"The world was silent except for the shrill cry of insects, which was part of the night, and the sound of wooden mortar and pestle as Nwayieke pounded her foo-foo," writes Chinua Achebe in his 1959 novel Things Fall Apart. He is describing a scene as basic to traditional Nigerian life as the beat of the udu drum -- the pounding of yams into the glutinous mass known as foo-foo or fufu. African Variety Food Store offers big beautiful yams for those with time and energy to pound. For others, this purveyor of West African goods sells a powdered form of yam (as well as cassava and plantain) that can be whipped up in minutes into a delicious mound of fufu for dipping in soups. The smell of dried fish pervades the establishment, which is tucked amid Chinese businesses in a sprawling strip mall. In addition to the desiccated cod, shrimp and bony bonga fish, one can find cans of palm oil, melon seeds, and a variety of herbs and vegetables that provide the city's thriving African population with tastes of home.