Nigerian Street Food Meets Fast-Casual at Suya Suya


Dera Nd-Ezuma cooks as near to his reminiscences of his hometown of Abuja as he can on a road corner in Northern Liberties.

Nigerian Street Food Meets Fast-Casual at Suya Suya

Beef suya platter with jollof and plantains at Suya Suya / Photograph by Ted Nghiem

When you walk into Suya Suya, the position smells like onion and paprika charring on the grill the guy driving the counter in the black “Su-ya Soon” tee mops strips of beef with a slurry of spices. If the lunch or supper hurry is gradual, you can get a seat in the path of the lover buzzing in the corner of the room, facing the image mural of the streets of crowded, hectic Abuja, operator Dera Nd-Ezuma’s hometown. 

Abuja taught Nd-Ezuma about suya, the road meals that’s preset in the reminiscences of any one who is familiar with Nigeria’s money city: skewered meat sizzling on a grill, rubbed with ground peanuts, paprika, ginger, dry chilies and crushed bouillon, then sold low cost for family foods, quick lunches and late-night time treats. 

Nd-Ezuma arrived to New Jersey on a basketball scholarship when he was a teenager and then turned an accountant. But jogging Suya Suya is what he dreamed of — a put to capture the flavors and avenue scene of Abuja, conceptualized with a businessman’s eye. He uncovered a modest spot on the corner of 4th and Fairmount, the place a great deal of the small business is focused to takeout. 

His suya — Suya Suya’s suya — occur as bowls, primarily, customized to your tastes with possibilities for proteins, rice, sauce, heat stage and sides. There is jollof rice, spicy and crimson with tomato paste, topped with grilled Brussels sprouts or individuals beef strips muddy with yaji and tender as anything. Simple white uto rice is striped with a fiery pink sauce that is designed with floor sausage and dank with spice, then knobbed with smoky hen or shrimp curled like apostrophes and cooled out by a sweet coconut milk sauce and some cabbage and red onion slaw. On the facet, there are cornbread muffins and lovely thick-slice slices of caramelized plantain, slick with dark sugars, that would nonetheless be the proper preference even if the cornbread was the greatest in the environment.

If a bowl appears like far too a great deal of a commitment, the kitchen also serves its suya as tacos — meat folded into a corn tortilla with some chopped onions, a very little cabbage, and a hit of sauce that tastes like a campfire aioli, all smoke and heat and a baritone sweetness. They might just be greater than the bowls. 

Nd-Ezuma cooks as close to his recollections as he can on a street corner in Philly. He will get all his spices right from Nigeria, channels the street-foods vibe and the style of suya he knew when he was young. Bowls and tacos? Which is just company — an quick place of entry, a customizable menu to get the individuals particularly what they want. But the feel of Suya Suya? The flavors?

That’s all about household.

2 Stars — Arrive if you’re in the community

Ranking Critical
stars: stay absent
★: come if you have no other selections
★★: come if you are in the neighborhood
★★★: appear from any place in the region
★★★★: occur from everywhere in the state

Revealed as “All About Home” in the July 2022 concern of Philadelphia magazine.