Locals know best, so we asked five foodies from five cities to dish up their city’s top taste destinations…
Words Nana Ocran
Whether it’s a palate-popping taste of street food from Accra, a South African culinary movement or a secret ingredient from a top Abujan kitchen, sub-Saharan Africa’s pantry is bursting with rich flavours. All are worth savouring, because after all, sub-Saharan Africa has the flavours of the world running through it. With a focus on Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa and Angola, we get the low-down from a table of foodies that includes a chef, two food bloggers, an author, editor and recipe developer.
Culinary Credentials: Food blogger at Dobby’s Signature
I cook almost every day for my family and readers. As a confirmed foodie, it keeps me going. I’ve been noticing lately that more and more Nigerians are starting to embrace locally produced, natural food including fish, fruit and vegetables. One of the best places to get fresh produce at the best prices is Agboju market in Festac, a small town along the Badagry expressway. I go there to get ingredients for one of my favourite meals – Ogbono soup. I love its richly flavoured taste and smooth texture. It’s prepared with the seeds of the African wild mango and is delicious with morsels of swallow (eba or fufu).
Culinary Credentials: Chef
at Chez Victor Restaurant
Right now, my favourite meal is Souris d’Agneau, available at my restaurant of course. It’s a leg of lamb marinated in olive oil, aniseed, ginger and herbs de Provence, cooked in caramelised red onion and lemon sauce, served with sautéed potatoes, mixed vegetables and fried curry rice. In terms of local food trends, people here love the fish bars, where you can choose
a live catch and wait for it to be barbecued.
My favourite food market is actually in Lagos, and it’s a bit of a hidden secret, located under the bridge by Ozumba Mbadiwe Street. I had my first restaurant in Lagos and I used to buy from Mrs Joko, who was one of about 10 women selling smaller quantities of excellent fish there. Today, she operates two boats out at sea. I’m still buying from her, and I’m happy about her economic fortunes.
Blogger at My Burnt Orange
For a bustling city like Accra, it’s street food like suya kebabs (known locally as kyinkyinga) rather than restaurant dishes that tend to be the go-to choices for the city’s residents. Although there’s one location that Ghanaians and tourists like – the Bojo Beach Resort. The last time I was there, they offered traditional dishes including banku and grilled tilapia as well as more western dishes like fried chicken and fries. The best thing, though, is their mixed seafood and grill with fried rice. I have the lobster, sole and octopus with some shito sauce on the side. Other than that, I’d recommend the Osu night market. You’ll see people there queuing up for local food like domedo – roasted or smoked spicy pork.
Culinary Credentials: Author of Angolan African Recipes Cuisine
Angola’s national dish is calulu (fish in palm oil), but the food from this part of Africa isn’t really internationally recognised; that’s why I wrote my book. Angolan food is influenced by Portugal, particularly in dishes like Bacalhau Algume e sal con Natas (cod with potatoes and cream), although a lot of people, especially in Luanda, do frequent the street vendors. There are so many, but the best ones are around the city’s beach area. Basically, it’s all about the taste for Angolans. They use garlic, peri peri, lemon, vinegar and olive oil to get the best out of chicken and meat.
Location: Cape Town
Culinary Credentials: Researcher, writer, editor and recipe developer
South African food is what I grew up eating. At some point, I saw it fading away as the youth became more interested in Western dishes, so I wanted to create a movement to present appealing traditional dishes. I’ve noticed that people are becoming more interested in innovative, healthy, and artisanal food. A couple of good, little-known places to eat in this city are Mama Africa in Long Street, and AmaZink Eatery in Stellenbosch. Of the dishes that I develop, I’m most proud of the fusion ones — where I take a dish from the Cape Malay culture,
like a roti, and use it with indigenous ingredients like jugo or nyimo beans. To me, it’s a symbol of how we are as a nation – or how we should be as the new South Africa.
Five tasty food dates for 2014
Taste Of London Festival,
”It’s the easiest, most enjoyable way to appreciate how varied and exciting London’s dining scene has become,” says the FT. Chefs from over 40 of London’s leading restaurants cook sample-sized dishes on site among the stunning surrounds of Regents Park. There’s a boutique food market, workshops, cooking demonstrations, and pop-up wine and cocktail bars where you can rub shoulders with your favourite celebrity chefs.
The London Coffee Festival,
A big food and beverage event for coffee aficionados, this four-day festival rolls into London for the first time in 2014. Gourmet coffee, speciality teas, artisan food, workshops, tastings and more besides is all happening at east London’s trendy Truman Brewery.
Small World Nigeria, February
What started off as a small outdoor fair for 300 guests has morphed into a large annual event whereby international foods are the vessels for bringing Nigeria’s international community together.
Taste Of Johannesburg Festival, September
‘Gourmands, gastronomes, food fanatics and drinks devotees’ are the mainstay of the annual Taste of Johannesburg festival. A selection of chefs from the city’s top restaurants will make signature dishes and give mouthwatering cooking demos across a range of indoor and outdoor settings.
New York City
New York City Food and Wine Festival, 9–12 October 2014
If you’re looking for a way to spend the Columbus Day weekend, you can do much worse than the New York City Food And Wine Festival. The show features world-renowned chefs, winemakers, and spirit producers – all full of fascinating expertise on food and wine pairings.
This festival is part of an ongoing mission to promote Africa’s culinary heritage to the rest of the world. Set up by New York culinary entrepreneur Pierre Thiam, the first one took place in Dakar in 2013. Check out the Afroeats Facebook page for updates on future events and locations.