I am writing this missive after my umpteenth visit to the loo, fighting yet another episode of food poisoning in this Lagos.
I no dey hear word.
But why write about food instead of music? Well, didn’t someone say music is the food of the soul? So, all join.
I have been warned several times about my food tourism tendencies but I have always been optimistic about my chances. I also trust my alimentary canal too much but guess what? These Lagos food vendors are out to get and decimate me.
I may be as close to the dictionary meaning of epicure as possible. The Yoruba may refer to me as Agba man. The South South people as Guy Man, but personally I go by the name Jolly Papa and I like me a good time. Since I moved back to Lagos six years ago, I have made it my business to consider what the city offers my palate.
You must think this a bit grandiose. And yes, my day job does not encourage my eating expeditions (no be 9 to 5 o, na like 9 to 9) but I make it my concern to master my locale—which is Yaba.
Hunger can kill man for this Yaba. I made that conclusion at least five years ago, but the other day I met my friend, Kingsley, who was born and bred in this corner and he insisted that there are at least two places where I can get good chow.
Na im I follow am go the place. The food was made for those whose palates have lost that nuance called taste. From the clunky yam ratios to their wretched stew, it was obvious that they assumed their customers will never have a bright future. The next day again, I escorted my two left legs to the second place, a Calabar kitchen on Little Road. The experience was not only damning taste-bud wise, I had another bout of running stomach.
So, I called my friend, told him to stick to eating at home and then I reaffirmed my previous thesis that there is no good food in Yaba. Some will say White House still does good Amala. I disagree. The soul of Amala is the quality and manner of the red stew. How do you explain tasting oku-eko fish from a goat meat stew? The consistency of their meat is another matter; you could burst a vein in your head from chewing.
What about that place on Montgomery Road famed for their pounded yam? Bros, it is not sustainable spending 2k per meal per day when your father is not Dangote or Adeleke. Even then, the food is Yoruba boring. Yawn!!! And they deign to sell vegetable soup in Lagos! But if you are programmed like me to eat pounded yam every so often, I can hook you up with a few places.
Of course, those fast food joints are not even an option for me. I don’t like the idea of picking my meals from a show glass but every so often, I give The Place, a chance, even though they snubbed Yaba and gave Surulere preference.
But, to be candid, there are a few good places in Yaba.
Try the Calabar Kitchen on Chapel street for Afang. Their meals are reasonably priced and they don’t run your belly. The Moin-Moin make-shift stalls at Commercial and Industrial Avenues have saved lives especially in the evenings. Gondola bar has a mean chicken and chips sometimes. Never try their pepper-soup though, its hotness may lead to your early death. The Togolese women at Borno Way have the best smoky and spicy jollof rice within an 80-mile radius and Salado in Unilag serve a decent array of options if you can discountenance their showglass.
I am sure you are laughing at me and wondering how I got the diarrhoea of my arresting first sentence. No worry, one day I will tell you about the perils of eating in Ilupeju.