Food and travel have always mixed in magazines, but Fare takes the combination to its extreme. Every issue features the food culture of a single city.
Across the issues to date, some of those cities have been more obvious than others: Istanbul, Lima and Seoul all bring to mind particular cuisines and dishes. It’s to the team’s credit that they also turn to more surprising destinations, including their latest subject, Kampala. This Close-up sample comes from the issue.
Editor Ben Mervis shared some of the complexities of working remotely during a pandemic, ‘One thing we always look for in the places we visit are traditional eateries, hole-in-the-wall type places where great (seemingly) simple food is being served up with skill—the hardest sort of places to find when you’re conducting research from 4,000 miles away!
‘Thankfully after a lot of connecting, and chatting through our ideas, we were told about these canteen-style woteli in Kampala. Because nothing is written about them online it required a lot of conversations and searching, before finding the right author (Ernest Bazanye) and the right photographer (Katumba Badru) for this piece. It’s one of our proudest achievements of this issue that we can still pull off a familiar Fare-style feature on this amazing but hard-to-find establishment from so far away.’
Over to Ernest…
I missed the sun setting again. It’s just dipped behind trees in Bukoto and now it’s gone. This is the only time you get to see how fast the sun actually moves—in how short a time you have to catch a sunset.
It’s 6:45 pm, the single most beautiful moment in Kampala, no matter the day—and Kampala
days can be crazy. This city is a wild beast. It’s temperamental, petulant, vain and duplicitous, working this cunning deception upon you where it can be two things at the same time. Kampala is a mean lover. But once she’s got you, she’s got you.
And it’s because she does things like this. No matter what else happened that day, if you can look west at 6:45, then she will enchant you again. It’s not just the sun setting, but the sunset touching things. The walls of tall buildings. The cheeks of your friends’ faces. The red earth with your shadow, long and thin. The inyange birds in silhouette. The relief, the collective metropolitan breath, exhaling at last.
Then there is the woteli where I eat supper at 6:45 because our COVID curfew means early dinner. There is a crack in the beaded curtain at the door that lets in strips of setting sunlight.
When the steam off freshly served matooke catches the beams, and you see flecks dancing in that beam, white sparkles in gold? Yeah. That is how you keep falling in love with this city. That’s how she does it.
This is a place we call the woteli. We got the name from the village of Kawuku in 1991, when the very first one I ever visited was introduced that way: “Eno Woteli.”