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Tag: Tamarind

Marvellous Market Finds

Dakar has a thriving market scene; you can find arts and crafts, antiques, textiles, food and much more from all over Africa. It’s particularly well known as a mecca for textiles, with a huge variety to choose from.

There are markets that specialise (such as HLM for fabrics, Soumbedioune for crafts, Cour des Orfèvres for jewellery) and markets that sell everything (Sandaga, Colobane). Year round markets, and seasonal markets such as the DWG Christmas Fair and La Braderie at Place du Souvenir.

Recently we have had two very welcome additions on the market scene, Lou Bess?  a monthly farmers market, and Keur Marie Ganaar in Mermoz. Look out for more on both in a future post.

This year as a Christmas present, I thought I’d put together a ‘goodie bag’ of some of my recent finds.

Wax print bags from the DWG Christmas fair
Wax print bags from the DWG Christmas fair

Here’s what’s inside:

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Wax print earrings from the craft market at Marche Kermel
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Handmade soaps from Senegalese natural cosmetics company Chouette Mama (in karité, Bissap and Argile flavours). You can find their stock at Layu.

My best find were these small leather coin purses from one of the stalls by the Monument de la Renaissance. (Cheikh’s stall to be precise, in the middle with the orange tarpaulin over it).

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And not exactly a market find, but I thought this tropical jam gift set from local company Zena were great.

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The flavours are unusual (Baobab, Tamarind, Cashew etc.) and the jams are sample sized, so your lucky recipient gets to try all the flavours. They also do a range of chillies and savoury sauces, and are available in most supermarkets in Dakar.

The completed 'goodie' bag
The completed ‘goodie’ bag

Other ideas of what you could include: wax fabric, peanuts/cashew nuts, and dried Bissap flowers for making tea.

What would be your must haves for a Dakar Christmas goodie bag?

Lou Bess? takes place this Saturday  5th December from 9-15h along the Corniche des Almadies. La Braderie is on Saturday and Sunday  5th and 6th  December from 10-19h at Place du Souvenir.

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10 Reasons Why I Love Dakar

1.The Atlantic. Dakar’s stunning location on a plateau above the Atlantic Ocean means a variety of great city beaches to choose from, and some very welcoming sea breezes when things heat up. The sunsets are incredible.

Photo by Jeff Attaway
Photo by Jeff Attaway

2.Style. The Dakarois take their personal style very seriously. Many people have their outfits handmade and there is a tailor on almost on every street corner. The stunning array of Boubous – always perfectly starched and worn with pointy Moroccan leather slippers – Taille Basse with matching headgear and Tunics in vibrant colours are a feast for the eyes.

3.Teranga. If there is one word that sums Senegal up it’s probably Teranga, the custom of hospitality. The Senegalese are some of the friendliest people you will ever meet and will generally make a huge effort to welcome visitors into their homes and introduce them to their language and culture.

4.Music. The music scene in Dakar is buzzing with talent and you can go out every night of the week to hear both established and up-and-coming musicians. You wouldn’t expect any less from a country that has given the world the likes of Youssou N’dour, Baba Maal and Ismaël Lô.

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5.Culture and Creativity. Dakar plays host to an internationally renowned Art Biennale and is a hub for fast-developing media arts. It has recently been recognised by UNESCO as part of its Creative Cities Network .

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6.Weather. On average, Dakar gets about a gazillion hours of sunshine every year. Enough said.

7.Car Rapides. Dakar has the most charmingly and colourfully decorated public transport you will ever see, called the Car Rapide (literally, fast car). They are fun to look at and fun to take around the city (although not at rush hour, when the fast cars can slow down to a very slow crawl).

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8.The Mix. Dakar is a regional hub. There are people here from all over Africa, a huge Lebanese community, substantial numbers of French as well as expatriates from all over the world. This makes for a wonderfully cosmopolitan and international atmosphere.

9.The Food. Highlights include the ubiquitous Thiéboudienne (Senegal’s national dish of rice, fish and vegetables), juicy Brochettes de Lotte (monkfish kebabs), fancy French cuisine, amazing local teas and exotic juices like Bissap (Hibiscus flower), Baobab and Tamarind.

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10.Peace. Last but definitely not least, Dakar is located in one of the most stable and democratic countries in Africa. The population is mainly Muslim but there are also Christians and those of other faiths. Tolerance of all religions is paramount here, and as a result everyone rubs along together very nicely.

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