Monday, August 27, 2012

Nigerian Foods- Weeks 5-7

I know you all love my posts about food, but because I was so adventurous in my first few weeks to try as many foods as possible, I am running out of new foods to show you on a weekly basis. And sometimes when I try new foods I don’t have my camera. However. I do indeed have a few new foods.

I have been to another birthday party, this one a joint 50th and 60th birthday party for a husband and wife. She’s a Dean and he’s a Medical Director, so it was a big shindig on a Friday night. It was a festive evening, and the food was pretty tasty. The staple foods at pretty much any party are jolof rice, fried rice, meat and/or fish, and coleslaw. You can also usually get some kind of swallow and stew/soup, though you have to ask for it. Here was the plate from that birthday party:

I am also eating some kind of swallow + soup several times a week. These past few weeks have included my introduction to pounded yam and semovita. First to the pounded yam with okra soup and fish. Okra soup is a “draw” soup, and the best way I can describe it is that it’s slimey. Except that is totally unhelpful, because slimey just sounds gross. It basically just sticks together and you have to pull (or “draw”) it up in a special way to get it to stick onto your swallow. Maybe slippery is a better word? I’m butchering this explanation so I’ll stop. It was somewhat challenging to eat the first time, as gravity always seemed to pull the soup back down, but I got the hang of it eventually.

This next picture is semovita with vegetable and catfish. Way more straightforward. Catfish is so delicious.

Those were my major new Nigerian foods. On to drinks. This next one is not Nigerian, but it is very exciting. Ginger Ale. Shasta ginger ale at that. It’s rare to see ginger ale outside the U.S., so I was completely shocked (and thankful!) when I saw ONE CAN of ginger ale on the shelf at the supermarket that sells some Western foods. Literally just one can. I grabbed it up, being careful not to get too excited, lest it was some strange imitation or a not-even-remotely-close imitation. Both of which happened with various items while living in Romania. True story: it was really ginger ale. Did I mention that ginger ale is neck and neck with root beer in my Favorite Soda list? Yeah. I was a happy girl that Saturday.

And then there’s Malta. Non-alcoholic malt drinks are really common in Nigeria. They’re the kind of drink people give if they want to treat you to something nice that isn’t alcohol. The thing is. I can’t stand it. I visited a Nigerian friend in the U.S., and she eagerly brought out Malta for me to try. And I eagerly tried it. And eagerly tried to like it. But the flavor is just something I can’t do. It’s hoppy and thick and ick. Thus I have avoided it here, graciously accepting the frequent cans that people give me and then passing them along to the neighbor boys who are THRILLED to have Malta. However, one night I decided to give it another try. I was able to drink about 5 sips this time, and didn’t dislike it quite so much. But I still think I’ll pass on it. Here’s the kind I tried:

Moving right along. These past few weeks I have also dabbled into the world of yogurt drinks. They scare me a bit, because they come in the same containers as juice. But they’re yogurt. But they’re not. And you don’t have to refrigerate them until they’re open. And that’s kind of weird. However, my American friend bought some, so I figured I’d give it a try and bought some pineapple-coconut yogurt-drink. Turns out, it’s pretty tasty. It’s drinkable yogurt. I’ll just ignore the fact that it doesn’t have to be refrigerated until it’s opened and not ask too many questions:

The only thing I have left to share about is snacks. But they’re two good ones. Cashews and Oreos. Cashews trees are pretty common here, though they’re not in season right now. But it generally means that cashews are available and not terribly expensive. For instance, I bought this 14 ounce can of them for $5.

As for the Oreos, they were a surprise treat from my American friends, who had a friend include them in one of the packages they receive for their business. Straight from NYC, complete with a Food Emporium bag. Twas a good week for Spangles.
As I’ve shared photos of many of the staple Nigerian foods in my first, second, and third posts about food in Nigeria, I may reduce food posts to once a month. Plus I need to post about things like Bugs and Buckets. Oh yes. You read that correctly. Bugs and Buckets. Stay tuned. 


AnnaBanana said...

I recently tried Malt. They have it at the store at the new mall, and Femo bought it once when we were out. It wasn't my favorite of them all, but it was only a sip (it was Femi A's first time hearing they have it here, so I was sure he would want more than a sip - i think Uche ended up drinking it haha it was hilarious to see them fight for a little can!) SO i"ll give it a try again, next time i'm in Auchan, i'll have a whole can for myself.
I am utterly curious about cat fish. does it taste like fish.... or cat? lol sorry, had to say it :)))
Its really good that you like fish, i think it would be hard for me. the slippery soup sounds interesting. hope the taste redeemed your explanation of it haha
it's really good to "put a face" to all these foods. was pounded yam as good as its reputation around here?

Unknown said...

Yes, pounded yam is great! I've actually only had it the "easy" way, made with yam flour (like you'd make mamaliga), not actually from pounding the yam yourself.
My favorite swallow by far is amala. It's the lightest (like vs heavy foofoo that sits like a brick in your stomach) and smoothest, and I like the flavor the best. Mmmm.