Eko Street Eats is a Triumph of Fun Over Tradition
NOSA: About a year ago, Imoteda and Ramon had this pretty genius idea of making Nigerian street food a lot more fun. That’s how Eko Street Eats was born. A couple of pop ups here and there, and it was gone. Gist has it that Ramon had to leave the country for a while and without the other half of the project, it couldn’t really go on.
FOLLY: Not really gist because it was part of his bio for the exhibition.
NOSA: Until last Saturday, that is. Ramon has to go away again, but for one afternoon, we got it back.
FOLLY: He does? That's sad :(
NOSA: The menu was pretty straight forward. Just six items only and in typical EDL fashion, Folly and I ordered everything.
FOLLY: Twice, but that's cause we were being greedy tbh.
NOSA: My favorite of the lot was the Pyam (Lightly fried pounded yam balls). Probably the Bini in me coming out, but it was oh so delicious.
FOLLY: That reference is lost on me. Is there a thing about people from Benin liking yam? Either way, it was my favorite too. I don't know how she (Chef Imoteda) did it but the pounded yam didn't have a single lump in it, smooth to perfection.
NOSA: The Yaji Shrimp Tacos were great too, but they didn’t “get me” like the pyam did.
FOLLY: Yeah, I would have appreciate more suya spice on this. I don't usually like a whole of heat but that's what I was expecting. Next up was the PB-J which is plantain cubes served with peanut butter paste and zobo jam.
NOSA: Also, I know a lot of you are thinking it, but the PB&J wasn’t bad. Bananas and peanut butter are a thing, so I don’t understand how everyone thinks it won’t work with plantain.
FOLLY: Nosa is lying, this was a big fat NO from me and he knows it. Peanut butter has no place on or served with plantain so this was a bit of a sacrilege if you ask me. And yes you're asking me because you're on my blog.
NOSA: The corn on the cob didn’t really work for me. It was ambitious and I saw the vision, but the execution just fell short. That one might need to go back to the drawing board.
FOLLY: I ate around the wara because for some reason I just wasn't interested in it. For the uninitiated, wara is local cheese curd. Ultimately, my favorite thing was the puff-puff funnel cake. I love puff, dessert, and funnel cake so naturally this was magic to me. The mango sauce was also a perfect accompaniment.
NOSA: At the end of day, however, this goes beyond what works and what doesn’t. The true achievement of ESE isn’t the food. I mean, the food matters, but what really matters here is how open the chefs are to experimenting. ESE is proof of concept on how versatile and exciting typical Nigerian food can be. The diversity of our flavours shouldn’t be restricted to “traditional” items. Nigerian food should be fun. Now, we just need Ramon to come back so we can get another popup going.
FOLLY: So again, this was a pop-up so there's no address and phone number. We have no idea when next they'll be having another one but you can check out their Instagram page here for updates.