We all know an individual that is semi well-travelled. They go on holiday to Dubai for 2 weeks and come back with a British accent. Even though it is very tempting to discuss the absurdity of this, I will resist the temptation and stick to the genre I know, food.
You see, this person not only came back with a British accent from Dubai, but all of a sudden, their preference in food goes through an overhaul as well. You hear things like, “I could really use some Italian right now” or “I had the most authentic curry when I was away in Germany last year (the irony)”.
They instantly become the star of their own restaurant reality show where every week new “Restaurant Contestants” gets knocked off an arbitrary list of not having authentic cuisine. Unku what did you expect? We are in Nigeria!!!
The chances of you getting a lasagne without ata gun gun (guilty!) is very slim. Even when some of these restaurants are run by nationals of their respective countries they still have to source a lot of their ingredients from… you guessed it, Nigeria! The really authentic ones tend to be quite expensive. I’m guessing because they have to import a lot of items or buy foreign ingredients which aren’t cheap.
On the flip side, how many people in the diaspora have complained about some new joint selling Suya that was basically fried Meat and Pepper. Or someone living somewhere remote having to make their Efo Riro with canola oil. I agree we should strive for excellence in all we do, and if you are opening a Chinese restaurant then, the food should actually be Chinese. If you, however, went into a joint in London and a white Chef made you Amala that wasn’t as soft as your grandma’s and substituted the Gbegiri with blended baked beans (yuck!) you’d probably be more amused than angry amarite? You would be disappointed and rightly so, but you’d be less forgiving if he messed up an English breakfast or a Shepherd’s pie. On second, scratch that, Nigerians are savage! I still remember Jamie Oliver and #JollofGate.
I’ll admit, I went through the phase of accenting my pallet, but it wasn’t as a result of extensive travel, I acquired mine by watching food network. All the gorgeousness on the screen was just too tempting and I vividly remember getting a rush when I bought never before tried ingredients. Thankfully that phase didn’t last long because smoked Salmon is 10k and Titus is N400.
If you’re an aspiring restaurateur let me give you some advice, Nigerian Food is King, in Nigeria at least. Nigerians might cheat on Jollof with Jambalaya occasionally, or other types of mede mede that we come across every now and then. But after all, that is said and done, Nigerians will always crave Nigerian food especially we the masses. Even if we don’t, you will still sell… because Nigerian food is cheapest and we love cheap things.
God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!
Are you currently going through a “palate accent” please share, we might be able to deliver you.
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