Nigerian cuisine has long been celebrated for its rich and diverse flavours, and it seems that word is starting to spread beyond the country’s borders.
Recently, Australian actor Hugh Jackman became the latest celebrity to discover the joys of Nigerian food after visiting Enish, a popular Nigerian restaurant chain in London.
Jackman, best known for playing Wolverine in the Marvel movie franchise, is currently in London to film the upcoming Deadpool sequel. With production on hold due to the Sag-Aftra actors’ strike in Hollywood, the actor has been exploring the local cuisine and decided to give Nigerian food a try after his children recommended Enish to him.
“I was curious to try Nigerian food and my children had heard good things about this restaurant, so we decided to give it a go,” Jackman said in an interview with Food52. “I was blown away by the variety and depth of the flavours. It’s a true cultural experience that everyone should try at least once.”
According to Enish’s spokesperson, the multiple award-winning actor and his group ordered a selection of dishes that included BBQ chicken for starters, jollof rice with stockfish, yam porridge with chicken, jollof rice with fresh fish, Ogbona with pounded yam and fried fish. For drinks, they had Coke, Nigerian Fanta, and a large glass of Merlot.
“He tried Nigerian Fanta for the first time and loved it,” the spokesperson said to Metro.co.uk. “He was really impressed with the flavours and even swayed along to the Afrobeats playing in the restaurant. He was a really friendly and pleasant customer to have.”
Enish, which was founded by Olushola and Eniola Medupin in 2013, is now worth £10 million, with branches across London in Brixton, Croydon, Finchley, and Dubai. A new restaurant in Covent Garden is set to open on September 14th.
Nigerian cuisine is known for its vast array of flavours and ingredients, ranging from spicy and savoury to sweet and tangy. With over 250 ethnic groups in the country, each with its own culinary traditions, the cuisine is full of variety and depth.
“Food is an integral part of Nigerian culture,” says Nigerian chef and food writer Yemisi Aribisala. “It’s a way of expressing who we are and where we come from. Every dish has a story to tell, and every ingredient has a purpose.”
One of the most well-known Nigerian dishes is jollof rice, a flavorful rice dish made with tomatoes, onions, and spices. It is often served at celebrations and special occasions and is considered by many to be Nigeria’s national dish.
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Other popular dishes include egusi soup, made with ground melon seeds and vegetables, and suya, a spicy grilled meat often sold by street vendors. Meat pies, fried plantains, and akara (Nigerian bean cakes) are also popular snacks and street foods.
While Nigerian cuisine is gaining popularity in the West, it still remains relatively unknown to many. However, efforts are being made to promote the cuisine and highlight its cultural significance. Nigerian food bloggers and chefs are sharing their recipes online, while Nigerian restaurants are popping up in cities around the world.
“I think Nigerian food is going to be the next big thing,” says Enish’s Olushola Medupin. “People are starting to realize how unique and flavorful it is, and we’re seeing more interest in our cuisine than ever before.”
For many Nigerians, food is more than just sustenance – it’s a way of life. It is a means of connecting with their culture and with each other. And with more people discovering the joys of Nigerian cuisine, it looks like this vibrant and diverse cuisine is set to take the world by storm.