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West African Toronto chefs and entrepreneurs talk about the dishes you need to try
From meals, to snacks, to sauces – Toronto chefs and entrepreneurs share their favourite West African eats and where to get them.
Often eaten at parties, this rice dish – typically made with a tomato base, onions, spices and a protein – is a staple across the map, though ingredients and techniques vary depending on the country. There’s been an ongoing friendly “jollof war” between countries who think they make the best dish in the region.
“Jollof rice is my go-to all the time. When it’s made right, I love it so much.”
— Keppy Otu, Calabar Grill
Literally everywhere: Afrobeat Kitchen, Skcookks, Naija Jollof Toronto, Calabar Grill, Tasty Jollof, Kejjis, Ameens Kitchen, Aunt Lucy’s Burgers, MJ Suya, ID Love Restaurant, Kulu’s Kitchen, the Benue, Afro Spice – the list goes on.
Jollof rice, ayamase stew and fufu from Skcookks.
“It’s basically a very special sauce. It has a lot of proteins in it. It’s very spicy. And you send it to people who you love because it takes a lot of work.”
— Sasilka Shallangwa, Skcookks
Skcookks, Kulu’s Kitchen, Flo’s Grill, the Benue.
“Plantains get marinated with chili, garlic and ginger. And then they’re fried. Usually it’s finished with salt. Sometimes you get it with roasted peanuts. And that’s something you have, like, every Ghanian picnic or barbecue. My mom would make it at home. Fried plantain in general is the West African staple.”
— Rachel Adjei, the Abibiman Project
“It’s a go-to everyday. I put it on everything.”
— Lola Adeyemi, It’s Souper
It’s Souper, the Abibiman Project.
Egusi from Afrobeat Kitchen.
“It’s typically paired with a plantain swallow (fufu) which is soft. It’s kind of like a stew with ground melon seeds. It’s [also] a spicy broth. I am constantly making a big batch. It’s super comforting.”
— Ozoz Sokoh, Kitchen Butterfly blog
Ariilon Restaurant, Afro-spice Chophouse, Afrobeat Kitchen, Skcookks, ID Love Restaurant, Calabar Grill.
A rice and beans dish that’s made with sorghum red leaves, giving it a rich burgundy colour. It’s usually served with shito, tomato stew, egg, and plantain.