Monday, May 21, 2012

Suya comes to Berkeley

Last week before leaving Berkeley, California, we stopped in at a modest but welcome new addition to the culinary scene, called "Suya." (Located at 2130 Oxford St, between Allston Way and the West Entrance to U.C. Berkeley. They're open every day but Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.) The Nigerian owner explained that when he came to the U.S. he always longed for a place to get the popular street/party/kebab-style food in Nigeria called "suya." (pronounced "sooya"). He and his wife decided to make it happen. We should all be grateful to them.

The restaurant is tiny (read "intimate"), and focuses its attention on grilling beef, tilapia, or chicken spiced to order with either the distinctive, vibrant rub called  "yagi"  (aka "suya powder") or Caribbean jerk seasoning--they even set out samples for passers by to taste, and though I sampled the jerked version, my heart belongs to suya (Ghana's chichinga).  While there are actually 3 or 4 types of suya (tsire, for which I've posted a recipe, kilishibalangu and dambu) most people use "suya" to refer to the most popular type, "tsire suya." The spices are exciting and distinctive (especially the powdered peanuts), the cooking lowfat and healthy, and there's no substitute for that freshly grilled taste of vegetables (corn, plantains, zucchini, peppers, etc.). Our grilled ripe plantains disappeared before I could even photograph them! The eating area is quite compact, the service friendly, and there is the advantage that you can watch the chefs grill your meal.

I'm generally not a big fan of tilapia, and I've never had fish suya before, but I found the spices gave it a delightful flavor. If you're in the Bay Area, do stop by and check Suya out.

In my next posting I'll blog about the refreshing Nigerian nonalcoholic drink I had there--a West African challenge to sangria: the Chapman! Who would have thought of adding cucumbers to a cocktail? Hint: note the bright red color of the drink in one of the photos below.

1 comment:

city said...

.thanks for sharing