It would not be entirely accurate to say that I had dinner at the Moyo Restaurant on Tuesday night. I ate there, but in fact, I had bought my meal from a street vendor at V&A Waterfront, a humungous recreation district of shops, clubs and residences in the middle of the city's working harbor.
Before taking my order, Moses introduced himself to me with a warm handshake and then set out to prepare my quarter chicken and chips. It had been raining off and on all day so I asked if there was a dry table somewhere nearby where I could sit and eat. Moses told me not to worry, he knew just the place.
As I followed him, I did not expect he would take me into one of the more elegant restaurants in the district but that is what he did. I followed him right past the hostess, up the stairs and sat down obediently when Moses plunked my plate, utensils and beer down at a low table in a conversation pit-type area in front of a stage. With a hearty, "enjoy your dinner" he was gone.
I worked away at the barbeque chicken leg enjoying every bite, too busy eating to accept the offer of the face-painter who was creating intricate floral designs using some white substance she had stirred up in the bottom half of a soda bottle.
Behind me, the four man Imbube Singers, were working the room, crooning a tune at each table and making a stop in front of me, the freeloader. Then, they took to the stage and rocked the place.
It was a memorable dinner. And as if to prove that the novelty of another culture holds universal fascination, I'll point out that during one of my walks in Cape Town earlier in the week, I passed by a Burger King. Just that would have been notable since Cape Town is a modern city but it has few Western fast food joints. At this Burger King, there was a line out the door and wrapping around the building.
This is winter in the Southern Hemisphere and I can assure you it was a cold, raw afternoon, so I stopped to ask one of the men in line what was being given away at the BK to draw such a crowd. Nothing at all, he replied. The place opened about a month ago and it seems everyone in town wants to give the Whopper a try. The lines I saw on Sunday are apparently a daily occurrence.
I'd complain about the invasion of the big, bad, fast food business but really who will listen? And, besides, I don't live here.
I do hope, however, that's there's room in Cape Town for both American-style food and the South African-style experience Moses provided me - complete with a feast of sweet notes that lingered long after my dinner had ended.