Raw camel liver: breakfast of champions in Sudan

Wed Apr 20, 2011 10:23am EDT
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By Deepa Babington

TAMBUL, Sudan (Reuters Life!) - Bloodied chunks of raw liver from a freshly slaughtered camel may not be the idea of an appetizing breakfast for most, but for some in northern Sudan there is no better way to start the day.

In Tambul, a village of low mud and stone houses off a dirt track lined only with the occasional donkey carcass, the camel market is where raw liver aficionados gather for their weekly fix of the local delicacy.

At the crack of dawn on Saturday, Mubarak Mohammed Ahmed, 57, stood waiting by the main highway from Khartoum, hoping to hitch a ride to the market for a liver breakfast. Like many others in the area, he swears the dish offers an array of health benefits -- though some of the claims may be debatable at best.

"If I eat liver, I can stay out in the sun for a long time without feeling tired," said Ahmed, which would be nothing short of a miracle under the merciless Sudanese sun.

"It gives me a lot of energy and it improves my mood."

At her small tea shack with green walls and a few plastic chairs, Mariam Bakhit gives a large hunk of camel liver a quick rinse before mixing it with a dash of lemon, peanut sauce and diced onions in a bowl with her fingers.

"It's best if you don't wash the liver, but if you must, you should do it just once to get the most of its benefits," Bakhit said as she set out the dish with a side of chillies and lime.

Eaten directly from a communal bowl with one's fingers, the liver tastes crunchy despite its gelatin-like texture. The hint of peanut sauce and lemon do little to mask the feeling that one is, well, eating the uncooked insides of a camel.   Continued...

<p>A woman prepares a dish of camel liver at her shop in Tamboal village market in Al Jazeera April 16, 2011. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah</p>