A wide sprawl urban environment, desolate buildings and lots of blocks on end, chicken establishments who compete under the conditions of Darwin’s principle of natural selection. There’s something special about these places and I’m not talking about the “hood” mentality. It’s the beautiful struggle and the adaptation to our evolving society, even with the rise of advertising on new technology, whips (cars) and kicks (shoes). Some locales remain constant, timeless and available for those who need it the most, even without an iPad2 on hand.
However all stereotypes and pop culture references aside, Inglewood, should be known for more and this is where Nkechi African Cafe comes in. Originally from Gardena (ten years prior), while presently residing in Inglewood for the past four years, Nkechi has a steady following of customers who continue to crave its Nigerian roots of flavor and soul.
A good twenty-five minute drive, and I finally get to the place:
The Décor, is full of African art posted up along sky blue walls
Here’s the menu of tasty Nigerian offerings:
After a few minutes of discussion with the owner (which I didn’t realize at the time). Informing her of my first experience with Authentic African Cuisine (let alone Nigerian), she recommended the Jollof Rice with Dodo( fried Plantains), Tomato Sauce and Fried Chicken:
The rice had a clean flavor very filling. The Plantains had a nice crispy skin layer, while the rest of the fruit remained moist and piping hot. I found this first taste of Africa, very timid and safe. I’m aware that similar to Indian cuisine African cuisine is usually somewhat bombarded with stronger spices and flavors. Ms. Nkechi insists on my return visit that I should try the Soup, Fu-Fu (heavy in African Yam or African Gari) and an exotic delicacy offered on Friday’s Special-All Day (lamb and goathead prepared Nigerian style).
Post-dining experience, I was able to interview Ms. Nkechi to get a feel for African (or in this case Nigerian) cuisine and have her share some thoughts.
A Picture of Ms. Nkechi owner of Nkechi African Cafe
As Ms. Nkechi states,
“Our food is healthy, don’t cook without a lot of oil or pork.”
The complete opposite of what much of Soul food (or American cuisines generally) are centered upon. There’s nothing wrong with a little fat here and there, but it’s an interesting fact to note considering most of the local offerings I’ve encountered in Inglewood aren’t representative of this type of cuisine. Regardless, taking the small step outside of my comfort zone allows me to realize that food represents a colorful (and sometimes bittersweet diversity) of one’s ethnic culture. In some cases, it makes me wonder about my own ethnic identity and the possibility of ever having a natural consensus and acceptance for who we are as an ethnicity, but that’s another discussion for another time.
Lastly, I would like to thank Ms. Nkechi and her staff for her hospitality and wonderful experience of tasting Nigerian cuisine. Definitely looking forward to the follow up visit in the near future. Have a great weekend everyone.
Nkechi African Cafe
2717 W Manchester Blvd.
Inglewood, CA 90305
#: (323) 541-1265