A visitor to Uganda will speedily grasp that chicken is the go-to bite in any part of the country. On small chalkboard menus hanging on the walls of roadside restaurants along the backstreets of Kampala, the words “TV Chicken” are written in bold letters.
The dish’s name is derived from the way it’s cooked. The chicken roasts in a rotisserie oven with a glass window that allows customers to feast their eyes on the sight of a whole chicken slowly turning, or “somersaulting,” as locals would say. While rotisserie chicken might not attract attention in some countries, in Uganda, the costly ovens are enough of a rarity that they lure customers in with the show. For passersby, the clear glass and the roasting action inside combine into a scene comparable to watching a television set. You place your order and watch the whole scene of your chicken cooking on a “screen.”
If your chicken was made any other way, it does not deserve to be awarded the “TV Chicken” title. When it’s finished cooking, the bird should have an inviting golden-brown hue and succulent flavor. It’s usually served in large portions with French fries, smoked bananas or cassava, and a variety of salads.