Nigerian food in Japan?!
By Okwu ID Member Chichi
On a recent trip to Japan, my inner foodie and fried plantain addiction somehow led me on a quest to find Nigerian restaurants in Tokyo. Lo and behold, my Google Maps search confirmed the frequently uttered adage that “Nigerians are everywhere”. — To my surprise, there were quite a few thriving African-inspired restaurants in Tokyo that I could legitimately go to.
Feeling adventurous, I decided to pay a visit to a restaurant called “African Restaurant & Bar Esogie“, or as the Japanese call it, アフリカンレストラン＆バー エソギエ. The owner was actually from Edo State in Nigeria, which was quite ironic, given that Edo is the traditional name for Tokyo. He shared his tale of how he ended up running a cosy bar on the third floor of a bustling area of Shinjuku, Tokyo. What struck me was that all the customers there were Japanese! I guess they know what’s up when it comes to African cuisine (very woke people). I got my fried plantain and suya fix and washed it down with a refreshing bottle of Malta Guinness.
On my penultimate day, I discovered another restaurant in Tokyo’s Roppongi area called “African Home Touch“, also known as “アフリカンホームタッチ レストラン & バー”. This time, I was accompanied by a friend I met who insisted on trying Nigerian food. Despite the slightly sketchy area, the atmosphere was fantastic, especially with Ghana winning their World Cup match against South Korea that night. We ordered a hearty plate of Egusi soup with pounded yam, plantains, and chicken, and it did not disappoint!
Overall, I enjoyed exploring West African cuisine in Tokyo and seeing how the local community embraced it. If you want to try Nigerian or West African food in Japan, check out African Restaurant & Bar Esogie or African Home Touch!