• Monday, July 22, 2024
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There is ‘Aso Rock’ in Dallas



For every traveller, particularly the holiday makers or business travellers, one major challenge is how to find what you desire in terms of edibles.   I know truly that someone reading this could belong to my category in being meticulous when it comes to what to consume –be it food or drinks particularly in the western world.

This experience started in 2014 when I and my colleague travelled to United States of America for a two-week training on capital market development and regulation at International Law Institute (ILI), Georgetown University, Washington DC, followed by site visits to US Securities and Exchange Commission, market related businesses and offices in Philadelphia and the famous New York Stock Exchange. 

But for the sake of this piece and in order not to shift focus on the subject matter, I would like to concentrate on my experience in the last-quarter of 2015 when I decided to make a repeat trip to USA – now as a holiday maker.

It became interesting because I set out to explore more cities in the USA–from Atlanta Georgia to Dallas Texas.

Though, I had earlier planned to stay for just a week in popular Union City, Atlanta GA however,  my first three days in the hotel were more to me like a three-week stay already because of the same challenges –finding what I like to eat or drink.

In addition to this, the cold in Union City worsened my predicament, it became glaring that I couldn’t cope; I decided to travel down to Dallas Texas earlier than I planned.

The average flight time from Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson to Dallas Fort Worth International is 2hours 6minutes. Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson to Dallas Fort Worth International is 730 miles. Some of the popular airlines flying this route are: Delta Airlines, American Airlines, Spirit Airlines, among others.

From Dallas Fort Worth International to my destination inside Dallas, I began to imagine why many Nigerians reside in Texas.

Compared with the popular Yellow Cabs, using Uber, exploring the city of Dallas was affordable and within my budgeted spends.

Uber is evolving the way the world moves. I noticed by seamlessly connecting riders to drivers through their apps, making cities more accessible, opening up more possibilities for riders and more business for drivers.

In Dallas Texas, not only did I enjoy the weather, just like in Nigeria as at that period of the year, the most interesting thing was that I was almost carried away when I had access to every Nigerian food I desired.

Thanks to Aso Rock Restaurant and Lounge located at 9220 Skillman Street, Dallas where I found every Nigerian food I desired to eat and drinks at a relatively affordable cost.

My daily visits to ‘Aso Rock’ showed over 80 percent of their customers are Africans –mostly Nigerians who after their daily official engagements at work, come to relax with friends, relatives, and colleagues, while as well share information about what is happening in the local countries and their country of stay.

The popular Aso Rock in Dallas which is being managed by a very sociable and receptive young man, Tobechukwu Umezulu has played host to many popular Nigerians and Nigerian artists like: Orisha Femi, Reminiscence, Basket Mouth and others. Most of them have also clubbed there.

“P-Square has visited. Duncan Mighty as well”, said one of the hard-working and fun making staff of Aso Rock who simply identified herself as Fortune. Her other colleagues include Deanna Rolandria Sharp and Esther Armah, among others.

“Weekends, we have more than 500 people. Week days about 300 or more people visit here. Like we say it is ‘home away from home’. As prepared back home. Our delicacies are the best,” one of the staff said.

If you want a unique experience go check out Aso Rock. It’s a Nigerian restaurant, bar, lounge, disco club… all in one, in a retail strip off Skillman and 635. I visited on a Thursday evening around 8 pm and took a seat at one of the many open tables.  At the bar, there were groups of people hanging out.  “This place is authentic” I thought to myself. How did I know? “Because I was the only non-Nigerian in there”, said a Dallas based man who simply identified himself as John.

He went further saying: “Luckily my friend is Nigerian and also a regular, and was able to tell me what to order.  Knowing that I eat spicy food, he recommended the goat pepper soup and jollof rice dish.  Not sure what cuts of meat were in there and I didn’t care to know.  Let’s just say you need to be adventurous to try it… oh well whatever.  There’s nothing I won’t give a try.  Jollof rice was also good.”

“It’s kind of like Mexican rice but better flavour and spicy.  Everything was tasty.  Give Aso Rock a try.  If the food isn’t exciting enough for you, this place turns into a dance club at 10:00 p.m.  Where else can you go for that?” He said.

Among others, I found in their menu traditional soups like Egusi Soup, Okra Soup, Onugbu (Bitter Leaf) Soup, Fish Pepper Soup, Goat Meat Pepper Soup, and Edikainkong (Vegetable Soup) to mention a few…Whao! I was surprised to find my favourite drink Guinness Stout which further added to my fun there.

This is what Shoshana, (someone I met there) said about the place, “Aso Rock Lounge is a neighbourhood Nigerian restaurant and bar, the food is amazing! It’s by far the best African food that I have ever had in life.”

“The price per meal is right, about $13 per person. I ordered the mackerel and rice and MoiMoi (a bean casserole), my dining companions had goat and grilled chicken. I tried everything and it was all delicious. The service was good even though the food came out slow. I definitely recommend this place to everyone who wants to try some authentic African food”, Shoshana added.

I’m sorry I made your mouth water but I am glad I have helped you to realise that when next you are in Dallas, there is indeed a place you can call home-away-from-home!

Iheanyi Nwachukwu