So I went to Lagos for two weeks for work. It was a completely intense time that I am still processing, and about which I will hopefully write more at length. For now I want to write about the food.
My first day in Lagos was the one day I was treated to some tastes of “home.” In the form of a cheeseburger and fries. My first in four months. It also included a latte, but I’ll just show you the proof of the burger. I know what you’re thinking, “Was it any good??” Well. It was reasonable. Not great, not bad. But after four months, reasonable is great to me!
I love ofada rice, a local rice that is not processed like typical white rice. It has such an interesting flavor, and it’s often served at big weddings/birthdays/funerals. I’ve eaten it a few times, but never photographed it. I enjoyed it thoroughly.
A common Nigerian breakfast is boiled yam and stew. It is not distinct to Lagos, but in Ife I usually eat breakfast on my own, splurging on American cereal. In Lagos I was always with Nigerians, so I ate this several times. Really tasty.
I love food at Nigerian parties. I also love the pots used to cook food for Nigerian parties. Big massive pots. Cooking jollof rice and fried rice. I attended a Sallah celebration in Lagos and saw these wonderful pots of rice, and then ate the deliciousness (with salad and ram):
In Lagos I also ate pepper soup several times. Pepper soup is a clear broth soup that can be made with fish, chicken, beef, ram, anything. They use specific spices to make it, and the point of the soup is that it’s very very spicy. Like the kind of heat that makes you sweat. I love it. And Nigerians are often concerned when I say I want some, as if I don’t know my limits. I politely explain that I like spice, and I would love to eat some. At the Sallah celebration they made ram pepper soup. My portion had liver, lung, and shaki (the white stuff), which is intestine. I was down with the liver and lung, but I was not so much into the texture of the shaki.
Another night I went with some friends to eat catfish pepper soup. Freshly killed and prepared for us! Probably the spiciest I’ve eaten, and very yummy.
In Lagos I ate a new swallow- lafu. It’s like amala, but white. I can’t remember if the stew was okra or egusi, but the meat was leftover Sallah ram.
I also at suya. One of my favorite Nigerian foods, and one I’ve eaten multiple times. It was great to eat it in Lagos!
I tried a number of new snacks in Lagos. The first was cocoro, made from corn. It originated in Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun state, which is next to Lagos state. We went there briefly, and I ate some cocoro while there. The word cocoro has two meanings, depending on the tone. One is the snack I wanted, the other is “insect,” which was not what I wanted, but apparently what I asked for. Oops. Thankfully they gave me the right one. It tastes somewhat like Fritos, but less salty and greasy.
Then there’s Coconut Chips. Ubiquitously sold by street hawkers in Lagos. Since we sat in traffic often, I was frequently tempted to buy them. Seriously delicious. I could eat them every day.
And finally kuli-kuli. I tried this once before, but since it’s mostly made in the North, it’s not easy to come by in Ife. However, in the melting pot of Lagos, it’s easier to find. It’s made by frying ground peanuts. Another one of my favorites, for sure.
That about does it for the Lagos Food Edition. Though I miss my “typical” food from home, I’m certainly glad that I have so many wonderful and delicious options in Nigeria!