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Nominate Your Lagos Restaurant of the Year
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We’ve decided to this earlier this year to make the process a bit more thorough and perhaps do it “properly”. The Eat.Drink.Lagos Restaurant of the Year is a reader’s choice award that celebrates the Lagos restaurant that has absolutely killed it in 2018. Like always, this award is reader driven. Our readers nominate the restaurants and they vote on it. It’s like a people’s choice award more or less because democracy is awesome.

To be eligible, the restaurant must have been open for at least six months so the new guys miss out this year. Also, restaurants nominated must have shown a commitment to pushing the bar in the Lagos culinary scene. These restaurants must have demonstrated a remarkable service, quality and have THE range. No, a 20 page menu that focuses on Italian, Continental, and African dishes is not the range.

We’re introducing the following timeline to make the process more thorough:

Nominations: Tuesday November 13 to Tuesday November 27

Voting: Saturday December 1 to Saturday December 22

Winner Announcement: Wednesday, December 26

Nominations will be open for the next two weeks before voting begins in December. So nominate away!


FIVE

FOLLY: Earlier this year, I decided that I wanted the 5th EatDrinkFestival to be ICONIC.

NOSA: After EatDrinkFestival in December, there were a couple of complaints. From poor parking to traffic to vendor arrangement. All standard stuff for what it’s worth. There was one complaint that stood out, however. It’s shame I can’t find the instagram post because for almost a year, it has stuck with me. The lady was complaining about traffic, but one sentence in particular stood out for me. She said something along the lines of “GTB had an event on this road and the traffic wasn’t this bad”. It was a whole rant.

FOLLY: Not many people know this but EatDrinkFestival IV was my least satisfying edition. All the best laid plans that the team had made didn’t go as we had arranged them, and I was incredibly frustrated.

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NOSA: We started these festivals three years ago in a small Ikoyi compound. Since then, we’ve grown to this point where we are being compared to GTB. Sure, it wasn’t a compliment but it says a lot about how people perceive EatDrinkFestival. Internally, I’ve often looked at ourselves as some plucky underdogs, but clearly that’s not the reality of it.

The rules have changed. What might have been excused in the past won’t be excused anymore. In some ways, it is unbelievably scary. You start something hoping you get to a place like this and now that I’m here, I’m scared shitless. All these life coaches talk about working hard to make your dreams a reality, but what happens when you get to that point? Do you dream new dreams?

Well, yes. That’s exactly what you do.

FOLLY: So in January, I decided that I wanted the fifth edition of EatDrinkFestival to be iconic and I was going to use Jollof to practice. After implementing some of the learnings at Jollof and they worked, I was excited about EatDrinkFestival again.

NOSA: We’ve done a lot of growing up in 2018. It hasn’t been easy, but we’ve done it.

FOLLY: I love that with each and every festival that Eat.Drink.Lagos organizes, we learn how to do certain elements better and are able to eliminate it in future editions. I acknowledge that traffic and parking will always require constant improvement but we’re committed to designing an experience that we’d want to attend as guests too, so we’re working with the best contractors to make the festival experience seamless. No half measures AT ALL.

NOSA: Personally, one big thing I’ve learnt from our experiences is that we create real value. No more going into meetings just happy to be there. We’ve earned our place. EatDrinkFestival is a “thing”.

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FOLLY: The best thing about solving logistical challenges is that you can start focusing on the big picture. Everytime we get invited on a Podcast or interview, to close we’re always asked “What’s Next?”.

I think I can say it now, EatDrinkFestival is going to Abuja next.

But before then, EatDrinkFestival V is happening in Lagos and not just on one day, it’ll be a two day festival for the first time on December 26 & 27, 2018.

NOSA: For our fifth edition, sponsors aren’t just sponsors anymore. They’re partners.

FOLLY: And with that, it’s time to mention another big change for December. After a pleasant couple of years with Stanbic IBTC, we have a new presenting sponsor.

From our fifth edition, Sterling Bank will be the festival’s presenting sponsor. We’re ecstatic to be collaborating with a brand and people that understand what it is that we’re trying to build.

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NOSA: It wasn’t the easiest decision, but we felt they really understood what we want to achieve with the festival. Sterling Bank is an ambitious bank on the rise and we believe we can do amazing things together.

FOLLY: We’re not trying to recreate the past with EatDrinkFestival V; we’re moving to the next level.

NOSA: And that’s why this year’s edition will run for two days and not one like usual.

FOLLY: Solving complex logistical challenges is only one half of EatDrinkFestival, the festival also requires creativity and the fashioning of unique experiences.

NOSA: In recent years, we’ve missed out on some amazing vendors because we filled out all our slots. More importantly, we’ve had lots of complaints about how the festival manages its human traffic. To kill two birds with one stone and fix both problems, we extended the festival. People get to pick what day they want to attend and we get to fit in more vendors. A win win.

There are a couple more new additions to the festival and we’ll announce those in the coming weeks. Until then, clear your December schedule and save the date. You’re hanging out with us for Christmas.

WATCH: The Maggi Mystery Box Challenge

The full video recap of the Maggi Mystery Box Challenge at #JollofAndOtherThings is finally ready and we’re super excited to share it.

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A bit of a backstory: as Eat.Drink.Lagos large audience events have grown, we’ve been constantly looking for ways to add new elements and keep things from going stale. One of such elements is the addition of a main stage. The entire premise of our large audience events was to create a market of sorts, but with growing crowds, we’ve come to understand there must be something to tie it all together. Most large audience events tend to opt for musicians performing, which is great but isn’t really on brand for us. Nosa shares his playlists every Friday, but we aren’t really connoisseurs of music. Well, the brand at least. We’re food blog that organizes food events, surely out “main event” must be something related to food, no?

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This thinking is what birthed the Maggi Main Stage in December. We got a couple of our chef and food blogger friends to battle it out in the Maggi Kitchen Battle. While that went well on the whole, we quickly realized we didn’t create much content from it. A bit of a massive blind spot on our part. At #JollofAndOtherThings, we got another shot at it.

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This time, we worked with Maggi, again, and the Red Dish Chronicles Culinary School. We got eight recent grads and current students to form teams of two and battle it out in a Jollof-themed challenge. But that wasn’t all, Maggi supplied each team with a box of mystery ingredients for use on the day. Also, this time, we made sure we recorded it all.

The sound is choppy in bits, but it’s a a fun watch. In December, we plan on taking it up a whole notch and we can’t wait to share what have planned with you guys. A big thank you to everyone involved in helping us with this. Congrats to our winners too, we’ll have them as special vendors in December.

Inside the Spicy and Bold Guts of Lagos Street Food

The tastiest food doesn’t always come out of a fancy kitchen. In fact, the dining culture of a city is often shaped by the eats littered across streets and markets. These street merchants undeniably add color and zest to many a metro. From London to Mumbai, the vibrancy of the local culture isn’t dictated by its Michelin stars. Likewise, Lagos, a city bursting with people on the move, also has its own remarkable street food scene.

Street food in Lagos is communal and energetic, often wrapped in old newspapers and eaten with bare hands. The unique combination of being light on the palate and easy on the pocket make them staples in the average Lagosian’s diet.

There are rising concerns about the food safety of these street eats because they are sold in unsanitary locations, situated over open gutters, exposed to flies, carbon fumes, dust, and other harmful elements within the environment. What’s street food without health code violations, eh?

Puff Puff

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Puff-Puff is a spongy treat made from sugar, flour and yeast is highly loved on the streets of Lagos and can be enjoyed in various shades from peppered to glazed with different flavourings such as chocolate or coconut. It is also a chief member of the small chops family and when it’s missing from the platter, the side effects may not be savoury.

 

Dun Dun

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Dun-Dun, a Yoruba word for ‘Fried yam’, is another favorite. Thick rectangular chunks of yam are sliced and deep fried with a sprinkling of salt in sizzling oil for few minutes, then served when its color changes from creamy white to golden brown with just the right amount of crispiness. Dun-Dun is often served with Ata DinDin (fried pepper sauce) which is prepared from chopped tomatoes, onions and a tinge of scotch bonnet or ‘ata rodo’ for extra heat. However, when there is no Ata DinDin, ‘Akara’ can play the perfect substitute. Yeah, the sauce literally gets subbed for Akara. Who knew grounded beans, mixed with pepper and onions and dash of salt and other spices could be so satisfying especially after deep frying it into hot brown balls.

 

Akara

 Photo by Kitchen Butterfly / www.kitchenbutterfly.com

Photo by Kitchen Butterfly / www.kitchenbutterfly.com

Akara on its own should be revered. This king of Nigerian breakfast sometimes serves as a patty in a local vegan-friendly burger when paired with bread. But not just any bread, ‘Agege bread’. The soft, stretchy bread with a chewy texture you buy from hawkers especially the early morning batch, fresh from the bakery and still rousingly hot. It is called a plethora of names including simply akara sandwich, but amongst the local champions on the street, this bean fritter in bread mix is known as the ‘Risky burger’. 

 

Ewa Aganyin

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If you do not fancy your burger risky, you can still enjoy your agege bread with another bean-based dish, Ewa Aganyin. Ewa Agayin is simply mashed boiled brown beans and the spicy Aganyin sauce. One interesting thing you find with Ewa Aganyin on the streets is that you often find the Agege bread sellers paired up with ewa agayin hawkers. There’s a term for this in economics, but it slips my mind right now.

 

Abacha

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Like the Ewa Aganyin, Abacha, fondly known as African Salad, is another “mobile” street food. The vendors are not stationary but rather transient, roving from one area to another. Traditionally from the Eastern Nigeria, Abacha starts off with a pile of shredded cassava. Then the sliced garden eggs, sliced pepper, onions, Ugba (Oil bean), and sometimes miscellaneous vegetables, come in. This combination is tossed into a palm oil emulsion with potash powder, which gives the salad its bright yellow colour, and it is stirred thoroughly. Abacha is often served with a variety fish, either smoked mackerel or deboned dry fish. There is, however, a growing trend of pairing it with peppered ponmo (cow hide).

 

Boli

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Another favorite of the streets is Boli, soft partly ripened plantains grilled or roasted over blackened pots with redden charcoals along the road. In its authentic Port Harcourt form, it’s served with a peppery palm oil sauce and shredded Utazi leaves. In its purest form, there is also some mackerel on the side. The mackerel is sliced into segments - head, middle and tail - then spiced and glazed palm oil before grilling. Lagos has a slightly different take on Boli, however, Lagosian ditch all that oil and fish for some freshly roasted groundnuts.


Torinmo Salau is a freelance writer/journalist. Her works have been published online and offline in local and international publications.