Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Palace International

Have you ever had African food? For most people, including me last week, the answer is no. If you have, it may have been Ethiopian or Moroccan. But how about food from a Kenyan? If you live in Durham, you have the opportunity to have authentic African food at The Palace International.

Ox Tails

I've heard of ox tails in Hispanic cuisine, but I've never had the gaul to order them. It turns out they are very similar to Korean short-ribs. American-style ribs are cut in between the bones to produce corn-on-the-cob-style eating. Korean-style ribs, on the other hand, are cut through the bone, so you end up eating the meat off of each piece of bone. These ox tails were exactly the same, except they had been slowly simmered in a garlic-ginger-tomato sauce. The tail meat is a little fatty, but that just adds to the delicious, savoriness of chewing the meat off the bone. On the side I had some yellow rice with collards that were sauteed but still fresh and green.

Curried Goat

The other entree we ordered was the curried goat, which was outstanding. The meat was amazingly tender. There were some large bones involved, but also some stand-alone pieces of meat too. The curry sauce was great. It was packed with curry and garlic flavors without being overbearing or too spicy. We had this dish with ugali, a cake of solid grits-like-grain that was a little course but still good.

Strawberry Tres Leches

Dessert choices were decidedly un-African, but they sounded too good to pass up nonetheless. We ordered strawberry Tres Leches. Tres leches is a marvelous Latin dessert that is moist but not soggy. The cake is immersed into a mixture of multiple milks and sugar. This tres leches was served with strawberry jam and white chocolate. As it was served, it was topped with a splash of sweet wine which really rounded out the flavors and made this dessert absolutely incredible. The overall feel of this cooking was a mixture of Spanish, Indian and Ethiopian, which is quite intriguing. I will definitely return to The Palace International to try some of the other dishes that I missed.

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