David Adedeji Adeleke, better known as Davido, makes melodic, erudite hip-hop which draws on traditional Nigerian music while keeping a finger on the global pulse (with gripping, narrative music videos to match).
In 2018, he was awarded the title of Best International Act at the Black Entertainment Television awards, coming out top in a stellar group of nominees which included Stormzy and J Hus.
Whilst accepting the award, Davido gave a rousing call to the international community and to his fellow artists, inviting collaboration and cultural exchange between Africa and the rest of the world. Perhaps most memorably, he urged people to “Come to Africa! Eat the food!”
Chioma Avril Rowland
Here, Davido shares his tips and tastes, talks Nigerian and African cuisine - from traditional street food to his favourite dishes cooked by his wife Chioma ("the best chef in the world") - and wades into the Jollof Wars!
Peppered snails, ofada rice & fried plantains 'dodo' (2019)The Centenary Project
When you won your BET award, you said “Come to Africa! Eat the food!” Your soon to be wife, Chioma (congrats) is a chef. So let’s talk about the food!
Most definitely. And yeah, Chioma is the best chef in the world.
Ofada stew in a bowl, and Ofada rice wrapped in 'ewe'ran' leaves. (2019)The Centenary Project
What Nigerian dish would you make sure to share with your fellow artists and collaborators?
The first thing I would have them eat is jollof rice, plantains, and original local ofada stew. I wouldn’t want to make it too hard on them. Not too much pepper, because our pepper is too much for Americans sometimes.
Chopping fluted pumpkin leaves (2019)The Centenary Project
Are there any special places you would recommend enjoying a traditional Nigerian meal?
Definitely. A lot of places. You have to go to Utopia [in Lagos]. Continental food; Nigerian food: they have everything. Pearl Gardens has Nigerian Chinese cuisine. Also gotta hit up Danfo. They make killer beans and bread. It’s a high class restaurant but the theme is like a local buka. And definitely visit the local bukas as well!
Eba and Edikainkong Soup (2019)The Centenary Project
Food is a part of how we live, how we exist, how we connect. And it’s with us from the start of our lives. What is your earliest memory of cooked food from your parents or family that you remember falling in love with?
Bro, the first time I tried eba! I love eba. That’s what I eat when I want to go to bed, with some seafood okra. That drives me crazy. My mom used to make killer seafood okra, and my wife makes killer seafood okra with eba. Seafood okra with a little bit of diced meat in it.
Balogun/Idumota market (2019)The Centenary Project
What about when you were going to school as a kid in Lagos? Street food has always been a big delicacy in Nigeria. Do you remember any street food you or your friends would buy after school?
Indomie. It’s noodles. It’s quick to eat. The Nigerian kid prime-lunch. And they had crazy commercials back in the day!
Roasted Plantain (2019) by The Centenary ProjectThe Centenary Project
A lot of your friends and family describe you as a very passionate and energetic person, especially with your music. Tell us what would be Davido’s ideal meal before any energetic performance?
Well, I don’t like feeling heavy on stage, so not much beforehand! But after, I love cooked plantains with eggs and turkey. Fire!
Jollof rice and fried chicken (2019)The Centenary Project
In a recent interview, you took the plunge and answered a question which can get quite political...you chose a side in the Jollof Wars! You said the Senegalese had the best jollof! What makes good jollof?
Senegalese jollof is the best. I’m always tired of hearing Nigerian or Ghanaian jollof. I said something to turn it on its side! But Senagalese jollof be hittin’. Oooh, the spice. I like spice and everything nice!
Basket of Fresh Pepper (2019) by The Centenary ProjectThe Centenary Project
It’s been such a pleasure chatting with you and getting to know more about your culinary preferences. Before you go, I’d like to ask you a few rapid fire Qs. Are you ready?
Home made or eat out?
Buka or posh restaurant?
Bush meat or fish?
Jollof or fried rice?
Suya or kilishi?
Eat with cutlery or with hands?
Peppersoup In A Pot (2019) by The Centenary ProjectThe Centenary Project
Thanks so much! Any last thoughts on Nigerian food?
Nigerian food is just the best! I love the spices. The way they put the spices together. Make sure you get that peppersoup. That goat-meat peppersoup!