Part of what makes Paris so special is its diversity. The large influx of immigrants from all over the world, particularly from France’s former colonies in Africa and Asia, is reflected in the city’s museums, restaurants, concerts, and even food trucks. My desire to explore Paris’s wide array of cuisine brought me to Black Spoon, the first African food truck in the heart of Paris. Dedicated to showcasing the richness and diversity of African flavors, Black Spoon offers traditional dishes from Senegal and Mali that are prepared with halal meat and organic ingredients.
I found Black Spoon in the same outdoor courtyard near the French National Library that is a common stop for several other trucks. I started with the samoussas as an appetizer. These fried dumplings that originated in Central Asia (and are often referred to as samosas) have become a staple of African cuisine. Filled with shrimp, these samoussas were soft, savory, and not too oily–a common pitfall for this type of food. Black Spoon’s samoussas also had a light creaminess to them that made me wish I had ordered more.
Next up was the Poulet Yassa, a Senegalese dish that consists of white-meat chicken and vegetables in an onion sauce served on a bed of steamed rice. Yassa is then flavored with lemon, which gives the dish its characteristic acidity, providing just the right amount of tanginess. The mild piquancy of the Poulet Yassa complemented the creaminess of the other main dish that I ordered, Mafe. Mafe is a fantastic Malian dish of beef in a thick, peanut sauce, also served with steamed rice. The meat was soft and tender, and the peanut sauce was like a creamier, richer version of Thai Satay peanut sauce. If you find yourself stopping by Black Spoon, do not miss out on this.
Since I arrived in the late afternoon, Black Spoon had already sold out of their exotic beverages. Their flavors include mango, ginger, tamarind, and baobab – one more way Black Spoon is committed to providing a full range of African flavors. It seems, however, that Black Spoon is committed to more than just providing its customers with top-notch African cuisine. Fati Niang, the owner and manager of Black Spoon, is a proud member of The Street Food Movement, a voluntary association of street food venders that sets a high standard for ingredients and ethical business practices for its members. By promoting quality, innovation, and collaboration, The Street Food Movement in general, and Black Spoon in particular, celebrates the diverse array of food that makes Paris so special.
-Traveling Guest Contributor, David Martin Cohen