Amandine Bakery: What would N’Djaména be without it?

Restaurants which open today may be forced to close within a few years.  All it takes is a bad decision by the owner one day, and tomorrow, you find that the owner has locked the doors.  This is especially true in countries with a less than welcoming business environment.

Like restaurant owners, God’s servants have to find a way to make a living while serving overseas.  To do so, they must find businesses that last – and run them in a way that makes them an indispensable part of their community.

L’amandine: a durable N’Djaména classic

Gourmet cakes at l'amandineAmandine Bakery is a durable N’Djaména classic; what would life in N’Djaména be without it? The bakers and staff have served baked goods, pizza and ice cream for over twenty years and through at least three revolutions. During one of the skirmishes when they were on Charles de Gaulle Street when the trees were intact, a stray bullet put the ice cream dispenser out of commission!

For many years, L’amandine has been a favorite gathering place for Chadian musicians and artists. Now it reaches out to all sorts of people as a meeting place.  Going there during the week is a special treat.  It’s a great place to celebrate and meet with friends and family.

What to expect

L’amandine is a bakery of special treats for any time of the day: there is pain au chocolat and fresh bread for breakfast. For lunch, have a cheese omelet or a L'amandine paninipanini.  Be sure to buy the biggest fruit juice of the flavor of the day that you can! For supper, take home a pizza or two.  Perhaps, you would prefer a hamburger on a homemade roll to re-heat in the oven.

For a birthday or special occasion, a delicious gourmet chocolate cake will be an unforgettable touch to that special day.

L’amandine opens around 7:30 AM and closes around 8 PM Monday through Saturday.  So there is plenty of time to pop in and enjoy an L'amandine baked goodsice cream cone or two to get you through the day. Be forewarned, however: on Sundays, they are open from 9 AM to Noon.

The busiest times at L’amandine are during the morning commute when parents are dropping off or picking up their children at school, or right after work. If you can, try to pop in when things are a bit quieter, such as from 7:30 to 8:30 AM, 2:00 to 5:00 PM or 6:30 to 8:00 PM.

Throughout the year, they bake L'amandine frontseasonal treats, such as Epiphany cakes in January (the ones with a little statue baked into the cake, and a crown on the cake for the one who finds it) and Easter chocolate for Easter. For Christmas, you can order a “bûche de Noël“, the well-loved French cake in the form of a log.

The restaurant always seems to lack waitresses and waiters on duty. This place is extremely popular, but be patient… your patience will be well-rewarded. The staff they DO have is professional and kind, always ready to give you a smile, even if it is weary one as they try to keep up with the near-constant demand.

seating at l'amandine is limitedThere aren’t a lot of seats available in the air-conditioned lobby, so be ready to try sitting in the garden outside, behind the bakery.

Note: I do not work for L’amandine, nor do any of my relatives. They have not paid or compensated me to present this evaluation. It’s just that L’amandine has been a part of my life in Chad for over twenty-one years, and I just had to tell you about it.

And now, we would like to ask you a question: What restaurant or business you love has endured challenges, but is still open, and thriving?

(Please tell us by filling in the comment box at the bottom of this page.  If there is no comment box below this article, click on the link below that says, “Continue reading” and scroll down to the bottom of the page.)

Royal Chicken in N’Djaména serves meals fit for a king!

Royal Chicken: Food Rehab in the Capital City of Chad

Royal Chicken: best when shared with friendsLiving in a country that is not our own is mostly delightful.  Like a newborn child, our senses come alive with each new experience.  So many of the details are new to us, and stick out to us, especially at the beginning.  This can also be true within our own country, in cities and regions where the way people talk and react are so different.

However, living in a foreign country can also be overwhelming.  We don’t know what to say, and what to do.  We offend others easily without knowing why.  We miss those we have left back home.  On the hardest days, we just want to go home.

On days like that, we all need a place to go to fill our stomachs, and gain new perspective on why we’re here.

On Mobutu Street in N’Djaména, just before you arrive at the Presidential Palace Super Complex, there is a restaurant that serves a delicious, more affordable alternative to the “Haute Cuisine” found on Charles De Gaulle.

Royal Chicken: what to expect

In that bright pink building almost across the street from the “Mairie” (Town Hall), there is a family restaurant who knows how to serve up a taste of American fried chicken.

Royal Chicken family mealThese are not the scrawny chickens being sold in the Central Market. For many years, I keep returning to Royal Chicken Restaurant and, every single time, the meal has been a succession of tasty bites of mouth-watering satisfaction.

Walk into the Royal Chicken Restaurant. Choose your seat quickly, and hold it. There aren’t many tables… but don’t despair. If you are unable to find a seat, you can always bring your take-out order with you to the magnificent Independence Park further up the road, and enjoy it there.

The kitchen equipment behind the windows is typical of what you would find in a fast food restaurant in the US or overseas, but here in Chad, there is none like it anywhere else.

Part of the fun of eating at Royal Chicken is to watch from behind the window as the cooks prepare your meal. Unlike many other restaurants in this town, this place has nothing to hide.

The store manager and chef is warm and friendly, and personally sees to it that every meal meets his standard of deliciousness. His daughter will take your order, and usually bring it to you in less than thirty minutes, usually in fifteen, depending on the size of your order. While you wait, there is a sink right there for you to wash your hands as one of your party holds on to your seats.

At Royal Chicken, you have two main choices: fried chicken, or a chicken sandwich. They include french fries with almost ever meal on the menu, and you get to choose a can of soda from the refrigerator which also comes with your meal. For a little extra, you can choose a fruit drink or a bottle of Maltina. Or go ahead and pull out a small dish of ice cream from the freezer, and the waitress will add that to your bill for you as well.

The chicken is less salty than you may expect. Sometimes I use the salt and red pepper shaker to spice it up a bit, and sometimes I don’t. But I almost always dip my fries in the mayonnaise which comes with my meal while my friends use the ketchup bottles on the table for theirs.

The only warning I can give you when you come is to stay away from those delicious-looking tomatoes if you are prone to tummy bugs.

Otherwise, for the price you would pay at Côté Jardin, Ali Baba or Le Carnivore, you can enjoy your meal tonight and come back some other night to eat once again at my favorite chicken place in all of Chad, the Royal Chicken Restaurant.

Do you have a favorite restaurant you enjoy when you need a taste of home, or memories of better days?

(Please tell us by filling in the comment box at the bottom of this page.  If there is no box below this article, click on the link below that says, “Continue reading” and scroll down to the bottom of the page.)