Is it lunch time yet?
How about now?
Hope you’re near an Amala joint or can get to one quickly after seeing those pictures. Amala, our national Yoruba dish. Made from Yam flour, the mere sight of it evokes hunger pangs, and nostalgia for those of us far far from Ibile. It is much talked about within Nigerian foodie circles. Some people claim to be put off by its dark colour. When I was growing up you were not fully Yoruba until some non-Yoruba Nigerian had tried to insult you using Amala! Lol.. ” black like amala” ” Amala eating – (insert insult)” etc etc They were just jealous of course.
But none can dispute its status as the champion among the Nigerian “swallow” foods, otherwise known as okele ( food ball) variety of traditional food. Jamie Oliver may eventually get to colonise Jollof Rice but he will NEVER be able to replicate Amala in his North West London kitchen!
Well, Amala is set to get its own festival. Oh joy!! The thought of an Amala festival is ecstasy….. Many people don’t know that there are different flavours of Amala. I had the pleasure of eating one sort which was light brown in colour but tasted as if it had some added sugar in it. So delicious. Alas, I was not quite an adult at the time and didn’t think to ask and register what type of amala it was for future reference.
My thoughts are that this Amala festival will serve to give credit to those farmers, and all the diligent people in the food process silently working hard to bring us Amala every day all over the world. Also to explore the many varieties of elubo the Yam flour that forms Amala when it is added frenetically to boiling water. And to showcase the best Amala producing restaurants in the land. I am all for this Amala festival. If there’s any free tasting offered, you can imagine, it may become even bigger than the osun Osogbo festival!! #Awoof
Anyway, here is the press statement that has made me hungry, happy, and homesick all at the same time this morning:
Oyo Govt. unveils Amala festival logo
October 25, 2016
In an effort to promote Yoruba cultural tourism, Oyo State Government, in collaboration with some notable associations, has concluded arrangements to organise Amala Fiesta.
Mr Toye Arulogun, the state Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism on Tuesday in Ibadan publicly presented the Amala Fiesta Logo and Brand Ambassador.
At the event held at the Western Hall, Agodi Secretariat, Mr Gboyega Olatunji, a former aide to Gov. Abiola Ajimobi, was presented as the Amala Fiesta Ambassador.
`Amala’ is the Number One food brand of the Yoruba race.
Amala’ and its complements,Ewedu’ and `Gbegiri’ are a delicacy for occasions of any magnitude associated with Yoruba race.
Arulogun said that the food festival would open opportunities, create employment and promote cultural tourism.
The commissioner said that the three-day fiesta would hold from Dec. 15 to Dec. 17 at the Trans Amusement Park, Bodija, Ibadan.
He said that `Amala’ represented the homogenous nature of Yoruba people, the culture, health and wealth.
“The Yorabas are indigenous to South-West Nigeria, and `Amala’ is not only indigenous to the Yoruba race but symbolic as the commonality and strong bond of a people.
“Amala is the Oyo State’s foremost delicacy which has become a national pride with international presence and worldwide acceptance,’’ he said.
Alhaja Iyadunni Lawal, Proprietress of Iyadunni Food Canteen, Ibadan, said at the occasion that Amala had become a delicacy for all, irrespective of ethnicity, religion and tradition.
Lawal, who represented Canteen Owners’ Association of Nigeria (COAN), Oyo State Chapter, commended the state government for the idea.
Mr Philip Areo, the Vice-President, Tourist Care and Hospitality Association of Nigeria (TCHAN), Oyo State Chapter, noted that `Amala’ consumption had provided employment and promoted food tourism.
“Farmers produced the raw material for Elubo, Gbegiri and Ewedu, while the transformation to edible substance involved many.
“If you look at these processes, it allows more opportunities, more revenue and economic development.
“A lot of my friends come from Lagos every weekend to eat Amala in Ibadan,’’ he said.
The programme is being packaged by the Oyo State Government in collaboration with COAN, TCHAN and Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), Oyo State Chapter.