Tafadzwa Zimoyo Senior Lifestyle Writer
AN English adage says “you are what you eat” and for that reason food is an important cultural aspect.
It has that ability to unite and bring people together. Zimbabwe has quite a number of traditional delicacies that are full of flavour. One of the popular yet rare delicacies is mazondo (cow hooves), which are smoked then cleaned before they are boiled until tender.
That tenderness brings out a rich, thick and sticky soup which many enjoy, especially when it does not have spices. That is so much about mazondo but in recent times, Zimbabweans found themselves reviving an old culinary treat called “gango” which loosely translate to stir fry.
Gango is a dish prepared with different types of meat which are cut into pieces and then stir fried until they bring out a delightful flavour. Those in the know how, say gango has been there since long back and it was very popular in Masvingo and Beitbridge areas.
The trick being that it was food prepared for most bachelors, revellers and those in a hurry. But now, gango has spread across the country with so many spots and eateries sprouting and offering the dish.
In Harare, gango spots now draw crowds from different walks of life and that would not be without a reason or cause. Naturally gango brings people together and the more the people the merrier and more exciting it becomes.
So nowadays wherever there is a fine butchery you are likely to find gango stalls. At every given there is a gango master ready to serve you, a vegetable stall and a bar.
After all, what would food be without the drinks?
Most gango masters use gas instead of wood because it is easily available and firewood has an effect on the natural environment. He takes care of everything while you and your friends have drinks.
So what the gango master does is to ensure that all the ingredients, whether pork, beef, chicken, mutton, goat and veggies are all in one pan. Once you have bought your meat he sets the fire and starts cooking.
First, the meat is thrown into a homemade pan. While the meat is frying in the hot pan, he cuts his tomatoes, onions and chillies for those who like them. Those who like to experiment with food will also add baked beans when the food is well cooked. While at home people serve food in different plates, that is not the case with gango.
The relish is put in one big plate and another plate is for sadza to go with it. Once that is done, then food is served!
Scores of people are driving out just for gango in the same way they used to do with barbeque or “gochi gochi”. Some of the popular places that serve gango dish include Warren Park at an upmarket hangout called Mafaro, Time and Jazz Café in the Avenues, Chisa Nyama, Zindoga Shops (Waterfalls), Sunridge Shops (Marlbereign), Southerton Shops and Glen Norah at the famous KwaFatso Shops to mention but a few.
In line with that, there is a bigger event dubbed “Gango Festival” which is scheduled for August 5 at the Borrowdale Racecourse, in a bid to celebrate and appreciate the gango.
While the major highlight will be gango, our very own version of stir fry, there will be lots of drinks, entertainment and music for the whole family. “I think Zimbabwe is moving with times. I have been to Malawi, Zambia, Angola and South Africa as a chef attending workshops and doing culinary shows. One good thing I have noticed is that they are also embracing gango, it is just that they give it a different name. To revellers it is enjoying your money on all delicacy meats while others say it is just a one stop plate,” said Tatenda Mamvura, a gango chef.
Saturday Herald Lifestyle caught up with Blessing Jeke of Proma Events, the organisers of the Gango Festival, who said meat lovers will be spoilt for choice. “Gango lovers will have the opportunity to sample the tenderness of all delicacies and meats from various producers that have been invited to participate at the event. The main activity of the day will be gango competition for the gango masters out there.
“Each competing gango master will be given a small food stall to work from. “Obviously the meats and other ingredients will be available so that they prepare the tastiest dish. Contestants will be judged on both presentation and flavour of the dish,” he said.
Jeke said whoever prepares the tastiest dish will walk away with fabulous prizes including food hampers. “A panel of well-known culinary judges will pick the best gango master and the dish. Added to the fun will be music from performing groups and acts,” he said.
Dubbed the biggest food fair in town, Gango Festival has partnered with Power FM in a deal aimed at making the event reach out to as many people as possible.
Jeke said it is hoped that the festival will among other things give suppliers, and all those whose services have something to do with gango, a bigger exposure to their target audiences.
He said he was happy with some corporates and stakeholders who are chipping in to support this initiative. “So far we have Colcom on board and this is where all the meat is coming from. Again Power FM radio station will give the leverage to the companies, sponsors and partners the much needed media coverage. We are excited about partnering Power FM in a first of its kind deal which will send a clear message to food lovers that this is a must-attend event,” he said.
Gango Festival will bring together families, corporates and foodies for a day of feast and fun.