Guyana President Irfaan Ali Cooks Me a Feast!

As my adventures in Guyana continued, I was shocked when I got an invitation from Guyana President Irfaan Ali, to join him for an Eid celebration at his home in Georgetown! Come with me as the President of Guyana cooks me an incredible Guyanese food feast for Eid!

President Ali is known for his excellent cooking skills! He and his assistant chef Fiona would be making us an amazing beef curry, which I was super excited to try. He uses all-fresh ingredients from his garden. He even makes his own 17-spice mixture!

Meeting President Irfan Ali of Guyana

Meeting Guyana's President Irfan Ali as he prepares a beef curry at his home in Georgetown | Davidsbeenhere
His Excellency President Irfan Ali is a kind and humble man of the people.

Guyana President Irfaan Ali would be cooking in the old traditional way. First, he washed some dal and some rice. He also would be stirring the food with a giant paddle. He had a giant bucket of fatty meat, which would be full of flavor.

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They have smokers where they’d be cooking all the meat. Then, they showed me the garden, where they grow herbs and vegetables like mint, basil, fine-leaf thyme, broad-leaf thyme,  parsley, shallots, celery, callaloo leaf, chadon beni, and more. I tried a bit of everything. It was all super fresh and tasty! The callaloo leaf reminded me of spinach!

They also grow grapes on the property, as well as sugarcane. The president planted this garden long before he got elected. You have to bite the outer skin of the sugarcane and tear it off with your teeth to get to the sweet, moist meat inside.

Cooking with the President of Guyana

The President of Guyana poses with a large, wooden paddle on his outdoor patio | Davidsbeenhere
The President uses a large, wooden paddle to stir the beef curry.

Back at the outdoor kitchen, the aroma was incredible. Guyana President Irfaan Ali started building the curry by adding the fresh meat and the spice mixture to a huge pot. The pot reminded me of some I’d seen in south India! The colors were so rich! It would be ready in just 90 minutes!

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Inside, they were cooking some yard fowl and dal. They grind spices using a masala brick. It’s so fresh! I tried some garlic and coconut choka. The coconut choka was really nice, grainy, and a little spicy.

Outside they put a huge piece of beef in the smoker. Then, in the kitchen, Stacey and I had some dal with rice and coconut choka. There was a spicy wiri wiri pepper in there that was super hot! The coconut choka was so different from anything I’d ever had!

Then, they started building a duck curry. The garlic, onions, and peppers with the masala mixture smelled heavenly. I coud have eaten it by itself! Next, she added the duck!

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Sampling the President’s Food

David Hoffmann eats a piece of Guyanese liver fry as the President looks on | Davidsbeenhere
I had to sample a bit of His Excellency’s meaty and flavorful liver fry!

Back outside, the Guyana President gave me a mug of the dal so I could try it, but it was too hot! Next, he started on the liver fry and gave me a genip, which is a meaty, lychee-like fruit that’s very sweet!

I tried some delicious coconut water, followed by the dal in the mug. It wasn’t too chunky but had a nice amount of spice and some cumin. It was the best dal I’d had in Guyana so far! Next, I tried some of the liver fry, which melted in my mouth! Then, President Ali showed me a cow head and cow heel.

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Back in the kitchen, his grandmother was making some pepperpot! But now it was time to eat!

Eating Authentic Guyanese Food with Guyana President Irfaan Ali

David Hoffmann eats Guyanese beef curry and liver fry with Stacy and President Irfan Ali | Davidsbeenhere
Not only is President Ali an amazing chef, but he’s also fun to enjoy a meal with!

The beef curry was some of the most tender beef I’ve ever had. It had been butchered today, so it was super fresh. The 17 spices gave it so much flavor, but it wasn’t overbearing. After a while, His Excellency President Irfaan Ali even joined us to eat!

Next were coconut buns, which were fluffy and contained raisins and lots of grated coconut. Then, I learned His Excellency had prepared a gift for me: the paddle he used to cook our meal!

We took our duck curry to go. What an incredible day I will never forget! Huge thanks to Guyana President Irfaan Ali and his family for inviting me into their home!

Where have you been?

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