Dumisani Nsingo, Senior Business Reporter
ONE of the country’s leading herbal medicines manufacturers, Musimboti Traditional Science and Technology Institute (MTSTI) has opened a restaurant which specialises in serving traditional and herbal flavoured food.
MTSTI managing director Mr Morgan Zimunya said the Bulawayo-based institute opened its restaurant two months ago, after realising the growing popularity of traditional dishes largely due to their nutritional value and health benefits.
“Our restaurant offers a wide range of traditional meals and even offer advice on the type of herbs our customers should sprinkle on their food to treat different ailments as well as enhance their immune system. Herbs are delicious and they make our dishes come alive with flavour and variety. We are more of a one-stop-shop as our pharmacy is housed within the same building.
“Throughout history, herbs have been used not only in recipes and teas, but also medical treatment. Today, most of us have entire cupboards full of dried herbs. We often drink them in the form of tea, cook them and use them for zesty natural home fragrances. Herbs treatment a lot of illnesses and maladies,” said Mr Zimunya.
He said herb flavoured foods assist in changing people’s eating habits.
“When we flavour our dishes with delicious and fragrant herbs, we make them more savoury and appealing, encouraging us to eat healthy, whole foods.
“We are also able to reduce the amount of salt we add to our foods because we are adding so much flavour in the form of herbs. While salt isn’t necessarily a bad thing in moderation, herbs are a welcome substitute,” said Mr Zimunya.
He said the restaurant has seen an increase in customers since it opened largely due to an increasing appetite for traditional African cuisine that has taken the market by storm with more and more people patronising eateries that specialise in dishes that strongly reflect Zimbabwean flavour.
“Our customer base has been increasing since we opened and we appreciate the fact that even young people that used to shun traditional food for western dishes are now fond of consuming it. They are also a number of men that request special dishes such as amangqina which when sprinkled with our various herbs, tend to increase their libido,” said Mr Zimunya.
Although fast-food outlets, oriental and Western restaurants are also multiplying, it is the trend of traditional food restaurants that has become the style of the day, with the majority of people now religiously following the traditional cuisine.