Ever had Nigerian food? No? Neither have I. Luckily, this past Saturday, some friends and I ventured into uncharted territory when we made a visit to Aduke Nigerian Cuisine in Inglewood to eat some beast African food and expand our horizons.
Upon walking into Aduke, we were greeted by a packed restaurant of regulars who assured us that this place is the real deal. Hidden in a strip mall (along with some other questionable establishments) I could tell were were in for a deep cut of cuisine. We waited in line for about fifteen minutes until we finally made it up to the counter to place our order. The nice gentleman behind the counter patiently walked us through the menu and all the Nigerian offerings that my buddies and I had never heard of.
We ordered our lunch and then were promptly told that Aduke doesn’t take credit card, (or at least they didn’t that afternoon). Only cash, Venmo or Zelle. You can already tell the type of operation going on here.. and I’m all for it. Luckily, we were able to Venmo for our orders, no problem.
Then, after paying, the nice gentleman behind the counter kindly told us it would be an hour wait for the food. That may seem like a deterrent, but luckily, there was a cool local brewery, Three Weavers, across the street, which made killing an hour quite enjoyable. After downing a couple of beers at the picnic tables in Three Weavers, we’d really conjured up a hankering for some grub.
We waltzed back in, and sat down at the polyester tableclothed tables, eager for the food, and thankfully, the wait was well worth it.
My buddy and I split two combo plates, the first was the Jollof Rice combo and the second was the Asaro combo plate.
The Jollof rice combo came stocked full with a heaping portion of delicious, tomato-ey Jollof Rice, a chicken thigh & drumstick, some sautéed spinach and plantains. The chicken fell right off the bone and had a wonderful, spicy kick, meanwhile the plantains were rich and hearty and not too sweet (like Latin American plantains). The sautéed sautéed spinach cut right through the citrussy spice of the rice and was the exact amount of greens needed to complete the dish.
The Asaro was a traditional Nigerian dish which is essentially a delightful, tomato & mashed yam porridge served with the same spicy chicken and spinach. The Yam was incredibly flavorful and provided the great base for the chicken to soak in. The yam mixed with the flavors of the tomato sauce was definitely a welcome experience. It’s not the prettiest dish, but you know what they say… the best food tastes better than it looks.
We used pieces of FuFu, a starchy ball made up of cassava (yucca) flour, to scoop up the remaining sauce. It was pretty tasteless, but served as a great vehicle to mop up all that extra mashed yam saucy goodness.
In the cooler behind the counter, I noticed a drink I had never seen before. It was called “Malta” and I later found out is a typical Nigerian malt beverage, brewed by Guinness. The Malta tasted like a less sweet root beer, almost like beer without any alcohol (but weirdly, not like a non-alcoholic beer). Enamored by the thought that I have never and probably will never see a bottle of Malta again, I enjoyed every sip of it.
We left stuffed beyond belief and felt like total outsiders in the establishment, but that’s usually the best type of dining experience.
Expand your horizons and take an afternoon to enjoy some Nigerian cuisine at Aduke!
Aduke Nigerian Cuisine
1117 West Manchester Boulevard Suite #C, Inglewood, CA 90301