Life Unparalleled

Loving Life as a Foreign Service Family – Current Parallel 6° 27' North- Lagos, Nigeria

Flowers and Suya

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I got back from R&R before the rest of the family, while I am enjoying the luxury of paid time off for the first time in my life, I only have so much of it, so they stayed in the US for an extra few weeks when I had to come back to work. I miss them like crazy, but I’ve been working a lot, and my friends here have been keeping me busy as well.  I’ve also been walking our dog a lot more than I ever did before (she’s our son’s dog and normally he walks her).  All over the streets here, there are small businesses.  Nearly everyone in Nigeria, even those with other full time jobs, are also entrepreneurs.  One that is common, at least in this area, are flower stands.  People plant flowers in bags and grow them on the side of the road. It rains here more than enough, and with the tropical sun, they grow very well.  They’re also quite pretty.

This one includes the owner’s phone number, if any of you would like to place an order.

A few weeks after we got here, we attended a barbecue  at one of the other housing units.  I think I had tried my first suya a few days earlier, and must have been talking about it with one of the marines who was also there.  He told me where his favorite spot to get suya was.  I assumed he was hazing me, from the description he gave, something along the lines of, “ok, you go up to Glover road, then you go down to an alley, and you go down to the end of the alley.  At the end there’s a black gate.  You go through the gate on the left, and around behind the building there, and there’s a little stand that specializes in suya, and its the best in Lagos.”

Since then I’ve had others point out the place to me as well, and show me where it is as we’ve driven by.  I’ve been meaning to try it out for months, and this afternoon while I was walking the dog I decided that tonight is the night.  On our way home we stopped by.  It was indeed, delicious suya, and I definately plan to go back.

It’s always a good sign when there is a large crowd of locals outside a food joint.  I’ll also need to try the schwarma place next door one of these days I think.

What is suya, you may be asking?  It can be summarized as spicy delicious meat on a stick.  To prepare it, one puts meat on a stick, sprinkles spicy powder all over it, grills it, and deep fries it, though I’m not sure on the exact order in which those 3 steps are taken.   It is served with chopped raw onion and extra suya powder to spice things up even more.  I generally find that I don’t need to add any powder, as it is more than spicy enough for me as it is.  Nigerians like their spice in their cuisine.  Now I sit here with my belly full, and my face sweating, and I’ll probably have wicked heartburn tonight, but it was worth it.

This place sold nothing but suya, in about 10 varieties, including beef, chicken, gizzards, tazo (described to me by someone in line as fatty tissue from a cow’s hump), guinea fowl, and several others.  In addition to the large crows of locals, there was one of the marines in line, picking up dinner for them.  He recommended the beef, and I went with it.  Good call.

 

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