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Home / Articles / Food / Food & Drink /  African Fare at Edo Kitchen
Food & Drink

African Fare at Edo Kitchen

If you like it, lick it up

By Austen Diamond
Photo by Erik Daenitz // Easter Momodu, Gloria Walton
Posted // May 17,2011 -

There’s a word in Esan, a Nigerian dialect, that means “to finger-lick a bowl clean.” Doing this indicates one has experienced pure food enjoyment, says Edo Kitchen owner Easter Momodu, whose West African fare is so delicious, patrons might just want to eat with their hands—the norm in Nigeria—so they can lick their fingers clean.

While Momodu can’t quite recall the word because he’s lived in America for more than 20 years now, his family recipes haven’t been lost. “I don’t even need to think when I cook, I just do it. It comes natural. All the recipes are in my head,” says Momodu, pictured above with Edo employee Gloria Walton. “I learned from my old man, watching him cook."

When Momodu emigrated from Nigeria to seek an education, he left behind a big family. However, they stay in touch—mainly through family members sending him “secret ingredients.” With a glowing smile, he opens a Priority Mail box and pulls out spices that meet his high standards—egusi (melon seed) and pepper soup seasoning, among others. “What makes my dishes flavorful are the secret ingredients from Africa,” he says.

Edo Kitchen offers a limited but authentic menu that includes spicy, luscious peanut soup made from blended peanuts, tomatoes, onions, peppers and spinach. There’s also salty, extra-spicy goat pepper soup, fried plantains, joulof rice (fried rice with vegetables and shrimp), okra soup and egusi soup, both of the latter served with fufu (pounded yams).

Edo’s white stuccoed storefront, which is at the building’s rear, combines with the four tables and brightly colored walls to conjure visions of a small-town Nigerian cafe. And evoking that feeling was intentional. “It’s like a gift to Americans—something from my native homeland. And I opened up, basically, for the love of cooking. I love to cook,” Momodu says.

815 E. 2100 South

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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Posted // May 19,2011 at 11:52

I have eaten at Edo Kitchen twice this month, and enjoyed it both times. Easter is a friendly guy who wants to share a glimpse of his native culture and has the skill to do that through food. The food is delicious and the restaurant is immaculate.

Every culture has some way to allow easier eating with the hands: the Mexicans have tortillas, Europeans have bread, we Americans have hot dog buns, West Africans have fufu. Fufu has a delicate flavor. What you dip it in has flavors of spices you have probably never had before. Excellent flavors.

The goat soup is very spicy but is probably my favorite. Easter sources his meat from a local farmer. Goat, very popular in most Asian and African countries, is low in fat but can be tough. Easter's is much more tender than I've had when traveling.

Park in back, and escape for an hour to where you can get authentic food without the language hassle or concern for food safety that you would get in West Africa.