I’m (Denise) here again and I’d like to tell you how much I enjoyed - or not - some of the savoury dishes at #EatDrinkAbuja. While some of the vendors clearly updated their spice racks before the festival, very few left me disappointed and surprised.
Here’s a list of all the savoury dishes I tried:
Cocktailville and Chops
Dish: A Pack of Small Chops
I know I have a penchant for being dramatic. It’s my thing, I accept it wholeheartedly. However, when I say that these are the best small chops I have ever tasted, I am not joking!
When I saw everyone making a beeline for the small shop stand, I thought “typical”. Who goes to a food festival without trying to small chops? If only I’d known what magic was going down at this vendor , I’d have been there earlier.
The pack of small chops contained puff puff, spring rolls, samosas, and a piece of chicken. The puff puff in this pack is the reason I will single handedly fight for world peace. It was soft, fluffy but with a nice crisp to it. The spring rolls were simply heavenly. Remember that thing I said about Keiysha Cole’s Sent From Heaven. Yup! This is one of those moments.
Honestly, I’m still thinking about these small chops.
I know the first name of the vendor who runs this business. Soon, I will know the names and addresses of all his family members in case he blocks me when I start calling him demanding for chops at 12 am. Thank God he lives in Lagos, we move!
Pow Pan Asian Restaurant
Dish: Pow Szechuan Chicken and Special Fried Rice
If you enjoy spicy food, you’re more than likely to enjoy Asian food. When I learned there was going to be an Asian food vendor at the festival, I was beyond excited. This was one of the last things I tried so I feel as if I saved what I thought would be my best for last.
I had initially wanted to try the prawn and mayonnaise spring rolls but sadly, they were out by the time I got there. Tears! I decided to go for the next most appealing option to me, the Pow Szechuan Chicken and Special Fried Rice. The vendor let me know prior to ordering that the chicken was particularly spicy - peppery and fiery, really - but that was fine by me.
Frankly speaking, I don’t think I anticipated how spicy this dish was going to be because the amount of pepper ended up taking me by surprise. The rice was well done, chicken tender and sauce well flavoured. I really liked this one
I will definitely try the chicken again but now I really would like to try their prawn and mayonnaise spring rolls. I feel like those are going to be a hit considering how fast it sold out.
Dish: Korede Special Stir Fry Spaghetti with Grilled Turkey
Korede’s Spaghetti was one vendor that was choked from the beginning of the festival to the very end. Honestly, a part of me had given up on trying their food until my friend Misan decided that she was going to buy some food or die trying. Thankfully, no one died at the Festival and in less than 20 minutes of intense effort, she was able to get some food.
First things first, the spaghetti smelled delicious. I could already tell from the aroma of the days that I was going to be in for a treat and as expected, this vendor did not disappoint.
I can’t begin to describe the flavour on this dish. The spaghetti was expertly spiced, with subtle hints of ginger and garlic. The veggies were not baptised in oil, which is a common occurrence for some stir fry dishes in Nigeria. The turkey had a crispiness to its skin but maintained its moisture and tenderness.
Korede spaghetti did an absolutely amazing job with the special stir fry. From the flavour to the aroma and even the packaging, I think this was one well thought through process and I appreciate this vendor for doing this.
Dish: Burgers and Chips
Jaka’s Grill was another vendor which was absolutely rushed at the festival. I think he’s got quite a reputation for himself so people need to look out for him when they came to the festival.
The most striking thing about this vendor was how friendly he and his team were. They welcome you to the stand, spoke to you really nicely and didn’t even mind the fact that you were all up in their personal space with questions. You know, it’s always pleasant to be around pleasant people.
I tried their burger - a simple meat patty with lettuce, cheese, tomato and onions - and chips. For starters, I was happy that the chips were not soggy. Soggy chips are no no from me and I’m pretty sure they are a menu option in some afterlife for evil people. It definitely doesn’t belong on the side of eternity. I do think my favourite part of the burger was the dressing though.
I would definitely love to eat that Jaka’s grill again and if not for anything, just to see the team smile at me again. They had such a pleasant aura. So warm, so cute.
Dish: Basmati Thai Chilli and Oyster Mushroom Rice
While planning my menu for the festival, this was one dish I was really looking forward to trying. As I earlier expressed, I love Asian food and the prospects of oyster and mushroom really appealed to me. Till now, I am extremely sad that this vendor disappointed me.
The service was great, they seemed pretty friendly but the food flavours were just not working for me. The rice was bland and oily. I’d expected some exotic flavour combinations but that was far from what I got. It felt like I was chewing pellets of oil.
The word ‘disappointed’ doesn’t cut it. I had really high hopes for this meal and none of them came to fruition. Nothing breaks like a heart after a bad meal.
ICYMI, here’s my review for the sweets. You can catch my next and final review of the drinks at the Festival in my next post later in the week.