by Sonia Chopra
Houston is often called the most diverse city in America, and the influence of immigrant communities has a huge impact on its food. In Houston, most of the West African population is Nigerian, but people, and ingredients, from Senegal, Liberia, Ghana, and other countries in the region also continue to make their mark on the local food scene. Popular dishes found in Houston range from suya and jollof rice to peanut soup and plenty of other stews.
West African food is the foundation of soul food; foodways and traditions came to America through the slave trade and can be traced through the dishes — from jollof rice came jambalaya, and grits share a history with fufu.
In this map, find all the restaurants mentioned on the “Houston” episode of No Passport Required, and watch the episode here.And find all episodes from seasons 1 and 2 on PBS.Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
1. Wazobia African Market
16203 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77082(832) 230-3893Visit Website
Samuelsson visits Wazobia Market to learn about different soups, tribal foods, and dishes like jollof rice. He checks out preserved fish, goat heads, and different kinds of bottled sauces.
2. Safari Restaurant
10014 Bissonnet St
Houston, TX 77036(713) 541-4436Visit Website
One of the first Nigerian restaurants in Houston, Safari is a family-run operation. Samuelsson learns how to make fufu, a staple dish made from boiled and mashed yam, with owner Margaret “Safari” Jason. He eats it alongside a stew with okra, bonefish, and goat.
3. Suya Hut
Samulesson visits Suya Hut, where he learns that these marinated chicken and beef skewers originate in northern Nigeria, but that it’s eaten across the country. The host makes suya with chef and owner Patricia Nyan and shares a meal inside the restaurant.
4. Jolly Jolly Bakery
6275 S Texas 6
Houston, TX 77083(281) 530-9777Visit Website
Owners James and Jolly Onobun came to Houston from Nigeria in 1981. Nigeria has a big bread culture, and their bakery, Jolly Jolly, has been in its current location for about eight years. In addition to bread, the Onobuns serve a small menu of other things, such as Scotch eggs — which gained popularity in Nigeria due to the British influence on the country’s cuisine during colonization.
5. Taste of Nigeria
5959 Richmond Ave #160
Houston, TX 77057(713) 589-9055Visit Website
In Houston’s Galleria neighborhood, Taste of Nigeria owners Oye and Tiffaney Odewale wanted to create a restaurant that served the city’s entire West African community, not just Nigeria-born Nigerians, as well as people who are interested about learning more about West African cuisine. Employees come from across West Africa, not just Nigeria, and the influences show on the menu. Samuelsson learns to make ceebu jen (stewed fish served with rice and vegetables) and enjoys a catfish pepper soup.
517 Berry Rd
Houston, TX 77022(832) 582-6388Visit Website
Chef Jonathan Rhodes’s restaurant, Indigo, focuses on the history of soul food. As Rhodes puts it, “If you’re going to have soul food authentically, you have to have it from an authentic area, because soul food isn’t made from rich ingredients, it’s made from leftovers and things that are passed down and overlooked.” At Indigo, he cooks dishes like dry-aged pheasant filled with jollof rice, as well as candied yams with smoked pecan butter, granola, and torched marshmallows.
Read from source Eater Houston