April 13, 2024

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Delicious food

The 5 best dishes I tried at N.J.’s African Restaurant Week’s sprawling festival

The very first-at any time New Jersey African Cafe Week wrapped up this weekend with a meals festival Saturday in Newark.

DJ’s blared tunes by way of the parking ton at Bisrate Gebriel Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church as sellers sold clothing, attractiveness supplies, health and fitness items and far more.

And there was food. Loads of a lot of foodstuff.

African Cafe 7 days CEO Akin Akinsanya explained he hoped the cafe 7 days (which featured 23 distinctive eateries taking element) and the closing celebration (with even extra food stuff distributors) would assistance put African foods “on the foodie map.” I tried using as several dishes as I could from Working day 1 of the event on Saturday — some dishes I had experimented with in advance of and many I hadn’t. Working day 2 was postponed by Hurricane Henri and will now consider spot upcoming Sunday.

Listed here were being my beloved foods I sampled.

African Restaurant Week

Tamarind chicken, stewed fish and jollof rice from Delectable African Orchards at New Jersey African Restaurant Week, which was held Saturday and Sunday at Bisrate Gebriel Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in Newark. (Jeremy Schneider | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)

I am a sucker for anything tamarind, and the succulent hen in the tangy sauce was my solitary favourite thing I ate on Saturday. The marinade was sweet but not extremely so, reminiscent of barbecue sauce but with additional bite. The jollof rice (a West African dish that just lately bought shouted out in Apple Television strike show “Ted Lasso”) was tender and packed with tomato and pepper taste that stood up to the hen.

Sea moss drink

Sea moss from Sweet-T-Creams at the New Jersey African Restaurant Week competition in Newark. (Jeremy Schneider | NJ Progress Media for NJ.com)

All you have to have to know about sea moss is when I advised the homeowners of Sweet-T-Lotions I experienced by no means had it ahead of, they busted out their cameras to film my reaction. As before long as the Jamaican drink, which is derived from a type of algae, strike my lips I understood why. Wow. 1 of the most one of a kind textures I have at any time knowledgeable. Light and fluffy but also with the softness of a gel. With coconut and vanilla added to the blend, it was a delectable dairy-cost-free dessert with a myriad of health gains.


Acarajé from the New Jersey African Cafe 7 days pageant in Newark. (Jeremy Schneider | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)

Acarajé is street foodstuff common in West African, Caribbean and Brazilian cuisines. Black eyed peas are peeled, mashed and then fried into a ball that will get break up and filled with shrimp and cashew sauce and topped with peppers and onions. My favorite aspect of the dish is the distinctive textures — the doughiness of the fritter, the succulent shrimp and then the crispy veggies give you three very unique mouth-feels in 1 bite.


Suya from Zobo Sorrel at the New Jersey African Restaurant 7 days pageant in Newark. (Jeremy Schneider | NJ Progress Media for NJ.com)

The initially detail I ate at the pageant, and it packed the most warmth. I guess they weren’t kidding when they mentioned they were spicing it up for me. Suya is a spicy meat skewers common in West African delicacies. I tried chicken and beef and beloved each, but the hen was specially tender and tasty. The purple onions on major have been a wonderful addition that lower by means of the spiciness.

Coconut jerk pasta

Coconut jerk pasta with shrimp from Urdee B’s at the New Jersey African Cafe 7 days pageant in Newark. (Jeremy Schneider | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)

Pasta. Shrimp. Coconut. Not a few food items I experienced ever experienced collectively before Saturday, but now I’m thinking in which it has been all my lifetime. The sauce was the correct balance of sweet and spicy, while the shrimp was massive and juicy. The pasta brought it all jointly properly.

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Jeremy Schneider may perhaps be reached at [email protected] and adopted on Twitter at @J_Schneider and on Instagram at @JeremyIsHungryAgain.