“…And by the way, we all know that Nigeria’s Jollof rice is the best!”Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Vice President of Nigeria
When Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Nigeria’s Vice President uttered these words while addressing his Countrymen at the Nigerian Economy in 2017, little did he know that he had raised the bar on the ever-raging battle of which Country’s Jollof rice (a popular dish that consists or rice, tomatoes, onions and sometimes a type of meat) tastes best in Africa.
African diaspora communities the world over immediately raised the volume on the banter that had been ongoing for nearly a decade, and the ultimate Jollof marathon erupted in an all-out, back and forth on various social media platforms. Major news corporations like the BBC and CNN even weighed in. No one was spared. Everywhere you looked, there was a Jollof battle pitting one Country with another. The contest dragged in politicians, business experts, tycoons; Africans and non-Africans alike. Even Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, couldn’t escape the question of which Jollof he preferred after he visited Nigeria.
Matters of supreme delectability of Jollof rice generally tend to belong to the taster’s palette. In spite of where the judge is from, and no matter their criteria , the frontrunners have been mostly been unmistakable. As per our research, Countries leading the Jollof rice battles over the years have been (in random order); Sierra Leone, Senegal, Nigeria, Gambia and Ghana. Honorable mention must be made of Cameroon and Liberia who have also been in close running for the top five spots for some time.
Historically, African cuisine has always been “in” globally. A huge part of this is the use of fresh organic ingredients, and a wide array of seasoning and spices, blended in various ways. This combination inevitably makes for a unique experience of the cuisine from the motherland.
It is from this premise that this other African delectable, Suya (or Soya), emerges. Made with skewered beef, lamb or chicken, Suya is eaten almost everywhere in Africa from the North to the South, and the East to West. While it’s name may vary from Country to Country, Suya comprises of a base meat (skewered, thinly cut or sliced) marinated in a complex blend of sauces, dressings or seasonings, and peanuts (in some cases), that is roasted or grilled and served spicy hot. A bite of this zestful dish will have you immediately embarking on a harmonious journey to rediscover your taste buds culminating, in an explosion of flavor of orgasmic proportions.
Nowhere in the world will you walk into an African restaurant and not find Suya on the menu. I’m not sure about Jollof rice being on every menu and as such, suya is the new delish. Maybe some foodophiles should throw out a challenge to see who makes the best Suya in Africa. That would be heavenly if you asked me, as I sure would love being a judge or taster in such a contest as long as I get to sample each plate.