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Busayo Oderinde: A Taste of Home



O Eba, O Eba,
when shall I see dodo?
Ireti give us food o
When shall I see iyan and egusi?
I will never forget ponmo.

If you grew up in the 90s in Nigeria, then you most likely would have heard this song from the hugely popular TV series, Checkmate. This song was by the children of the hilarious household of Chief Fuji which led to the equally popular and hilarious spinoff TV series “Fuji House of Commotion”.

Ireti was the newest addition to the harem of wives of Chief Fuji, She was a graduate of a catering school and believed she was posh and could cook “Continental dishes” hence the nickname ” Catering Practical”. Her very many dishes didn’t appeal to the household which was why they came up with the song, they were not filling for the kids who were used to the heavy “Eba” and “Iyan”. Even her dear husband didn’t always find her meals appealing and often turned to his other wives to give him “Obokun” Catfish and Pounded yam.

I remember when I was a kid of about seven years old and went to spend some time with my newly married Uncle. His wife was dishing out all sorts of meals (You know… new wife things) but the portions were so small, like just a slice of yam and some mushroom, kidney and vegetable sauce. It was nice o, I really enjoyed the first couple of meals but after a while, it wasn’t getting me. I was never satisfied. It didn’t take me long to call my mum to come and get me and I remember I told her ” The food is too small”. This girl was just an “Ibile” through and through; I needed my ” O Eba” fix. I am still teased till date about that incident.

A friend of mine, a fellow food lover told me of when a guy took her and her friends out to a Chinese restaurant some years back. She thought the portions were too small and she wasn’t filled. On their way home, always ready to speak her mind, she asked her friends if they would go to sleep on almost empty stomachs, this guy( bless his heart) overheard them and took them to get Designer rice in Surulere. That cured what ailed them.

A similar thing happened to my younger sister and I a couple of years ago in Ghana. Some guy took us out to an American food franchise. The meal wasn’t cutting it. Our poker face was poor so we couldn’t hide our feelings. This nice guy later took us to Papaye Restaurant, a place known for plentiful and delicious portions of rice and chicken. Guys, don’t be fooled by the package, a lot of girls are just “O Eba” girls.

In a previous article, I criticized people who said we can’t be eating “oyibo medemede” all the time but the context was different. You truly can’t eat “Oyibo medemede” all the time. There is a time that you just want to go a local hole in the wall somewhere and get your local food fix. Amala is the naija crack I get high on occasionally.

Please don’t get me wrong, foreign/continental meals are pretty awesometastic, I have said here that Italian meals are my second best cuisine after Nigerian food but there is something about the taste of home, the food you grew up knowing and loving. You might cross a thousand seas and see a million sights and taste a billion meals but none will compare to the first meals you had in your lifetime, i.e the food of home, your mother tongue meals.

Do you agree that no matter how well traveled you are, how well developed your palate is, sometimes you just want the food of your mother tongue? I know a lot of people who when getting back to Nigeria, straight from the airport, their first point of call is our local Bukas to get their Naija food fix. They want all the “Orisirisi” meat offerings on a large plate and some honest Pounded yam. I love going to pick Uncles like that, you will eat till you can’t move.

Like every true Nigerian, I have lots of relatives in different countries in the world and anytime you go for a visit, its like you are back home, their freezer is filled with all sort of Nigerian soups, the girl might have left the country but the country has definitely not left her.

As much as Foreign cuisine and ideals are being inculcated into our culture, the taste of our own is still a winner any day any time. I know for a fact that the most successful restaurants in Lagos are the ones who have offerings of indigenous meals on their menu. I know people who can eat in these restaurants up to three times a week compared to “Oyibo” ones that you go once in a while.

You know no matter how modern we get and how much we try and inculcate Western traditions, we can’t be as authentic as the creators of the cuisine. Offerings of a lot of foreign dishes in restaurants don’t taste like the real thing. (Too many instances when this has happened)

The taste of home will always be the real deal, you gotta love it. I advocate embracing new experiences, by all mean but we also focus on refining and appreciating our cuisine. Make our cuisine as export-worthy as possible and stay true to ourselves.

What is your opinion?Have a great week. Love and “O Eba”

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Andrés Irrazabal Banacore

My name is Busayo, a Food Enthusiast, I love love food, its a huge passion for me and I believe Chocolates make the world a happier place. Feel free to contact me via email, [email protected]


  1. Tolu

    October 18, 2015 at 4:42 pm

    Busayo oooooooo, you af pami?……OMG you nailed it baje baje……,you know what? I’m going home next week to experience my honest pounded yam+ efo igbagba+ Ishapa.

  2. Bukky

    October 18, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    “Do you agree that no matter how well traveled you are, how well developed your palate is, sometimes you just want the food of your mother tongue?” Some people always crave home food, and some people e.g my sister cannot be bothered. So what exactly are we suppose to disagree or agree with when it is a personal thing.

  3. Omooba

    October 18, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    Threw back my head and laughed at ‘new wife things’.
    Shout out to uncles who have the telephone number of their ‘ewa aganyin’ seller. Immediately they arrive from the airport every christmas, she is waiting with the metal pot and hot agege bread.
    Then, my baby brother who was eating sharwarma and pizza and the other ‘medemede’. He picks the meat from the soup, and turns nose up at the ‘swallow’ – with everone pleading with him to just take a little. He goes abroad for a second degree, and two weeks later, he calls. ‘ I want to eat eba!’
    We laugh about it till today. Nothing beats home food, jare!

  4. larz

    October 18, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    “a guy took her and her friends out to a Chinese restaurant some years back. She thought the portions were too small and she wasn’t filled. On their way home, always ready to speak her mind, she asked her friends if they would go to sleep on almost empty stomachs, this guy( bless his heart) overheard them and took them to get Designer rice in Surulere”

    I am disappointed in the above. Not only did a guy carry a girl and her babes out to some fancy place. They complained enuf for him to hear and take them somewhere else. Ppl need to show some class abeg. I cant respect ppl that act like this. I just cant.

    • Tola

      October 18, 2015 at 8:10 pm

      I agree.


      October 18, 2015 at 8:25 pm

      Woow so that was all u got from this article…what if the guy and the girls were good, friends or buddies who liked being honest with themselves.

    • larz

      October 19, 2015 at 10:29 am

      True but it is still acting ungrateful. You can always tell your friend another day. People’s response to you taking them out should be thank you and not it is not enuf.

    • Asa!

      October 18, 2015 at 9:18 pm

      And that was the only thing you got from this article? smh

    • larz

      October 19, 2015 at 10:30 am

      The only reason I comment on this and nothing else is because reading that part of the story ruined everything else for me.

  5. beauty

    October 18, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    This post just got me hungry!!!

  6. dera

    October 18, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    @larz Pls focus on d point she’s trying to make about home food

  7. Bowl

    October 18, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    @larz.sometimes your so called class is nothing other than pretense

    • larz

      October 19, 2015 at 10:27 am

      Speak for yourself.
      a) I have never asked any date/ bf or toasters to invite my frns along
      b) I have never followed any one on an outing someone else is paying
      c) I have never complained about my food to someone to someone that takes me out or cooked for me. I can tell them I don’t have an appetite at the very least and sort myself out when I get home. If I don’t have food at home, I am sure I can buy something.

    • Diuto

      October 19, 2015 at 10:46 am

      Larz pls indicate where it stated in the write up that it’s a toaster or boyfriend that took her and her friends out.

      No need to get upset, have a cup of cold water, it’s on the house

  8. hmmm

    October 18, 2015 at 8:29 pm

    Thinking about what soup I will make this week now, its been a while. I love love love local dishes and yearn for it ever so often. But I admit I don’t fall into the category of people who are not satisfied at meal times unless they have local dishes, but I do know of these people. Maybe because I live in the UK the choice is just too much on continental cuisine.
    I can go a month without any swallow and soup, so when I finally have it, its even more special.

    Whenever I come to Nigeria I stick to local food because everything else is so expensive. Imagine eating a pasta dish for 3k and the pasta is over cooked and the sauce tastes like its from a jar. I know better that this is indeed not worth my money so I just enjoy all the local delicacy’s whilst in town.

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      October 19, 2015 at 10:17 am

      Re soups to consider cooking – I made ogbono soup this past Friday, the first time I’ve eaten the dish since I last ate it in my mother’s kitchen during the Christmas break of 2014.

      Was trying to recreate the memory of her soup as much as possible so I loaded it with stock fish head, dried fish, cow leg and beef. The only thing missing to complete the recreation was the mortar-pounded yam… and the flood of reminiscing I experienced once I started eating it caused me to consume 3 portions of it throughout Saturday. Issorait, I shall diet this week as my penance…. ??

      Doesn’t help that I’ve been feeling strong pangs of home-sickness in the past few weeks… For me, food and home are very synonymous terms.

  9. miss Pynk

    October 18, 2015 at 8:49 pm

    My mother is a foreigner…God bless her, till date my mother offers us grilled cheese sandwiches and hot dogs when we visit her…the youngest is 28 and my folks live in lagos. My mom made the absolute lumpiest amala growing up so after a while we figured out the neighborhood bukas and we would trek and go and buy stuff eat and go back home like nothing happened. Till maybe 6 years ago my mom thought jollof rice was rice and stew mixed together on the fire….taa. There is nothing like a nicely cooked Nigerian meal- i still enjoy my medemes sha.

  10. DesertStorms

    October 18, 2015 at 9:38 pm

    I loved this article because it hits home. My kids who are growing up outside of Nigeria have a knack for their home food, as my daughter often tells me…i love cowleg!

    I think the key thing here is that indeed “You might cross a thousand seas, see a million sights, taste a billion meals but none will compare to the food of home, your mother tongue meals.’

    PS: Please note that Nigerian food is gradually becoming quite the rave. Even the Nigerian Version of Jollof Rice was recently attempted by one of the world renowned chefs and…i beg to say that my daily interaction with Africans from all over Africa has established the fact that our food is loved, appreciated and craved for.

  11. justsaying

    October 18, 2015 at 9:54 pm

    There is no truth that home is where the heart is, no matter how far younhave flied around the globe, when you die you will still come back to be buried to where you disgustly hate. If God made you to be born in nigeria, be nigerian to some extent and dont throw the baby away with the water because ofnthe scent of his poo.

    Local dishes are still always the best. Any owambe that derish our local dishes is not doing the guest a good service. Gimme edikan kong, ogbono, efo riro, ila alasepo, iyan, plus all the orisirisi that will be dancing ‘yokoto’ in the mix and you can ask me anything to the halfmof my pocket. sic

  12. Tai omo yoruba nimi

    October 18, 2015 at 10:17 pm

    hello my fellow BNers,please can i have a lis of the best buka place or even restaurant that offers the best amala to fele with gbegiri,ewedu and orishirishi or even pounded yam with efo and soft ponmo with snail or even okazi,ofe nasala ,somewhwere close to the airport because i’m coming home in a few weeks time and i need to whack one of the above meals first thng when i land in my beloved country

    • Amaka

      October 19, 2015 at 7:15 am

      Go to white house in yaba or isaac john ikeja “the place” a lil posh and erm jevniks yes! O ypu are welcome.

    • Tai Omo yoruba nimi

      October 19, 2015 at 2:19 pm

      Amaka thank you oo,I sure will visit this places 2 days in a row’s about time

    • Zeeebby

      October 19, 2015 at 11:07 am

      1. white house yaba
      2. Jevniks GRA Ikeja (more of eastern soups tho)
      3. That place next to Stock exchange office in Marina
      4. Calabar kitchen off toyin street
      5. The place GRA
      6. That place opposite Alausa secretariat by MITV
      7. Maggi shop at Agege after the railway track going to Guiness….
      8. Inside agage market there is a place where they sell white amala and the co..

      You never realy know what these places are called you just know them

    • Tai Omo yoruba nimi

      October 19, 2015 at 2:21 pm

      Zee baby thank you so much ,I have screenshot all this and that places you mentioned haha ,I was laughing when you didn’t mention their particular names. It’s about damn time for me to whack and whack

    • Person

      October 19, 2015 at 4:16 pm

      Try Iya Eba on McCarthy in Onikan. You can’t go wrong.

  13. Dee

    October 19, 2015 at 7:41 am

    In Singapore and leaving soon, and every time someone comments “Oh you will miss the food, won’t you”. I smile and say yes, but in my mind, I am thinking “shuo, e come be pounded yam, or efo riro or jollof rice, wey I go miss? abegiii” I enjoy food from other places- but get bored very easily and don’t miss it one bit, as long as I see naija food regularly. still rep naija food everyday lol

    Interested in studying overseas? Need funding? Details on e-book here:

  14. virtualhubng

    October 19, 2015 at 10:46 am

    Lols @ O Eba… was an interesting TV series. Yes, white house @ yaba, Ajisafe and Juvenik on Isaac Jones Street, GRA Ikeja, are also nice places to get delicious African dishes in a posh environment.

  15. Tai Omo yoruba nimi

    October 19, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    Thanks virtual hubng ,is ajisafe the name of the restaurant ?

  16. F O

    January 23, 2016 at 10:04 pm

    @ Tai Omo yoruba nimi: not sure if this is still useful to you however you can see the top bukas / mama-puts in Lagos on Ofadaa; Hopefully this can be a more useful reference for the next time you are in Nigeria.

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