Fordsburg can be considered the little India of Johannesburg. The area has survived a violent past, most times we forget how much blood was spilled in this town for us to be able to inhabit it freely at this point.
Last weekend I took my friend to our much-anticipated Mayfair/Fordsburg outing. They are the South East part of the Johannesburg CBD and settlement to the majority of the Muslim community in the city originating from Somalia and India mostly. My reviews are raving, my friend’s not so much. She thinks it was just OK. Which on a side note made me realise that I must have an objective measuring standards of my activities/experience. I’ll work on that.
The day started with a full vegetarian lunch at restaurant Shayona where I had my first ever taste of masala tea. It is salty and brewed with milk and spices. Interesting concoction but my mind was resistant, it kept saying “no” to salty tea. The restaurant was so cheap it should be a crime. We had a platter for two made up of R 65 with rotis, spiced rice, and six different curries. Everything was spicy save the yogurt and my new favourite Indian food, paneer. I’ve come to learn there are a few kind, depending on what sauce they get served in. We had palak paneer, which is paneer in a spinach puree sauce. Paneer itself is a fresh cheese made by boiling milk and adding vinegar or lemon juice to separate the water part (whey) from the solid parts (curds) which then get chopped in nice little cubes after cooling.
I liked the relative cleanliness of this part of the city. Lunch time traffic is something to be aware of though; I had to parallel park in peak traffic. Nightmare! But the streets were not congested so walking about was painless. There was no noise pollution, if you’ve been to Newton/Marshalltown side of CBD you will know what I’m taking about: the taxis, the street vendors, the smell of various roasts from peanuts to cow heads. I found this area safer with a lots of good-looking restaurants dotting Mint street. The flea market doesn’t offer much by the merchants in stores sell good perfumes. I met a cook who claims he was on Masterchef SA, I could not verify his claims, but I will say he can toss a naan in the air like a boss. For a wider shopping experience the Oriental Plaza is still the best option.
Two days ago I would have said I’d be hitting the space soon, but I got the worst case of ulcers Monday night. So little India, it seems is not meant for those with weak stomachs.