Anthony Bourdain in Lagos, Nigeria: 7 Spots Where Tony Ate

For Anthony Bourdain experiencing the city of Lagos for the first time, the experience is eye-opening both in terms of this underlying entrepreneurial spirit, and the food that fuels it. With its extensive food offerings filmed in incredible 16 mm-based cinematography and with lush sound design, it’s easy to see why Lagos is one of Bourdain’s favorite experiences in his journeys to that point – and that’s saying a lot as he doesn’t make it there until quite late in his career.

Anthony Bourdain visited Lagos to film season 10 (episode 3) of Parts Unknown; it was his only visit to the country of Nigeria during his television career – but not his only visit to the African continent, or even West Africa.

Anthony Bourdain in Lagos Hero

If you’re planning a trip to Nigeria, you should definitely spend time in the capital city of Lagos. While there, you’ll want to sample the flavors of Nigeria, and that includes eating at the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Lagos. Ready to discover where those places are, and what you can enjoy when you visit?

Want to watch the episode where Anthony Bourdain visits Lagos?
The Parts Unknown episode is available on Amazon and Apple TV.

Rue 80 at Maison Fahrenheit Hotel

Bourdain’s first stop in Africa’s largest city is the opulent surroundings of the Rue 80, a rooftop bar at the Maison Fahrenheit Hotel. Here he meets with Shina Peller, owner of Club Quilox, and Banky Wellington, record label owner, actor/director, artist, advertiser, real estate, and chef-in-training for evening drinks.

Makoko (Local Village)

Anthony Bourdain in Lagos - Eba

A different type of meeting next, as Tony travels to the informal settlement of Makoko, built on stilts along the lagoon, meeting with activist Edoato Agbeniyi and Yomi Messou, son of a neighborhood leader, the three discuss wealth disparity within the city.

The three enjoy a meal of locally caught fish lightly fried, served with eba, a type of semolina made from the cassava fruit, with a side of Ata Lilo, a mixture of red bell pepper, tomatoes, scotch bonnet, and onions, blended into a spicy sauce.

Stella’s Kitchen

Anthony Bourdain in Lagos - Egusi Soup

Stella’s Kitchen is a roadside eatery found close to the open-air electronics market in Lagos known as “Computer Village” with local businessman Tunji Andrews.

Alongside their specialty of pounded yams, Bourdain also tries egusi soup, which is a mixed stew of goat meat, melon seeds, fish stock, and chiles, slow-cooked down as a perfect accompaniment to the starchy yams.

Iya Eba

Anthony Bourdain in Lagos - Pepper Soup

Bourdain’s next lunch date is Nigerian journalist and media entrepreneur Kadaria Ahmed, who takes him to Iya Eba, another street establishment that feeds the bustling nightlife of Lagos with pepper soup.

Spices and chilis are dry fried to lightly toast and release their flavors. Once this blend is suitably aromatic, it is added to a large pot of stock, together with the choice of chicken, goat, or local fish. This is then boiled over high heat, then simmered until the meat is cooked through and tender. “It burns. Burns real good,” says Bourdain, giving the hearty soup his seal of approval.

New Afrika Shrine

Following an introduction to the Nigerian psychedelic rock scene of the 70s local record collector and music label owner Temitope Kogbe, Bourdain enjoys a few beers with Femi and Seun Kuti, sons of the legendary Nigerian musician Fela Kuti, at New Afrika Shrine, an entertainment center in Lagos.

Chieftaincy Council of Hausa Community in Agege

Traveling next to a local market in the suburb of Agege, Tony meets with members of the local council of the Hausa people, a native ethnic group in West Africa.

After meeting their leader, his Royal Highness, Alhaji Musa Muhammadu Dogonkadai, Sarkin Hausawan Agege, the group settle down for a traditional meal.

Served up are masa (rice cakes made from Nigerian sticky rice, sugar, and potash, a type of salt rich in minerals), fura, (a type of slightly sour yogurt made from millet and milk), and danwake, a type of high protein bean flour dumplings served with tomatoes, onions, and hot pepper sauce.

There is also morgina salad, made from the leaves of the Zogale tree and said to have medicinal properties, and a seasoning of kuli kuli powder, a condiment made from ground peanuts.

Yakoyo Canteen

Anthony Bourdain in Lagos - Ewedu Soup

For his final meal, Bourdain meets with three local Nigerian food bloggers (Atim Ukoh, Iquo Ukoh, and Ozoz Sokoh) for their take on the traditions and changes to Nigerian cuisine in response to the hustle culture that permeates through the city. The group visits Yakoyo Canteen.

With food bloggers, you can guarantee the best choices from any location, and this meal is no exception. First, there is ewedu soup from the Yoruba tribe made with the leaves of the jute plant, together with crayfish, chiles, and locust beans. This is followed with jolloh rice, similar to Spanish red rice, cooked with a spicy tomato sauce of tomatoes, onions, spices including curry powder, rosemary, ginger, paprika, and cayenne pepper.

There is also goat meat stew, and finally a pounded yam dish called amala. Raw yam is sliced, ground into a flour then cooked into a millet similar to grits, another perfect starchy accompaniment for mopping up juices.

Have any questions about the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Lagos or Nigeria, or what he ate during his visit? Let me know in the comments below!

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Matt Young is a street food fanatic and world traveler, currently splitting his time between Europe and South East Asia.

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