So, a few days ago, back in Swaziland or something, I got a food craving. I get these fairly often, and various of my friends and lovers have found it comical. (At least, they tell me it's comical. Perhaps it's actually quite annoying.)
Anyway, I got a food craving, but it was clear that there was no way I was going to be able to satisfy this craving either in Swaziland, or in Mozambique, my next stop.
I wanted a jiandui. Or, as some Chinese call them, a zhimaqiu (sesame ball). This is a deep-fried pastry, kind of like a donut, made of rice flour, filled with bean paste and covered with sesame seeds.
Where there's a reasonably-sized Chinese community you can usually find a place that makes them. They go stale easily, though, so you can't really ship them. They have to be deep-fried locally, then sold that day.
I didn't think I'd be able to find them anywhere in Africa, really. I was kind of resigned to waiting until I got back to Thailand where I'd just be able to go into Chinatown and find them there.
Then I found out there was a Chinatown in Johannesburg. I drove by it and found it was just a few shops and restaurants on both sides of a single block in the suburb of Cyrildene, and a couple of small shopping malls in the nearby suburb of Bruma.
I stopped in at the shopping malls, which were rather lame, and contained no restaurants other than scary-looking takeaway places. So I drove over to Cyrildene.
I went into a couple of small grocery stors, looking to see if anyone was selling any pastries. Nothing.
I was about to lose heart and give up when I saw a very small pastry shop. Pretty much just an aisle, really. I went in. They had them! They were very small, bite-sized sesame balls, but they did have them. I got two, and a small egg custard tart, for R. 5.50 (about 77 cents).
Yay! They weren't bad, even if they were miniature.
I can't remember the name of the place but I'll post the street when I get a chance to look at a map. If you get to that street you can't really miss it.
There's lots of private security guarding the street, and so the restaurants look safe to eat at even at night.