Deadline Detroit | Gallery: Detroit’s newest food truck serves ‘authentic Nigerian cuisine’ on Livernois
A migrant entrepreneur who launched a food truck called Fork in northwest Detroit two months ago in Nigeria has a heads-up for adventurous diners: Some “restaurants we have here are falsely branding themselves African”, says Prej Iroegbu on his website.
“You can’t pretend to be really and totally African,” he added in a blog post. “There are over 250 ethnic groups, over 400 dialects, and around 835 local Nigerian dishes in Nigeria alone.”
As the startup’s name suggests, it gives customers a choice from Iroegbus homeland. “Fork In Nigeria reflects the culinary skills of Nigerian women and chefs,” says the founder. “It’s like digging in a fork for delicious bites from a range of Nigerian dishes.”
The truck is on Livernois Ave. 19910 and Pembroke Avenue between the districts of Green Acres and Shewood Forest. It serves 11am to 9pm and deliveries within a local radius were added last week.
Mains have one of three meats (oxtail, goat, or beef) or chicken served with rice (jollof, steamed or fried) for $ 12.50 or $ 13.50. The menu (Photos below) also has grilled steak in Nigerian spices, ground beef pie, steamed ground beans with spices and stew (moi moi), black-eyed pea donut (akara), and melon soup with leafy vegetables (egusi).
“We serve thick soup of Nigerian quality,” writes Iroegbu. “Egusi soup is probably the best prepared soup in Nigeria. It doesn’t matter if you are attending a naming, funeral or wedding ceremony.” (At the truck, it’s served with crushed yam and a choice of meat or chicken for $ 14.15.)
Other choices include goat legs, cassava stew, and fried sweet plantains – “one of the most important comfort foods”.
The house drink is Zobo – deep red hibiscus tea made from pineapple, ginger, cloves and cinnamon. “Nigerians serve it at parties, sell it on the street, sell it in stores and even serve it with special meals in private homes,” the owner writes in another blog post. “Zobo is to Nigerians what smoothie is to Americans.”
The mix of exotic dishes, reasonable prices and the neighborhood location seems to be gaining traction. Fork in Nigeria seeks full-time and part-time help.
The 40-year-old founder, who lives in Southfield with his wife and business partner Precious Iroegby, describes his West African roots in his first blog post last month:
I grew up on a farm and was raised to cook food with pots on firewood. I grew up understanding the difference between a Nigerian dish and Nigerian food cooked the Nigerian way.
We made sure to bring that difference here to the US. Our only goal is not just to serve the typical menu of Nigerian dishes, but to serve the true African experience.
Look at the newcomer
Photo gallery from the restaurant