NAIJA GOOD: “SUYA”
The way Nigerians are crazy about this is like Big Brother's obsession with housemates keeping to his rules.
And it’s really just barbecue. But they don’t do it anywhere else like we do it here in Nigeria.
Suya is roasted meat, with a generous serving of ginger, pepper, peanuts and cayenne pepper. You can always find a SUYA vendor just about a stone throw from your house.
Suya could be any kind of meat but it is mostly Cow beef (boneless) and recently chicken Suya has come to stay.
Children get excited at the sight or sniff of Suya and as for the adults -well, they park their cars and wait in turn on a queue after work just to get a pound of that flesh.
These ‘Asun’ (Yoruba word for roasted meat) are best eaten with “Yaji”, which is when you mix ginger, pepper, peanut and paprika pepper together. It’s a powdered spice and some people would sprinkle it on whatever they are eating because it gives that quick spicy taste.
And there is fish! Roasted fish; Tilapia fish, Catfish and Croaker fish are the most popular fishes you would find in a grilling spot here in Nigeria. They are accompanied with a pepper stacked sauce and mostly eaten with chips -fried Irish potatoes.
There is also KILISHI, this one is high standard barbecue. They are dried before dipped in a pepper sauce and then roasted.
~I remember anytime my dad travels to Abuja for work, he would always return with plenty wraps of “Kilishi”.
They taste delicious and are so dry it could last for weeks without much change in taste. KILISHI started in the early days by the northerners for the preservation of meat especially for provision of protein during long journeys taken by the northern men.
Suya is a Nigerian street snack which generated from northern Nigeria, we call the sellers “MAI SUYA” which is an Hausa word and in english means -Owner of Suya. They are mostly sold by young Hausa men. It is also called “Tsire” and in Sudan “Agashe”. The Nigerian beef jerky business kicks off in the evening and up till midnight, men would gather their friends over bottles of drinks, gisting hilariously whilst chewing chunks of this spicy meat and then take some home to their wives and children.
Mostly served with sliced Cabbage, onions, tomatoes, “Yaji” and yes! our “Mai Suya” are considerate, they will also put toothpicks to pick up the Suyas to your mouths and later on use them to pick out the meats stuck in between your teeth.
There is a song we sang as little children in Lagos whenever we perceived the sweet smoky aroma of Suya nearby; we would form a big circle, hold our hands and turn on formation while jumping:
“Suya! Suyaya, àbá omóde sere ale!” (Suya Suyaya we play like children when night falls).
It’s the excitement that comes with it that makes us say NAIJA GOOD !