In search of Nigerian Jollof in Kigali

1 week ago 26

Like a steamy, smoking and sumptuous plate of Nigerian Jollof rice, let me serve this piece to you “as e dey hot.”

One of the things Nigerians both home and aboard do not joke which we hold dearly if not religiously; is our gastronomic activities, gastronomic dexterity and gastronomic improvisations. But before you get lost within the aforementioned sentence; what I am simply stating in brief flash of grandiloquence, is that Nigerians don’t joke with their food and stomach; no way! We happily tell anyone who needs to know that we love our delicacies. If you like or you don’t like; call Nigerians foodies. It does not bother us, for we know that food and well-prepared food at that does something which English words cannot describe appropriately.

It is appropriate to find Nigerians looking for Nigerian food and restaurants anywhere you find them on the face of the earth. And if none of such exists, they try the local delicacies and if they are okay with it and can get back, they endeavour the delicacies have enough chilli pepper to make a non-West African speak strange languages.

Now, if they cannot find any local delicacies they can consume, they always find a way to prepare Nigerian delicacies with local food ingredients indoors. Actually, West Africans look for West African dishes or something close to West African dishes and if they cannot find something close, they conjure up food ingredients and the gastronomic dexterities are displayed in the kitchen.

In Rwanda, it is no different. When Nigerians from Nigeria, Nigerians in Diaspora, Nigerians with multiple nationalities fly into Rwanda either for business opportunities (business scouting, investments) or premium leisure; one song they all chorus is “where can we eat Nigerian food?” If Nigerians and West Africans need to journey from one part of Rwanda to another part of Rwanda just to demolish Nigerian dishes, we would take that journey; for we know that, no matter how tedious the journey maybe, the yearn for the stomach to consume Nigerian dishes must be quenched.

This piece is not about who has the best jollof rice in West Africa. In a recent post, former CEO of All-On; Dr Wieber Boer, who grew up in Nigeria and is currently the President of Calvin University in USA stated in a post on Monday, 23rd January 2023 that; “The debate has never been about the origins of Jollof rice. That has always clearly been Senegal as UNESCO has rightly confirmed.

“The debate has been about which Jollof tastes best. And the battle is normally between Ghana and Nigeria; with other countries in West Africa also making claims for best tasting Jollof rice. But I argue that this is also the wrong debate. Jollof rice is clearly the best rice dish in the world, regardless of which West African country it comes from. The debate now needs to be elevated as West African Jollof versus all the other rice dishes around the world (e.g. biryani, pelau, jumbalaya, paella, nasi goreng, etc). I am confident with that contest all of ECOWAS wins together.”

Now, in no particular order; when you are in Kigali, go in search for Afrinaija Pots restaurant, Danfo by The Grind; Jollof Kigali restaurant, Akachi Jollof, One meal. Now, that I am convinced I have sharpened, provoked and aroused your appetite for Nigerian delicacies; let me continue with my demolition of amala and gbegiri soup whilst you continue with your demolition of Nigerian jollof rice supported with goat meat and a bouncing chicken.

Dolapo Aina writes from Kigali, Rwanda.

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