Bukka joints: the true nature of the Nigerian people
Restaurant business in Nigeria is a big time investment.
At a time when the food industry around the world are undergoing challenges resulting in some of them folding up, more and more food shops are springing up every now and then in Nigeria.
Very many eating spots could be seen at various stops in the major cities of the country, bearing witness to the increasing growth of the food industry.
From hotel restaurants to chains of eateries and local restaurants, various international, continental and local mouthwatering dishes are served depending on the taste and desires of the customers.
A lot of factors determine which kind of eating spot are frequented by Nigerians.
In addition to money being the major factor, class, status and the need to impress are other determining factors.
Say an organization having a meeting decides to go on a lunch break for instance, the food would most probably be ordered from a hotel restaurant.
A man taking his better half on a date would definitely visit a hotel restaurant or any other big fancy eatery, depending on his pocket rate.
However, there is one eating spot most Nigerians can relate to. Popularly referred to as ‘Bukka’ in the remote and inner city countrysides of Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria. These local restaurants speak volume about the life of the ordinary Nigerian people.
These local eateries are not fanciful and most often consist of shop with just one room.
Local delicacies such as ‘ewa agoin’ (mashed beans), yam dipped in raw egg and fried, different kinds of rice as well as various soups are among the foods prepared and served at these local restaurants.
These kind of local foods are most often not prepared in the big restaurants and eateries around and even when they are available, they are sold at very expenses prices.
Apart from the cheap foods offered by these local restaurants, the communal environment they provide is another feature of its local flavor.
Unlike hotel restaurants and other eateries, where local forms of noisy gist and association among customers are limited or virtually nonexistent, safe for the people who came to dine – commonly dubbed elites, guy men, oyibo person meaning western cultured person, white collar workers and the likes.
It is a common occurrence to see people from various destinations meeting, eating and bonding in these local restaurants as they discuss native issues which bother them.
These discussion could range from family to work to entertainment and financial tips but most of the times politics and state of the economy dominates the topic of discussion.
The passion could be seen in these Nigerians airing their views while waiting to be served or after eating their foods or even between meals.
A lot of information, a lot of knowledge, economic and political problems as well as their solutions are shared amongst these Nigerians.
My thoughts are that the government of the day could possibly learn one or two solutions to economic problems if they are present at these discussions.
Most often, the discussions ends with them parting one another on the back, encouraging themselves while looking forward with hope to a better Nigeria.
Another highlight of these local restaurants is the unofficial credit facility which they run, an indication of the love and care Nigerians have towards one another.
Most of the patronizers of these local eateries are low income earners and it would not come as a surprise that they could be cash struck at times.
Well with the local eateries, not having money does not translate to not eating because they shop owners are ready to give you free meals as long as you pay up on the said date.
Suffice to say that these highlights cut across various ethnic, political and religious divides.
Whenever I consider the happenings in these local eateries, the more convinced I am about the unity of Nigeria. We should not allow religious and ethnic sentiments tear us apart.
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