Som Tam (Papaya Salad)
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What: These deep-fried empanada-like snacks are usually stuffed with onion and a tomato-y fish paste and paired with a sweet, spicy tomato-and-onion sauce called kaani for dipping. (Sometimes they’re larger and stuffed with meat; also called pastels.) As a street food they’re popular in the early evening—though our favorite place to eat them was at the beach.
Where: Our fataya comes from a café on pretty Île de N’Gor called Chez Maman Africa (76-749-5668), located across from where the small boats from the mainland come and go.
When: Approximately 11am-8pm daily, depending on weather
Order: A plate of fataya (500 CFA) and most definitely a cold beer (Gazelle or Flag are the locals here). The fataya were rather bready, not at all greasy or salty but flavorful nonetheless thanks to the fish paste inside. After a long hot day exploring the island, it absolutely hit the spot. And if you need more food, we glimpsed some delicious-looking sautéed shrimp on the grill; there’s also half chickens, merguez, and sandwiches.
Alternatively: Fast-food joints like Star Burger (Amitie 2 Villa 4064, opposite Hospital Gaspard Camara, map) and Chez Joe (Blvd du President Habib Bourguiba, near Rue 11, map)—the kinds of places that do Senegalese-style burgers, shawarmas, and greasy omelette-frite sandwiches well—are generally a good bet for fataya. The fataya we tried at Chez Joe was of the large beef variety, wrapped in flaky pastry and served with mustard.
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