For the first time in pretty much a decade, I went back home. Which home you ask? Nigeria to be exact. When I say “home”, it can mean one of a number of places so you need context clues to figure out what I mean. Over a series of posts, I will be covering food and some fabric from this trip. In this post, I will cover comfort food and my first trip to a ‘bukka’.
When I went home, my aunt treated me to lunch at the Hilton restaurant, Bukka, in the city of Abuja. Mind you, this is not a restaurant review; I mention it because being their was nostalgic – as a girl I often went to that Hilton with my mum when she attended various conferences hosted there.
Anyway, for those of you that don’t know, a bukka in Nigeria is similar to the LA food truck except it is indoors. Or maybe you can compare it to a cafeteria.
This restaurant is NOT a proper ‘bukka’ but it serves Nigerian food and the decor is Nigerian themed ( I really liked the decor). Why does this matter? It’s an upscale hotel but they want patrons to have a Nigerian experience of sorts. Which means I still have never been to a bukka and honestly probably never will. It took me a while to eat from an LA food truck and even then I only like certain ones. (Don’t judge me!)
So what does this have to do with comfort food? After living in a different country for a while, your definition of comfort food can change. To me it had come to mean Thanksgiving stuffing, collard greens, creamy potato soup cooked with a hamhock. That’s yummy and all but in the midst of it I had forgotten about…pepper soup. Yes y’all pepper soup!
In the US, we have chicken soup. In Nigeria, we have pepper soup. To be honest that is the only soup I am aware of and it is the go to for feeling sick, being hungry, whatever. Standard. So you better believe that when I saw pepper soup at Bukka I did not hesitate to fill up a bowl.
There were all sorts of foods available – chinese fried rice, Nigerian jollof rice, pounded yam, vegetable stews, fruits, desserts, a beef roast…basically an international menu. For me, I didn’t want to east anything too easily accessible in the US but I wasn’t quite ready to fill up on pounded yam so here’s what I ended up with, a not so “traditional” meal which is pretty fitting for me. I usually don’t eat a lot of the heavier Nigerian foods. I didn’t eat anything from the first two images, I just took the picture so you see what the restaurant offered.
Please note the panna cotta. That was my first time having it and Bekah was my inspiration. She loves panna cotta and keeps tallking about it so when I saw it, I figured I would go for it. I was not avoiding it, panna cotta just hadn’t crossed my path. They had cherry and mango versions and I tried both. Mango is one of my favourite fruits, flavours, scents so you know I had to And it was good…yay for my sweet tooth.
This was the third or fourth day of being at home so you know I definitely ate more home food. More on that to come…