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Calling all adventurous eaters, foodies and food connoisseurs! Get yourself to Native African Cuisine, 7547 W Oakland Park Blvd, Lauderhill, FL 33319, if you want to live you best food life. Lord have mercy. It’s been a while since I stumbled across a true culinary gem like this in South Florida.
I can’t stress enough that owner Grace is one of the most skilled Western African cooks I have had the pleasure to meet and her skills are amazing. Our meal started with a show stopper. The African style fried yellow tail snapper was marinated for 24 hours in a homemade blend featuring seasoning and spices I have never tried, then the fish is lightly pan fried and covered with fresh cut peppers and veggies served with a side of your choice. I chose the jollof rice. The fish is heavenly, with bursting with so much incredible flavor at every bite I couldn’t stop eating it. Just think of the best Jamaican fried fish you’ve ever had and multiply that by 10!
The jollof rice was good. If you’ve never had it, you should try this dish, which is a staple in West African cuisine. The taste is just how it smells – very fragrant, like Basmati, then stewed with garlic, onions, tomatoes, and spicy chilies. If you want to keep it vegan, stop there. However, if you are like me, and only vegan on Mondays and Wednesdays, be sure to have it with chicken, goat, beef, or fish. I added a little habanero chili pepper for an extra kick! This fish combination is a MUST HAVE!
Moving along we had the Signature Baked Chicken with Cassava leaves and MORE jollof rice. The baked chicken has all the elements of a perfect entry point into West African cuisine for those a little skittish in trying new things. The chicken is thoroughly marinated with the perfect amount of crispness on the skin which allows its flavor and texture to evolve as you eat every savory tender piece! The beauty of African cuisine resides in the fresh and homemade seasonings, which this chicken did not lack! It’s so refreshing for my palate to experience virgin tastes. I enjoyed the chicken and rice, but would probably leave it for lunch, as the dishes here are simply too unique to just order a piece of chicken and rice.
Next, we got real motherland on ya! We ordered the Moin Moin, which is a Nigerian steamed bean cake with a black belt in karate, because it kicked the hell out of me. That spice ain’t no damn joke. These babies are delicious and carry a serious spice punch. The texture and taste struck a strong resemblance to a spicier monfungo if it were made from beans. You can have it vegetarian or get it with some seasoned corned beef. I went for the meat option and was not disappointed.
Now for one of my favorites! The Maafe Soup (peanut stew) is another West African staple of delicious stewed peanuts with cabbage, carrots, and hints of garlic, ginger, and other herbs that create a hearty one pot meal dinner. Be careful not to eat too much of this before your dinner, or you will be full from this dish’s heartiness. Now, you can make it a meal by adding a protein of your choice. Most Senegalese households eat it vegan, but on special occasions will add beef, chicken, or even goat. You can request any of these here. I liked the beef and chicken. Each was extremely tender and carried its only flavor that meshed well with the peanut stew. This is a MUST HAVE.
You might have heard about a recent report that suggests goat is the answer to our food sustainability and environmental issues. However, most folks in the U.S. simply don’t eat it as much as they do beef and lamb. Well, I’m here to tell you, don’t be scared, eat the goat! It’s amazing. This West African style Goat Soup was cooked tender with freshly seasoned and seared goat, cassava chips, and African white yams.
This combination was so foreign and different to anything I have ever tasted, that I started to question my life decisions. At 35, am I living my best life or has this all been for nothing? What is the meaning of….ok, yeah, I’ll stop, but that soup will have you philosophizing. It is served piping hot with homemade African spices and hints of Ntong (African Clove Basil) bringing your palate closer and closer to the motherland. The taste is almost identic to the Jamaican Pepper Pot Soup.
This dish will scare those Okra haters, but I LOVE Okra, so the OKRA/SPINACH West African style of sauce was one of my favorites. I had two, one with goat and the other with red snapper. The dish was cooked with water leaves and spinach with Okra, filled with yet more African spices, palm oil and a side of pounded white yam. I loved the combination of the pounded yam and the sap from the okra! Most people don’t like eating things with the okra sap which creates a slimy like texture, but I don’t give af. The dish was incredible.
The most ubiquitous dish on the menu would have to be the peri peri chicken wings. These wings represent the most popular Western African dish, Peri Peri Chicken. Grace marinates the wings for a minimum of 24 hours in a house made marinade and grills them to perfection with a sauce so tasty, I had to take off my damn shoes to finish eating. Crushed chilies, citrus peel, onion, garlic, salt and pepper, lemon juice, bay leaves, basil, oregano, paprika, pimiento, and tarragon, the sauce on each wing will have you too, taking your shoes off to fully enjoy this amazing spicy chicken. I ordered a side of the puf-puf, which is a traditional snack pretty much throughout all of Africa like a less sweetened Thai doughnut. It’s pretty much Africa’s cornbread. You can kind of eat this alongside anything.
Our last dish was the Egusi or melon seed sauce served with goat. This honestly almost tied with the fish. It’s an acquired taste so if you aren’t adventurous, you should probably stay clear of this one. I absolutely loved both flavors of fish and goat. The melon seed sauce is cooked with spices, spinach, palm oil, and served with pounded white African yam.
Grace is churning out the best West African food in South Florida right now. I was humbled at her skill and ability to create unique, lasting, and memorable flavors that serve as excellent conversation starters and will allow you to deliver evangelical food sermons to your friends, family, and co-workers after you visit. Looking forward to my next visit as well. You can reach Native African Cuisine at (954) 701-1805.
Our amazing photography is from none other than our Media Director, Mr. Korey Davis. Check him out at Korey Davis Photography @kdavisphotog for booking.