Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Eating the Globe: Nigeria

This was an experience. Chris and I went to a Nigerian restaurant in Oakland for lunch. Actually, it's half regular American diner, half Nigerian restaurant. When I entered, I was handed the diner menu and had to ask for the other menu.

Curiously, Chris and I were the only noontime customers during the hour and a half that we were there.

We each ordered stew. The waitress was a bit shocked, told us the stew was too peppery, and tried to dissuade us from ordering it.

I got the edikanikon. It's a combination of stockfish, goat, beef, tripe, chicken with vegetables and spices. Chris got the egusi (a seed) with bitter leaf, which was much more pungent and peppery than mine.

We got a quick lesson in eating Nigerian food. We cleaned our right hand with the water dish. We then grabbed a piece off of the white yam dough and picked up the stew with the yam. If our hands got too starchy from the yam or messy from the stew, we washed our right hands again with the water.

While we ate, the owner gave us the stew in the middle of the picture below. It's the mildest stew they serve, for neophytes. It tasted bland compared to what we had.

There's no way to describe the taste, it is so foreign. The closest approximation is fermented fish sauce from Southeast Asia, plus deep peppery flavor (not hot), and gamey goat. It's not bad, but I wouldn't eat it again.

Thanks, Chris, for being such a good sport!

Countries tried so far:
Africa: Algeria, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa

Asia: Afghanistan, Burma, China, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Yemen

Europe: Bosnia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden
North America: Canada, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Trinidad & Tobago, USA

South America: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela

Oceania: Samoa, Tonga

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