We Americans were given forks and knives, the Somalis ate with their hands. The menu was given to us verbally: "we have meat, fish or chicken," the chef announced. Others were given more choice - there were various pastas and a strange type of chopped pancake called canjeelo. Everyone was given a banana. A bowl of sauce and a squeeze bottle of spice were put on the table. The man who brought them said "strong" and "epicé," sucking in his breath to illustrate how hot it was. Men at other tables repeated the words, one man said "spicy."
The food was really very tasty. The chicken was moist and well spiced, the fish - coated in ochre powder - was reminiscent of something cooked in a tandoor.
In contrast, people from the middle east, Africa and South-Asia have become distinct parts of the capital's cultural map. At Cedar Sunrise coffee shop, the Lebanese owners play host to caffeine drinkers from all over the world. Right on Grønland boulevard, with tables spilling out to the edge of traffic, the cafe is a focal point for local greetings and gossip. The kaffe au laits were strong and expertly made, the baristas call out to everyone by name.