Renowned Emirati vlogger, Khalid and wife, Salama, go back to the streets of Dubai, to bring another mouth-watering and thought-provoking vlog. This time, they visit one of Dubai’s well-loved African restaurants, Biggy African Restaurant.
READ NEXT: Visiting the Jumeirah Mosque in Dubai
In the video, they show their audience a little bit of African culture through the food experience they’ve tried at the famed restaurant in Dubai. So the next time you go around the city and happen to visit this place, you’d know what food to try and what to expect from them. If you’re excited to know more about African food and the cultural representation they bring to Dubai, then keep on reading.
[VIDEO] Emirati Vlogger Khalid and Salama Share Nigerian Food Experience in Latest Vlog
In the latest vlog update shared by Khalid Al Ameri on his Facebook page, he and his wife, Salama, visit one of Dubai’s well-loved African bistros to try some of the most popular African food – Nigerian food, to be exact.
According to Khalid, “The tastes of Nigeria or Nigerian food and dishes represent the hundreds of ethnic groups that make up Nigeria. From soups and stews to rice and pounded yams, Nigerian meals are some of the most colourful, lavish, and tastiest meals in the world.”
The couple, accompanied by their friend, Steven, headed over to the restaurant in the Al Jabri building in Al Nahda, Dubai, feeling hungry and “stoked” to learn and try something new to share with the people following their gastronomic adventures all over the world.
However, given the circumstances we are all in, this time, they opted to explore some of the most well-loved places in the city, and let others know of how awesome Dubai is, in terms of its cultural and ethnic diversity. And what better way to do this, than by trying out specialty dishes served by the people who best make them! And representing the people and culture of Nigeria is the restaurant owner and main chef herself, Ade AKA Biggy.
Coming into the restaurant, Khalid was quick to look for one of the more popular Nigerian meal, known as Fufu. Interestingly, however, there were some misconceptions even with this very popular dish. And Ade was very candid about teaching Khalid and the group, what the real score with Fufu is. She explained that Fufu can easily be confused with pounded yam, especially when you look at the way they are presented the first time. To set the distinction, Fufu is not made of yam, but of cassava. So the next time you look for Fufu, you’d better not confuse it with pounded yam, because just like what happened to Khalid in the video, it can get quite a bit awkward, and that’s not exactly a good way to start exploring a new culture through the people’s food. But now that you know the difference, you should be okay.
So after that little awkward moment with Fufu, the couple decided to go wash their hands thoroughly in preparation for their food experience at Biggy’s. Khalid shares that Africans, just like Arabs, enjoy eating their food with their hands.
And after they’ve cleaned up, they’re now ready to dig in.
Khalid explains that the best way to start was to go with, of course, only the best or the most popular Nigerian dish there is: Jollof Rice.
After she took a bite, Salama was already enjoying herself, with the way things are starting to turn out. But Khalid got a bit more descriptive with his evaluation. He explained that there was a hint of sweetness from the plantain, which interestingly goes well with the spicy rice and the meat they eat it with: pan fried turkey. Salama couldn’t hide her delight when she snuck in another bite of the amazing food combination. And to this, Khalid remarked, “What that dish said, was welcome to Nigeria! You are home with us. Enjoy our flavors. Enjoy our colours. Enjoy our life.” It’s a bit poetic, yes. But isn’t that the point of enjoying great food? To make us feel truly grateful and happy to be alive.
So moving onto the next dish, the couple was then served with another popular combo dish of Nigerian fried rice, moin moin, and chicken. Moin moin is processed beans that are boiled and formed to make a sticky dough-life texture. The taste-testing is one thing worth looking forward to in these videos, but if you’ve been following this couple, you know that it’s going to be more than just great food here. Great conversations – sometimes, snarky and funny ones, pepper the discussion, creating more excitement for the viewers. That said, this couple is truly cute and funny together.
Then they get into the real deal, the Fufu. However, not everything was what they thought about this food to be. Yes, Fufu, is indeed a popular dish in Nigeria, but there’s something that’s more popular than this: pounded yam (or could it just be one of Biggy’s favorites? Let’s find out.)
Not to be confused with Fufu, both have the consistency of sticky rice and are usually eaten with meat stew called Egusi. This is made of goat, mixed with melon, and bitter leaves. Apparently, this dish is not only tasty but is also healthy – and extremely spicy! So if you’re feeling a bit under the weather or lacking appetite, this one’s highly recommended! It’ll surely wake up your taste buds.
Next, they tried the yam porridge, which looks colourful and soft from the outside, but once you take a bite, the spiciness is something to brace yourself for. Both Khalid and Salama agreed that the dish reminds them of the Arabic Chili Potato. As a compliment to the dish’s ingredients, texture, and flavors, the couple agreed that it’s a must-have when you’re feeling low on energy or when you want to have something to keep you warm on a cold day.
Next in line was the famous west African dish, Ewa Agoyin – which Salama couldn’t hide her excitement for. The dish is made of beans in chili sauce generously topped with crispy fried beef paired with plantain to complete the savoury-spicy-sweet formula of most African cuisine. And indeed, it did not disappoint, Khalid said that the dish is worth having “all-day”.
Fortunately or unfortunately, there’s still one last dish to top everything off. They were warned not to try it though because it is literally FIRE. Something you describe as fire could only mean two things: it’s so good that it’s considered “hot” or it’s extremely spicy that it burns your mouth. Of course, as adventurous as our favorite couple is, they did not back down. Instead, they really insisted. Salama funnily puts it this way, “I’m not leaving unless I burn myself!” And you know that she’s not joking.
So after they’ve convinced the staff that they are, indeed, ready for it, they were served with Ofada rice and Ayamase, a kind of spicy beef stew, also known as the king of spicy stews for Nigerians. It was interesting to see how they were calm and enjoying themselves at first bite, but then, tears started to well up in their eyes, with Khalid panicking and drinking water, but this just made the spiciness much worse. They were told that they just needed to get used to it and to keep going, and so they did.
Interestingly, the only way to conquer the king of Nigerian spicy stews is to keep eating it. Biggy even jokes that if you have this stew four or five times in a month, nothing can stop you, not even the corona. But we’ll leave you to decide about that bit. But what they did confirm after enjoying such an interesting dish was that it’s a slow-burn kind of hot, but nevertheless really good. A must-try and fun experience.
And to cap off the savoury and spicy goodness they’ve had from the other dishes, it’s time to calm the taste buds with a dessert called puff-puff, which is like a doughnut but not the sweet kind – just the mellow, feel-good kind in your mouth. This reminded them of a dessert in the UAE, known as the luqaimat. Both of them agreed that it’s the best way to calm your nerves and taste buds after eating Ayamase. Very interesting, yes?
So after having a full course of Nigerian food, Khalid wrapped things up by sharing what they’ve learned from the experience. He said that Nigerian food and culture is full of life, energy, giving you a sense of happiness, joy, and most of all love – just like all of the great food in the world.
And of course, the experience wouldn’t be complete without having a word from Steven, their African guide for the day’s adventure. He talks about the Nigerians in the UAE and their culture, explaining: “[We] Nigerians in the UAE have been able to build a good reputation over the years because our people are charismatic, adventurous, and easy-going. But if there’s one peculiar thing to be said of our people, that is we are emphatic. So, if you see two Nigerians talking, and think they might be quarrelling – really, they are not. They are actually just trying to make a point. Also, Nigerians are very welcoming people and we are blessed as a nation, so if you want, you can visit us, and come to Nigeria anytime you want and you’ll be welcome.”