As readers of The Taste of Tomorrow will find out in April of 2011 (sorry for blowing the suspense), Detroit is not a great city for African cuisine exploration. Chicago is slightly better. It is just not easy, in America circa 2011, to properly explore the range of sub-Saharan African cuisines. So if you’re not traveling to the big continent, or to London, your best bet is probably D.C.
DC has the highest concentration of Ethiopian and Eritrean restaurants in the states. One DC neighborhood, Adams Morgan, feels like a quasi-Little Ethiopia. And DC has Bukom Café, which is, in my humble view, probably the best place for an introduction to West African food. ( Not only does Bukom, fyi, offer consistent pan-West African food (Ghanaian, Nigerian, Sierra Leonean, Gabon), it’s friendly, spirited serves African ginger beer and beer-beer and has music most nights of the week. (A must-try). But I am even more convinced that my old home-town is the best place for African food after searching through Tyler Cowen’s Ethnic Dining Guide. Cowen, economist, uber-blogger, and regular NY Times contributors, also has a side passion for ethnic food exploration. Cowen, author of one of my favorite statement ever “All food is ethnic food” has been eating-through DC’s ethnic option with Chowhound-like intensity for years, and he has surprisingly extensive coverage of sub-saharan African food. Judging from Tyler’s site, DC has a pretty good range of West African options —Ghanaian, Seneglasese, Sierra Leonean. Most intriguingly, DC had a Cameroonian restaurant, the Roger Miller Restaurant, named after a Cameroonian football star (according to web report, Roger Miller is “relocating”) and a Sudanese place, called El Khartoum. Not to mention African specialty stories.
The TofT magazine will report back on the sub-Saharan African foodstuffs of DC during a fact-finding visit this February. Also, fyi, good reading found: extensive coverage of Ethipian restaurants and markets in the U.S.