Tuwo and Suya and Egusi, Oh My!

Despite Houston's wealth of ethnic food -- and even its wealth of African food -- eating Nigerian cuisine can be intimidating. Unfamiliar words, unfamiliar ingredients and unfamiliar foodstuffs all combine to make for a potentially confusing meal.

We're here to help.

This week's cafe review of Suya Hut, one of Houston's best examples of Nigerian food and one of its most accessible, is meant to encourage exploration of the cuisine. To that end, it offers helpful hints on ordering and eating the food.

But a condensed version could easily go like this:

  • Bring a table of friends.
  • Order some suya. It's really spicy, so get some beer, too.
  • Also order a bowl of egusi soup and some cassava tuwo, if they have it.
  • Eat the suya off the stick. If you ordered it with jollof rice and plantains, all the better.
  • Pinch pieces of your doughy tuwo off the main ball of pounded cassava and use it to eat the soup.
  • Triumph!

It's the best kind of meal: one that encourages personal interaction with your tablemates and one that makes you work just a little bit for your food -- the Nigerian equivalent of a crawfish boil, if you will. And it's just as spicy, too.

If that's piqued your curiosity about Suya Hut, read the review and then check out this behind-the-scenes slideshow to see exactly how those suya and tuwo come to be. Then grab a couple of friends and head south to Missouri City.

Follow Eating Our Words on Facebook and on Twitter @EatingOurWords

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Katharine Shilcutt