Lauren Snyders- Writer
Cebisa Zono- Photographer
Cameron Cupido- Designer
I must confess: I freaked out a bit readying myself for the sheep’s head (smiley) as we drove into Langa. I had never eaten something so weird before but luckily two of my Live colleagues, Dylan Louw and Roberto Gallotta, decided to tag along for the experience.
We arrived mid-morning at Nobuntu Gaca’s butchery at 46 Moses Mabida Street. She sells the smileys at R40 each and sells about 10 a day.
The smell of the boiling heads which lingered in the air made my stomach turn; I was ready to run. Trust me, this is one smell which will make your intestines somersault.
We stood and watched on nervously as Nobuntu put the raw smileys into the pot. It looked scary, I was like, OH MY GOSH, am I really going to eat this. But when the smileys came out of the pot we decided to buy two. It seemed like an awesome thing to do at the time but our inexperience with smileys clearly showed.
Nobuntu carefully wrapped everything up in brown paper and placed the package in a plastic bag.
The smiley looked weird: the ears were big, the teeth were burnt, and I could hardly see the eyes. Fortunately for us the brain had been removed; I still cringe when I think about it though.
To make the experience really authentic the guys and I decided to sit on the pavement and eat as a crowd of curious onlookers gathered around us, watching our every move.
We sat there looking at each other to see who would go first. Lucky number one, as it turned out, was Dylan and he tore into the smiley as if he was getting paid to do so. I followed, making sure to get to all the juicy meaty parts.
I was so anxious when I took my first bite I thought I would throw up all over my colleagues.
Once we started we kept eating even though the smell was terrible. The meat, surprisingly though, was not that bad.
In the end, Roberto complained that Dylan and I didn’t give him a chance to get some meat and we had a little fight over the tongue which turned out to be quite tasty although I was afraid of eating it at first.
When we finished the smiley Dylan, Roberto and I looked at each other with relief. Wow, it was finally over, we did it; we did our first Live Challenge.
Driving back to the office we decided we would never eat something so weird again.
Recipe for sheep’s head: (side bar)
Sheep’s head curry
- 1 sheep’s head skinned and cut into medium pieces
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 2 large onions chopped finely
- 2 green chillies split lengthwise
- 1 teaspoon ginger paste
- 1 teaspoon garlic paste
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 2 teaspoons chilli powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin powder
- 2 teaspoons coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon spice powder/ garam masala powder
- 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
- Salt to taste
Wash the pieces of the sheep’s head well. Boil the pieces in a pressure cooker until cooked. In a pan sauté the onions, greenchillies, ginger and garlic paste for a few minutes. Add the chilli, cumin,coriander, turmeric and spice powder and fry for a few minutes in water. Add the boiled sheep’s head pieces to the mixture together with chopped garlic and salt and simmer until thick gravy is formed. Garnish with some coriander leaves.
5 weird things from around the world I haven’t eaten before: (side bar)
- Balut- This food is from the Philippines. It is a baby chick which hasn’t fully developed yet.
- Casu Marzu- This food is from Sardinia in Italy. It is a cheese filled with maggots….yuk!!!!!
- Snake wine- This is a form of wine used for headaches, it originated in Vietnam. The rice wine consists of a venomous snake inside the bottle. Not something anyone would want to drink I’m sure.
- Fried brain burgers- This consists of beef brain thinly sliced and deep fried. It is eaten in America, Mexico and El Salvador. I’m sure Mac Donald’s won’t be serving these anytime soon.
- Bugs- Different types of bugs such as grasshoppers, cockroaches, etc. are eaten all over Asia. They are deep fried. Often, bugs are also eaten on the hit TV show Fear Factor.