Across all nationalities, cultures, creeds and cuisines, one thing remains constant: meat stuffed in dough. Whether it’s called calzone, banh bao, pasty, pupusa, baozi, or whatever, they’re practically what makes us human.
But of all the above variations, count me squarely (or triangularly, I suppose) in the sambusa camp. A good one is shatter-crisp on the outside, with soft, flaky dough lying just beneath the shell. The filling should be simple: ground meat, onion, maybe some pine nuts, a few herbs, and not much else.
That’s just the version that Afro Deli serves up on Riverside Avenue (except for the pine nuts). They also serve solid gyro and hummus, but start with the sambusas. Theirs come three to an order ($4) filled with beef, chicken or veggies. The green condiment is “basbas” sauce – jalapeño pureed with (I’m guessing) onion, garlic and cilantro. Here’s the technique: take a bite off one of the triangle points, apply basbas to exposed filling, bite and repeat.
And a special thanks to Afro Deli for serving up such a terrific afternoon snack in a part of town begging for more restaurants. For a little corner of the metro that’s home to a U of M campus, Augsburg College, and the Amplatz Children’s Hospital, among others, Riverside Avenue isn’t exactly destination dining.
Or is it? What say you, readers? Do you know of any other Riverside Avenue bites that are worth a trip to the West Bank?
Afro Deli and Coffee, 1939 S 5th St, Minneapolis, 612.871.5555