The growing Nigerian population in Kigali now has a restaurant they can call home – Jollof Kigali – where they can dine and enjoy their local cuisine.
At the entrance, Jollof Kigali has glowing golden ones Lights in front of translucent decor and dark walls give the place a majestic look.
It is right on the busy Kismenti Street.
The place is often full, but not overcrowded, and offers something for those who want an intimate space indoors, while those who are in a festive mood can sit in the TV lounge or other open spaces.
The owner is a gracious Nigerian, popularly known as Manny is known. He is married to a Rwandan who is his partner in business.
They met a few years ago when he was working in Malaysia and she was a student. She convinced him to come to Rwanda with her and explore business opportunities there. While in Rwanda, he noticed that there was a growing Nigerian population living in Kigali and Nigerian tourists coming to Rwanda, but there was nowhere to have their local food served.
For all of 2019 Jollof Kigali operated exclusively on Instagram, where customers placed orders and food was delivered to their doorstep. Last year, despite the pandemic, the restaurant opened its doors.
Jollof, a type of rice recipe made with red sauce, crabs and hot sauce, is popular in West Africa. The restaurant also serves ogbono, egusi, okro and eforiro vegetable soups with crushed yam, semolina and oatmeal.
RwandAir offers direct flights from Kigali to Lagos and Abuja, ensuring a constant supply of Nigerian groceries and the ingredients they use in the preparation of the dishes.
Manny also brings chefs to prepare the Nigerian cuisine, but now they have started training Rwandans to prepare the dishes.
When I first went to the restaurant, I had pork ribs and a salad. The ribs were greasy but still tender and juicy. Manny told me that Nigerian dishes tend to be oily. Next time I tried the fried rice, fish served with plantains and a side salad. The rice was a bit dry but tasty after pouring the sweetened salad on top.
“The restaurant is a way to bring Nigerian culture to Rwanda. Rwandans love Nigerian food,” Manny said. < / p>
He says he followed his heart to Rwanda and that his faith helped him start over.