sculptures and Victorian furniture.

Ride Kenya offer seven-day, six-night set departures, for riders of intermediate level upwards, from US$3,900, plus US$600 conservation fees per person. Stays at ol Donyo start at US$510;


8. Fly high on an aerial safari, Namibia

aerial safari, NamibiaAfrica is now on the air.
Fancy flying around Namibia in small aircraft and enjoying aerial views of the wildlife? Yep, thought so.

You can do it on a stunning eight-day Namibia Luxury Wing Safari with Wilderness Safaris, taking in the iconic areas of Namibia, from the red dunes of Sossusvlei, rugged landscape of Damaraland and the game-rich Etosha National Park, with stays in small luxury camps throughout.


Prices start from US$5,703per person and includes internal flights, local drinks and scheduled activities;   


9. Safari the White Nile, Uganda

White Nile, Uganda The Devil’s Cauldron awaits.
This spectacular water safari takes you to the source of the White Nile in Uganda.

You’ll experience thrills aplenty while river rafting, and enjoy a more sedate boating safari to Murchison Falls and the foaming pool at its base known as the Devil’s Cauldron.

Along the way, you’ll enjoy walks in forests where primates, butterflies and birdlife are rife, game viewing and a visit to the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary.

Luxury lodges include the brand new five-star Chobe Safari lodge which offers panoramic views of the great river.

15 of Africa’s favorite dishes

From Morocco’s b’stilla to South Africa’s bunny chow, don’t leave Africa without sampling at least a few of these exquisite foods



The taste of Africa on a plate.

Given that the first “barbecue” might well have taken place in Africa, this is a continent that can arguably claim to have invented cooking.

But African dishes — especially those south of the Sahara — are still woefully under-represented on the world culinary scene.

From the humble maize/grain porridges and root vegetables that form the basis of so many diets, to grand feasting dishes such as breyanis, tagines, stews and aromatic curries, Africa’s favorite foods offer something for every palate.

This article focuses on regional dishes that you might enjoy in the some of the more popular tourist destinations.

1. Pap en vleis/Shisa nyama, South Africa

Shisa NyamaThe colors of a feast.

Barbecued meat and maize porridge is a combination dearly beloved across many cultures in Southern Africa, and particularly in South Africa, where the braaivleis is a treasured institution and practically a national sport.

“Pap en vleis” (literally, “maize porridge and meat”) is a colorful umbrella of a term that encompasses virtually any combination of starch and braaied or stewed meat, with an obligatory side-serving of spicy gravy, relish or chakalaka.

Shisa nyama, meaning “burn the meat” in Zulu, has come to refer to a festive “bring-and-braai” gathering; Shisa nyama restaurants are often located next to butchers’ shops so patrons can select their own meats and have them cooked to order over fiercely hot wood fires.

Chops, steak, chicken, kebabs and boerewors — a spicy farmer’s sausage — are accompanied by maize porridges in many different forms including phuthu and stywe pap, krummelpap (crumbly porridge), and suurpap (soured pap).

Add a local beer, and there you have South Africa on a plate.

Where to taste it: Popular Shisa nyama-style eateries include Chaf Pozi, Orlando Towers, Corner Kingsley Sithole and Nicholas streets, Soweto; +27 11 463 8895; and Mzoli’s, Shop 3, NY115, Gugulethu, Cape Town; +27 21 638 1355>

Also on CNN: The best or urban Africa — its unsung cities


2. Piri piri chicken, Mozambique

Piri Piri ChickenStop. Do not lick the screen.

Mozambique’s cuisine is a heady blend of African, Portuguese, oriental and Arab flavors — think fragrant spices, hot piri piri and creamy coconut sauces, with hints of cashews and peanuts.

Sizzling, spicy prawns and seafood are often a first choice for visitors to Maputo, but don’t miss the iconic Mozambican dish Galinha à Zambeziana, a succulent feast of chicken cooked with lime, pepper, garlic, coconut milk and piri piri sauce.

It’s generally known simply as grilled chicken piri piri by tourists, and is traditionally served with matapa, a dish of cassava leaves cooked in a peanut sauce.

Where to taste it: Head downtown to the aptly named Piri Piri, an unpretentious eatery with a charming atmosphere and an interesting crowd. Avenida 24 de Julho, Maputo


3. Jollof rice and egusi soup, Nigeria

Jollof riceSimple but exquisite.

It’s not easy pinning down a national favorite dish for Nigeria, because this is a vast country with many distinct regional cuisines.

But one dish you shouldn’t leave Nigeria without eating is jollof rice, a great favorite all over West Africa, and one that is thought may be the origin of the Cajun dish jambalaya.

A simple, spicy one-pot dish comprising, at its most basic, rice, tomatoes, onions and pepper, it’s often served at parties and other festive gatherings, along with other Nigerian favorites such as egusi soup (made with ground melon seeds and bitter leaf), fried plantains and pounded yam (iyan or fufu).

Other dishes to try in Nigeria include thick, spicy broths made with okra and flavored with chicken or meat, and suya, which are spicy Nigerian shish kebabs (similar to Ghana’s chichinga) cooked over braziers by street vendors.

Where to taste it: For authentic jollof rice, egusi soup and other traditional dishes, locals recommend Yellow Chili, 27 Oju Olobun Close, off Bishop Oluwole Street, Lagos; +234 1 723 2666. For excellent suya, the place to go is University of Suya, Allen Avenue, Ikeja, Lagos


4. Bunny chow, South Africa

Bunny ChowMakes those Pret A Manger sarnies look somewhat inadequate, doesn’t it?

No one’s quite sure how bunny chow came to be named, but what is certain is that this hollowed-out half- or quarter-loaf of white bread filled with a blistering-hot curry is one of South Africa’s most treasured street foods.

The meat and vegetable curries that fill bunny chows were bought to South Africa by Indian indentured laborers who came to South Africa in the 19th century to work on the sugar-cane fields.

Available as takeaways in all major cities, but the best bunnies come from Durban.

Where to taste it: Durbanites agree that the finest bunnies are to be found at the Britannia Hotel, 1299 Umgeni Road, Durban; +27 31 303 2266; and Gounden’s Restaurant, 39 Eaton Road, Umbilo, Durban; +27 31 205 5363

Also on CNN: How to survive three weeks in the Sahara


5. Kapenta with sadza, Zimbabwe

Sadza with grilled chickenFinger food, Zimbabwe style.

A heap of crisp-fried kapenta is the culinary highlight for many visitors to Zimbabwe.

Kapenta, comprising two species of small freshwater fish native to Lake Tanganyika, were introduced to Lake Kariba and now are a much-loved source of protein for lakeside populations of Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Like many African dishes, kapenta is often accompanied by a mountain of delicious maize porridge, known in Zimbabwe as sadza. Kapenta is available both dried and fresh, and is also stewed with tomatoes, onions and groundnut powder, and served with fresh greens.

Don’t pick up a knife and fork to devour your kapenta: the traditional way to eat this dish is to scoop up the sadza with your hand and to dip it or roll it in the accompanying fish and relishes.

Another must-try dish when visiting Zimbabwe is fresh bream or tilapia from Lake Kariba, grilled or fried with plenty of lemon butter.

Where to taste it: You’ll find kapenta sold as a street food in many places in Zimbabwe and Zambia, and also in more upscale restaurants such as The Boma, Victoria Falls Town, Victoria Falls; +263 13 43211 20. For fresh Kariba tilapia and bream, try La Fontaine Restaurant at Meikles Hotel, Jason Moyo Avenue, Harare; +263 4 251 705


6. Chambo with nsima, Malawi


The eyes of Malawians away from home may well fill with tears when you say the word “chambo” to them — it’s the most popular and best-known fish found in Lake Malawi, and a great national favorite.

It’s served grilled along the lake shore, usually with nsima (a stiff porridge very similar to South Africa’s pap and Zimbabwe’s sadza) or with chips.

A plate of chambo is not complete without ndiwo, a delicious relish made of pumpkin or cassava leaves, tomatoes and groundnut powder. Both nsima and ndiwo are revered staple foods in neighboring Zambia, along with Ifisashi, a dish of greens in a peanut sauce.

Where to taste it: Nkope restaurant, Sunbird Livingstonia Beach, Senga Bay, Salima; +265 1 773 388 and La Mirage at Sun ‘n’ Sand Holiday Resort, Mangochi; +265 1 594 545


7. Namibian venison, Namibia

VenisonThe kebab — how to make any food look great.

Good venison can be sampled all over Southern Africa, but Namibians will insist that the very best gemsbok, kudu, zebra, warthog, ostrich and springbok is to be found at restaurants and game lodges across their country.

Namibian cuisine shows strong German and South African influences, with traditional German delicacies such as sausages, cured meats, sauerkraut and Eisbein rubbing shoulders with South-African style potjiekos, biltong and braaivleis.

Try your venison with traditional staples oshifima (maize porridge) or mahangu (pearl millet) and, of course, a hearty tankard or two of fine Namibian beer.

Where to taste it: Tuck into traditional German and Namibian favorites at popular Windhoek institution Joe’s Beer House, 160 Nelson Mandela Ave., Windhoek; +264 61 232 457; or Swakopmund Brauhaus, The Arcade 22, Sam Nujoma Drive, Swakopmund; +264 64 402 214


8. Muamba de Galinha, Angola

Muamba de galinha chicken stewA dish you’ll want to return for.

This dish, like the popular Caldeirada de Peixe (fish stew) reveals the strong influence of Portuguese cuisine on this former colony, and is considered one of Angola’s national food treasures.

Also known as chicken muamba, this is a spicy, somewhat oily stew made with with palm oil or palm butter, garlic, chilis and okra. Variations of chicken muamba, such as poulet moambé, are to be found all over the Congo River region, where it’s often served with cassava leaves and white rice.

Another variation, nyembwe chicken, is the national dish of Gabon, where it is made with palm or macadamia nuts. Being so rich and spicy, chicken muamba is a good accompaniment to central African starchy porridges considered bland by western palates: funge, fufu and ugali.

Caldeirade de Cabrito is another of Angola’s favorite dishes; this goat or kid stew is cooked with potatoes, wine and tomatoes and often eaten to celebrate Independence Day on November 11.

Where to taste it: Visitors to Angola usually make a bee-line for the buzzing beach restaurants on Ilha de Luanda, a small island just off Luanda.

As with many Central African destinations, please check your country’s travel advisories before you depart

Also on CNN: 10 African islands for indulging your passions


9. Cape breyani, South Africa

A treasured classic of Cape Malay cuisine, breyani is a fragrant dish comprising layers of marinated meat, rice, lentils and spices topped with crisp-fried onions and hard-boiled eggs.

This one-pot, slow-cooked dish, a favorite for feeding large crowds at special occasions and celebrations, was bought to the Cape from the East during the earliest days of the slave trade, along with other “Malay” dishes such as bredies, pickled fish, denningvleis and bobotie.

Where to taste it: Biesmiellah restaurant, situated in the historic Malay Quarter. Corner Wale Street and Pentz Road, Bo-Kaap, Cape Town; +27 21 423 0850


10. Zanzibari biryanis and pilaus, Zanzibar

BiryaniIndian origin, African adaptation.

You can practically feel the warm breath of the trade winds in your face as you taste these great celebration dishes, both based on rice and the exotic array of spices synonymous with Zanzibar.

There are all sorts of variations on biryani, ranging from humble vegetable assemblages to more complex ones incorporating meat and seafood; pilau tends to be a one-pot dish generously spiced with cardamom, cumin and pepper.

Both are delicious accompanied by kachumbari, a fresh onion and tomato salad popular across East Africa. Another quintessential dish of Zanzibar is urojo, a yellowish broth bought from street vendors and made with many different ingredients including pieces of meat, chili, mango, ginger, tamarind and lime.

Where to taste it: For a taste of authentic Zanzibari cooking, try Forodhani Gardens (a street food market) in Stone Town, and for its excellent Swahili buffet, Lukmaan Restaurant, Mkunazini, Stone Town. Popular restaurants in Stone Town include Archipelago (+255 77 746 2311) and Monsoon


11. Nyama na irio, Kenya

Ask any Kenyan about a favorite comfort food and chances are he or she will exclaim “Irio!” without hesitation.

This well-loved dish, originally a Kikuyu staple that has spread through Kenya, is made of mashed-up potatoes, peas, beans, corn and onion and often served with spiced roasted meat to make a delicious dish called nyama na irio.

Kenya is famous for its long-distance runners, and many a Kenyan will attribute their stamina to the health-giving effects of another treasured staple, sukuma wiki. This means “push for the week” in Swahili, indicating that this dish can be used to feed the family for a week.

Sukuma wiki is made with collard greens and/or kale cooked with onions and spices to make a piquant relish for ugali (maize porridge).

Where to taste it: Ranalo Foods in Kimathi Street, Nairobi, is where locals go to feast on irio and other traditional dishes. For a mighty feast of exotic roasted meats, visit the world-famous Carnivore Restaurant, Langata Road, Near Wilson Airport, Nairobi; +254 20 600 5933


12. Koshari, Egypt

Koshari EgyptDon’t judge a dish by its color.

If you want a taste of what ordinary Egyptian families eat at home, you can’t go wrong with koshari (variously spelled koushari and koshary), a nourishing vegetarian dish of rice, lentils, macaroni, garlic and chickpeas, bought together by a spicy tomato sauce and topped off with fried onion.

A good koshari can send an Egyptian into raptures, and it’s also hugely popular as a rib-sticking street food and take-away.

Another beloved classic of home cooking is mahshi, or vegetables such as zucchini, peppers, tomatoes and vine leaves stuffed with spiced rice.

Where to taste it: For koshari and other traditional Egyptian foods, locals unhesitatingly recommend Koshari al-Tahrir, Sharia Abd el-Khalik Sarwat, Cairo. For mahshi, try the grill restaurant Hosny, 30 Saffar Pasha St., Bahari, Alexandria; +20 3 481 2350


13. Ful medames, Egypt

Ful MedamesThe old ones are often the good ones.

According to Egyptian-born cookery writer Claudia Roden, this dish is pre-Ottoman and pre-Islamic, and probably as old as the Pharoahs.

In her classic work “A Book of Middle Eastern Food,” Roden quotes an Arab saying: “Beans have satisfied even the Pharoahs.”

They’re still satisfying Egyptians today. Ful Medames is one of the country’s national dishes, comprising fava beans simmered with spices and olive oil. The dried beans are often cooked overnight and served for in the morning with eggs and pita bread.

It’s ideal for a filling breakfast if you’re traveling on a tight budget and need to fill up with sustaining food to last you through the day.

Where to taste it: At street stalls and restaurants all over Egypt, with a special recommendation for Mohamed Ahmed Restaurant, 17 Shokour St., Off Saad Zaghloul Street, Alexandria; +20 3 487 3576


14. Potjiekos and stew, South Africa

PotjiekosBig, brash, boiling bowl of goodness.

What constitutes an excellent potjie is a matter of heated debate among fans, who have all the time in the world to argue the merits of their version during the several hours it takes for the food to cook.

Potjiekos (“pot food”) is an Afrikaans term for food cooked in layers in a traditional three-legged cast-iron pot, but in essence it’s a stew, not much different to the slow-simmered stews of beef, chicken and mutton and that are popular across Southern African countries.

If you’re adventurous, try a curry made of a sheep’s heads (known as “smileys” for the baleful grins the heads adopt after they shrink in the heat) or a stew of chicken feet (called “runaways” or “walkie-talkies”).

Stews are traditionally served with pap (see above) and other staples such as umngqusho (samp and beans), morogo (wild greens), dumplings (amadombolo) and steamed bread (ujeqe) or pot-baked bread (potbrood).

Where to taste it: For tripe stew and other traditional favorites, try U.S. film star Danny Glover’s favorite restaurant Gramadoelas, Market Theatre, Breë Street, Newtown, Johannesburg; +27 82 880 5555; or Roots Restaurant, Makhetha Shopping Centre, Corner Mphuti and Dimakatso streets, Central Western Jabavu, Soweto; +27 72 536 8777


15. Pastilla au pigeon/b’stilla, Morocco

Chicken B'stillaMoroccan food on the go.

Moroccan tagines and couscous dishes have earned their glory on the world’s culinary stage in recent decades, but this is one dish you’ll not find in an average cookbook.

A complex and many-faceted feast dish, pastilla au pigeou (also known as b’stilla) is sweet and savory; substantial and delicate.

It’s a pie comprising shredded cooked squab (or, more often, chicken, when pigeon is hard to find) thickened with egg sauce and interspersed with paper-thin pastry and layers of nutty, spicy filling.

No grand celebration in Morocco would be considered complete without b’stilla, and it is usually reserved for feasts because it’s so labor intensive to make.

Where to taste it: Pastilla au pigeon can be found on menus throughout Morocco, but for an unforgettable gastronomic experience, there is no better place to try it than Pepe Nero 17 Derb Cherkaoui, Rue Douar Graoua, Marrakech; +212 524 389067

Jane-Anne Hobbs is a freelance journalist, food writer and self-trained cook who lives in Hout Bay, Cape Town. Her food blog Scrumptious pioneered recipe blogging in Africa five years ago, and features a large collection of original recipes. Jane-Anne’s first cookbook, Scrumptious, was published by Random House Struik in July 2012.

Read more about Jane-Anne Hobbs