From Blantyre it was off to the shores of Lake Malawi, something we’d been looking forward to for quite sometime. Aside from diving and snorkeling and looking at the fish, I also wanted to eat some as well.
One of the reasons Lake Malawi is so unique is that just about all 1200 varieties of fish are decedents of one fish specie, the first cyclid from here on known as the “mama cyclid.” In a way that made for a very limiting menu but in another way there was endless variety, not to mention that everything here is completely unique and not found in any other part of the globe.
The butterfish I had was so good that we later purchased two big ones to share with a couple of other travelers we’d met at our lodge over a braai, getting both fish filleted for a total of about $8. The fish though also came with Nisima, the staple starch here in Malawi. Nisima is a porridge made out of maize meal and water, then used to scoop a stew of vegetables into your mouth. The substance itself is basically a big piece of white starch and tastes… like a big piece of white starch.
Nisima is served as the size of a fist and must be broken into little bits, with your hand, for scooping your stew. Several locals got a good laugh at watching us fail at fashioning a proper bite-sized scooper and one eventually came over, with a very big smile, to help us. We continued to fail but enjoyed our lunch anyway before jumping back into the lake to try and ‘catch’ dinner.