Food Plants of Madagascar
Like many warm countries, Madagascar offers a large variety of fresh fruit and other edibles. You may find Malagasy vanilla or lychees in other countries, for which Madagascar is a big exporter. It’s also the perfect place to taste fruit that has had a chance to ripen on its plant until the last minute. Those bananas just taste so much better than what we get in Germany.
When a restaurant offers “Steak Madagascar”, this usually refers to the green pepper used to season the meat. Green pepper is pepper that is harvested early (therefore it’s still green). It’s best served fresh and it’s not as spicy as black pepper which usually harvested later and then dried.
Madagascar is known for being one of the world’s largest exporter of vanilla. Interestingly, the vanilla plant grown here originated in Mexico and thus is not indigenous to Madagascar. Since the bees who would naturally pollinate the vanilla orchid largely do not exist in Madagascar, it must be pollinated by hand.
Due to theft, early harvesting, and possibly exploitation, the price of vanilla has exploded in recent years. It is hard to come by cheap, good quality vanilla beans. Malagasy people don’t care much for vanilla so it’s mostly sold to tourists but the quality at these markets is often not great. Here’s hoping that the Malagasy vanilla industry will recover in the next few years.
- Next: Manambato (2019)