As Nigerians continue to groan as a result of the current recession, residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, have devised means to combat the life-threatening situation.
Call it survival instinct and or recession antidote, certain menu like roasted yam, plantain and corn, hitherto ignored have been made popular. Many now avoid expensive popular eateries.
Little wonder some of these joints providing those previously considered “poor man’s food” are currently experiencing boom. People with exotic vehicles now line up at these joints especially during lunch hours.
Owners of those joints, which could be categorised as roadside food outfits are, expectedly, smiling home with burgeoning purses on daily basis. One man’s misfortune has become another man’s blessing. The pangs of recession on the popular eateries have become a blessing to roadside food vendors, especially roasted yam, corn and plantains.
Like Roasted Yam Like Corn
For the residents and new arrivals to the FCT, near the National Stadium, along the express road to Berger roundabout from Area One, Garki, could be described as the depot and home of roasted corn in and out of corn seasons.
It is not surprising therefore for passers-by and drivers to wonder what is happening seeing large number of exotic cars waiting patiently for the suppliers to settle them.
While many of the super regular customers get patronage by remaining inside their air-conditioned cars, others prefer to come down, make choices and supervise the roasting of their corns, just as some love to consume it steaming hot with pears or coconuts to complement.
Like their yam sellers counterparts, the roasted corn sellers are equally making brisk business. An elderly woman admitted patronage has increased:
“Some of us have been in this business of roasting corn for years. Some of us even trained our children and sustain our families through this business. I am not surprise the kind of cars we see here daily because it has always been like that since I joined others here.
“You know that things are very hard now and since you can satisfy the hunger with two medium size corns costing just N10, many come here to patronise us. Apart from the hunger, they also said that corn is good and nutritious for their health.”
It is the same business boom to the mobile cooked corn vendors traversing the length and breadth of the FCT to supply the ever-willing consumers at very affordable prices.
Dog Meat in Kuje
Elsewhere in faraway Kuje Area Council, a suburb of FCT, healthy tribal competition goes inside an area popularly called forest on every market day, as each tribe tries to “out eat” the other in the consumption of dog meat.
Operating in coded style, the joint functions in such a way that only those initiated into the world of dog meat eaters could find and join others in the consumption of the delicacies.
A trader near the forest market told a correspondent that since many don’t consume the meat, its relative low price provides alternative and substitute to other forms of meats like cow tail, cow head among others currently out of reach of the ordinary Nigerians:
“Dog meat is very medicinal and that is why a part of this market is always a beehive of activities on every market day. The patronage of dog meat cuts across tribes because you can see the Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba among other tribes.
“Dog meat is cheap. A plate can go for N200 or N300 compared to the price of other forms of meat consumed at various pepper-soup joints around Kuje. It is a good substitute in this era of recession even though it is not everybody that likes to consume dog meat.”
Other joints absorbing the shock of recession include the Amala joint popularly called Matosh Kitchen located at the Wuye District, a two-minute drive from the Berger roundabout and Ofe Owerri joint, near Eden Garden known for its notoriety as haven for prostitutes, in Utako District.
Unlike other joints the patronage of the Amala and Ofe Owerri joints, serve both the rich and poor. They are admixture of flamboyance and diet nostalgia. The prices are in the category of the rich and poor while the size of the customer’s pocket determines the quality of dish she or he takes.