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Port of Call: Our Journey to Madagascar

Port of Call: Our Journey to Madagascar

May. 10th, 2024

Every month, residents in participating affiliated communities will explore a different culture through engaging activities, fun facts, and tasty cuisine through the Port of Call program. This month, the Port of Call is to Madagascar!

About Madagascar

Madagascar is a southwestern African island country that is located east of Mozambique. It is surrounded by the Indian Ocean and Mozambique Channel. Historians believe that people settled in Madagascar in 700.1 Specifically, people from Indonesia made their way to Madagascar through India and East Africa. Several tribes were created including the Betsimisarka, Merina, and Betsileo people.2

Today, nearly 31 million people live in Madagascar, making it the fiftieth most populous country in the world. The official language is Malagasy, however, French is used in the business world.3 Madagascans have Indonesian, French, Arab, and Indian ethnic backgrounds.4 Madagascar has both a rainy season and a dry season. Temperatures vary from 73 to 80 degrees throughout the year, with the mountainous areas reaching between 60 and 66 degrees.5

Things to Do in Madagascar

Madagascar is a country with a rich history, beautiful landscapes, and cultural sites to explore! One attraction you can visit is the Macolline Reserve. The Macolline Reserve is a 25-acre rainforest located on protected land in the northeastern city of Antalaha. While you are there, you could hike and try to spot some of the over 200 species living throughout Macolline. Additionally, you can take a boat and sail on the Ankavanan River.6

Another attraction you could explore is Lemurs’ Park. Lemurs’ Park is located in central Madagascar in between the cities of Imerintsiatosika and Ambodiafontsy. While at Lemurs’ Park, you can walk on the scenic trail and keep an eye out for the different species of lemurs, as well as possibly see over 70 species of plants and beautiful waterfalls. After you have finished walking the trail, you could get a bite to eat at their restaurant.7 

If you are looking for a cultural site to visit, you could take a tour of the Royal Hill of Ambohimanga located in central Madagascar in the city of Antananarvio. While on your tour, you may learn about the significance of the Royal Hill of Ambohimanga and why it is seen as a meaningful symbol of Malagasy history. Also, you will see the preserved gateways, fortifications, and architecture of the different buildings and structures. Today, the Royal Hill of Ambohimanga serves as a worship area for religious people from all over the world.8  

In addition to parks and historical sites, Madagascar also has pristine beaches. Northwestern Madagascar is home to a small island called Nosy Sakatia. While on the island, you can reserve a guide who will take you to the Vialli di fishermen, which is an area in which Madagascans grow vanilla, coffee, and orchids. Additionally, you will go to the shoreline and swim and snorkel in the Indian Ocean. It is very common to see sea turtles and coral through the crystal blue waters.9

Food in Madagascar

Malagasy cuisine is heavily influenced by its French roots and the Arab and Indonesian settlers. For example, the French contributed vanilla, sugar cane, and cloves to the Malagasy diet.10 Fish is popular in eastern Madagascar and crab is popular in northern and western Madagascar. A typical meal in Madagascar consists of pork, chicken, or meat with a side of rice.11 Here are some staple dishes Madagascans enjoy:

  • Vary Amin’anana. Vary Amin’anana is a rice and green vegetable dish eaten for breakfast or dinner. Oftentimes, Madagascans add chicken, meat, eggs, or shrimp to this dish.12
  • Ravitoto is a Malagasy comfort food that consists of cassava leaves, oil, and meat. To make this dish, you need to grind the cassava leaves into a bowl, add the oil and meat, and cook over a charcoal fire. Traditionally, ravitoto is served alongside rice.13
  • Koba Ravina. Koba Ravina is a Malagasy snack made with dough and vanilla and wrapped in banana leaves. Madagascans usually have koba ravina in the afternoon after work or school.14
  • Hen’omby Ritra. Hen’ombry ritra is a simmered beef dish made from zebu, oil, garlic, tomatoes, and ginger. Zebu is a type of cattle that originated in South Asia and has since been found in Africa, Brazil, and the United States.15, 16
  • Mofo Gasy. Mofo Gasy is a cross between a donut and a pancake and is a staple breakfast food for Madagascans. It is made up of flour, yeast, and cream of rice. It is common to serve fresh fruit alongside this dish.17

Our Menu

The dietary teams at the participating communities will create a menu centered on each Port of Call theme. Please keep in mind that these recipes are tailored for the communities, but feel free to adjust them to fit your needs. This menu is subject to change. Check out the menu and correlating recipes below!

Lasary Voatabia Tomato and Scallion Salad:

  • 7 LBS of Diced Fresh Tomatoes
  • 5 CUPS of Thinly Sliced Green Onions
  • 1 CUP of Vegetable Oil
  • 2 TEASP of Salt
  • 2 TEASP of Ground Black Pepper
  • 5 TBSP of Lemon Juice
  • 1 CUP of Chopped Parsley Fresh
  • 2 TBSP of Fresh Minced Garlic


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and fold well.
  2. Wrap, label and refrigerate until needed.

Akoho Misy Sakamalao Madagascar Chicken with Curry Rice:

  • 50 EA of Chicken Thighs Skin on Bone
  • 3 CUPS of Diced Red Onions
  • 2 CUPS of Chopped Cilantro
  • 3 TBSP of Chopped Fresh Garlic
  • 1 TBSP of Ground Turmeric
  • 2 TBSP of Paprika
  • 2 TBSP of Ground Cumin
  • 2 TEASP of Salt
  • 2 TEASP of Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 CUP of Lemon Juice
  • 1 CUP of Vegetable Oil
  • 2 TBSP of Brown Sugar
  • 2 TBSP of Tomato Paste


  1. Combine all ingredients except chicken in a robot coupe or blender and process into an almost puree.
  2. Transfer the mixture into a large container and add chicken thighs. Mix well until well-coated. Cover, label, date, and refrigerate overnight or for at least 3 hours.
  3. Lay the chicken thighs on sheet pans over parchment paper and roast in the oven at 375 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until the internal temperature has reached 165 F or above.
  4. Transfer the marinade to a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes. Then pour over the chicken.

Curry Rice:

  • 12 CUPS of Parboiled Rice Pilaf
  • 2 TBSP of Ground Turmeric
  • 1 TBSP of Curry Powder
  • 4 CUPS of Coconut Milk
  • 12 CUPS of Water
  • 1 TBSP of Salt
  • 1 TBSP of Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 TBSP of Dried Parsley
  • 1 CUP of Cubed Butter


  1. Combine all ingredients in a deep baking pan and cover with parchment paper and foil. Then bake for 45 minutes in a 375 F oven. Remove the pan from the oven and set aside covered for 10 minutes. Then, uncover and serve.

Lasary Curried Vegetables:

  • 10 LBS of Mixed Frozen Vegetables
  • 2 CUPS of Butter
  • 1 TBSP of Ground Turmeric
  • 3 TBSP of Chicken Base
  • 1 TBSP of Granulated Garlic
  • 1TBSP of Paprika
  • 1 TEASP of Salt
  • 3 TEASP of Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 TBSP of Dried Parsley


  1. Steam the frozen vegetable mix for 25 minutes.
  2. Insert in the oven for 8 minutes uncovered at 375 F. Then serve.

Malagasy Cake Vanilla and Coconut Milk Cake:                                

  • 2 EA of 5LB Cake Corn Mix
  • 6 CUPS of Vanilla Ice Cream Melted into the Sauce
  • 4 CUPS of Liquid Egg
  • 4 CUPS of Brown Sugar
  • 8 CUPS of Milk
  • 4 TBSP of Vanilla Extract
  • 1 TEASP of Ground Nutmeg
  • 2 TEASP of Ground Cinnamon
  • 8 CUPS of Chopped Ripe Bananas
  • 1 TEASP of Ground Cloves
  • 2 CUPS of Melted Butter
  • 2 CUPS of Sour Cream


  1. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Whisk well while rotating the bowl clockwise until a thick consistent batter is reached.
  2. Transfer the batter into 2 " greased baking pans. Use parchment paper to facilitate cake release.
  3. Bake in a 350 F oven for 30 minutes or until the middle is firm. Test the middle using a bamboo skewer or a long tooth pick.
  4. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Then release from baking pans and set on a cutting board to cut into 2.5" by 2.5" slices.
  5. Decorate with whipped cream.

Activities for the Port of Call

The affiliated Life Enrichment Departments will provide residents with fun and engaging activities celebrating the culture of Antalaha, Madagascar! All activities are subject to change. Here are some of the activities the affiliated communities are planning to offer:

Caring Heights Community Care & Rehab Center

Caring Heights is planning on watching an educational video on Madagascar, eating traditional treats, and making their own vanilla extract!

Clarksville Health and Rehab

Clarksville plans on offering a fun lemur craft to celebrate the several species of lemurs that live in Madagascar!

Midtown Oaks Health & Rehab Center

Midtown Oaks is planning on baking Mofo gasy and traditional cherry vanilla clafoutis their cooking clubs, weaving placemats and basket weaving in their art clubs, and having a drum circle and exercising to traditional Madagascar music throughout the month!

Saber Healthcare:

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Saber Healthcare is an organization dedicated to providing consultant services to long-term care providers. This article is for informational purposes and is not meant to be seen as professional advice. Please consult with a medical expert before relying on the information provided.