Wow. It seems like I took a couple of months hiatus on this series. In my defense, I went back home to Naija for a couple of weeks, which brings me to part 6 of my series, 10 Things I Love About Naija – Naija Food.
There is food, and there is Naija food. Most of us can agree to that. I went to restaurant in Abuja, and casually ordered semovita and onugbu(bitterleaf) soup. What I saw on my table 15 minutes later was just outstanding. Nice smooth semovita that looked like it was customized for my tongue, and a bowl of onugbu soup that has so much meat, chicken, stock fish, kpomo, and shaki in it that it looked like a festival of meat & fish was happening in that bowl. The soup was no longer fluid, because the meats, and fish in it had turned it to some kind of meat porridge… Chei…. lol. Before anyone could say jack robinson, I loosened my belt, washed my hands in the “washing hand bowl,” and descended on that semovita with “iwe.” Afterwards, I drank my cold bottle of small stout, looked to my friend while picking my teeth with a toothpick, and said (in a thick naija accent) “This is what life is all about…. The enjoyment of satisfaction.” I sat there for about 10 minutes just wishing I could replay the past 10-15 mins over and over again, plus I had to wait a little bit before moving because my stomach was stretched to its limit from the eating festival. Writing this sef has made me hungry.
One of the advantages of having so many tribes in Naija, is that you get to come in contact with numerous cultures, and with that you get to eat their food at some point or another if you live in naija. I grew up in the north, and so suya, tuwo, alibasa, massa, kunu, fura de nono, etc were northern foods I ate all the time. Those in south west i.e. Yoruba folks have their beautiful amala, fufu, ewedu soup, etc and Igbos gather their isi ewu, ofe nsala, ofe onugbu, akpu (for energy), okpa, abacha n ukpaka etc. Benin and their banga soup… South south with their edikaikon soup(spellcheck), and roasted fish and plaintain. I mean I can go on and on with food and their cultural origin, but I’ll leave it at that. I think folks get my point. We even have naija food now that is so engrained in naija food culture that not many people can trace which tribe started eating what first or what tribe is known for it. Plaintain (in all forms), garri, moi-moi, akara, jellof rice, fried rice, akamu, egusi soup, okra soup are all foods that I personally think should be classified as naija food. All these are so nigerian that I’m not sure one tribe can lay absolute claim to it. Ahhhh…. the beauty of naija.
Let’s not forget our fruits and vegetables; Udala/Agbalumo, Ube, Mango, Cashews, Paw paws, Garden Egg, etc or our snacks; Chin-Chin, Puff Puff, Meat Pie, roasted groundnut, roasted corn etc. Kai…Wahali we are blessed with food in that country. Why do we even bother to import food in that country? Anyways, let me not digress.
In conclusion Naija food is one of the reasons why I can’t afford not to be a Naija person. I no fit chop burger, pizza, burritos, chinese food, italian food etc till I die. Besides the fact that I’ll gain weight like a pig, the food is not customized for my tongue like my semovita is abeg. I want to be able to eat my pounded yam, and ofe nsala when I want to… eat my balango suya as a snack, or chop roasted plantain and fish in the evening… eat my ube and coconut, or drink garri and groundnut with cold water (my african cereal…lol)… eat jellof rice with fried plantain when I feel like forming small ajebo… Ok I need to stop cos I’m hungry now…lol. So there goes, Naija food; One of the 10 Things I Love About Naija.