Friday, October 23, 2015

An Ode to Nando's

Ok, it’s not really an ode, but you’ll deal with it.  Rather than always blog about the cities and countries that I visit in general, I thought I’d spice it up with something a little different that spans several different countries:  Nando’s!  In all fairness, I was going to lump this in with my South Africa blog or my Kruger blog because of the wildlife aspect of Nando’s, but then it got too long and earned its own post.  For those of you who don’t know what Nando’s is (which is mainly the Americans reading this), Nando’s is a fast food chain which specializes in chicken with a Mozambican-Portuguese peri peri sauce theme (yes, it makes sense: Mozambique was a Portuguese colony and it’s right next door to South Africa which is where Nando’s comes from no matter how much Brits insist it’s a British invention).  It’s massive in southern Africa and massive in Australia and New Zealand and massive in the UK and Ireland and big in the Middle East and South Asia and Southeast Asia… and it’s coming to the US soon with stores already open in Washington DC and Chicago.  Basically, Nando’s is Chick-fil-a but with happy spicy sauce instead of sad bigotry sauce.

Now, I mentioned that I was going to include Nando’s in my wildlife blogging but that doesn’t make too much sense.  Or does it?  There is a point to this blog (sort of).  So, I used to eat Nando’s quite a bit when I first moved to Australia and lived right near a Nando’s, but when I moved suburbs, I had to switch my allegiance to a burger chain called Grill’d because it had two locations closer to my house and always stocked Gatorade which is perfect for the hangover crowd.  But, being in Nando’s home country of South Africa, I thought I should visit Nando’s again because it totally counts as local cuisine.  Each Nando’s prides itself on being unique and the one we visited was the best one that I’ve been to so far.  “Why is that?” asks an inquisitive member of the audience.  It’s because of the view.  The Nando’s was at a rest stop called the Alzu Petroport which is located exactly in the middle of nowhere halfway between two small towns that nobody has ever heard of.  That’s not the important part.  The important part is that this rest stop in the middle of nowhere has a big waterhole and a massive enclosure which contains a whole shitload of wildlife.  So, Jarrod and I were sitting there eating our spicy peri peri chicken burgers with sides of chips and a Coca-Cola for me and a Coke Zero for Jarrod (because he’s a skinny bitch) while we watched ostriches, eland, zebras, buffalos, and rhinos go about their biz-nass at the waterhole.  Let me repeat:  THERE WERE RHINOCEROSES AT THIS NANDO’S!  AND OSTRICHES!  AND ZEBRAS!  AND BUFFALO!  AND BIG FUCKING ANTELOPE!  How cool is that?!?

Because every traveller needs some comfort food now and again along the way, I also ate Nando’s in three other countries:  Mauritius, UAE, and Malaysia.  In Australia and South Africa, most Nando’s generally have the format of the customer ordering at the counter and then servers bringing your meal to you.  In Dubai, it was much more fast-food like:  you order at the counter and then go back to retrieve your meal when it’s ready.  Mauritius and Malaysia, on the other hand, were full service restaurants.  How fancy!  In Mauritius, Nando’s even had a delivery service and a special menu devoted to “Designer Drinks”.  Where the fuck am I?!?  In Malaysia, Nando’s served as the all-important first safety meal after my bout of food poisoning.

Allegedly, according to Wikipedia, there’s even Nando’s in India!  I don’t believe them though because I didn’t see any Nando’s in India and Nando’s is quite nice.

And there’s nothing nice in India.

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