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Last week, I got a call from my cousin, Ifunanya and while we were discussing, she blurted out that she’s not only tasted Amala but that she was in love with it. I knew she is a picky eater so I was curious to know what prompted her food adventure. She laughed and said she would put it in writing and review the Amala restaurant for me. My family actually knows me and my review demands too well. I laughingly thanked her. Then, I congratulated her for joining the league of full Lagosians. My people, here’s her story and her review of Olaiya Foods:

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I’ll begin this review by stating that I’m a full-blooded Igbo girl who’s lived almost all her life in the South-Eastern part of the country; you could say I was born and buttered there. As expected, I mostly ate and enjoyed only Igbo food and turned up my nose at most meals from other ethnic groups. Amala and ewedu was one of such meals. I found it visually unappealing and I never believed I would ever eat it, talk more of enjoying it.

Fast forward to March 2022. Work took me to Lagos. In the Centre of Excellence, I continued my personal tradition of taking my lunch from home to work. But on days when I couldn’t, I always bought rice from one of the vendors contracted by the company. One fateful day, I left home without my meal and was tied up at work till lunch break was almost over. I felt so hungry that I was literally positive that I would expire from hunger if I didn’t have food as soon as possible. I hurried down to the canteen with my colleague, Segun who worked with me. There, the vendor informed us that the only meal available at the time was Amala. I reluctantly asked them to dish it up with the soup.

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I steeled myself and had the first taste. It was unexpectedly nice and I said so to my colleague who’s Yoruba. He laughed and said, “Ify, you know we have different classes of cooks. This one is just regular. Please don’t judge our Amala with this one”. I told him that I would love to try the upgraded version. He laughingly mentioned three excellent Amala spots on the mainland.

Two weeks later, I visited a friend and he decided to treat me to lunch. I assumed we would go to any of the fast foods around but he drove us to Olaiya Foods, one of the most popular amala joints mentioned by my colleague, Segun. According to my friend, this restaurant has consistently provided Lagosians with tasty meals for decades. It was renovated recently. The trendy look enhanced the upgrade from Bukka to Restaurant. Aside from being more comfortable and relaxing, this catering service’s adaptability and resilience show their determination to stay afloat in the ever-changing sea of the hospitality world. Olaiya Foods is strategically located. It is spacious and clean. Customers place their orders at the counter and then wait to pick them up and carry them to their seats.

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Olaiya Foods has a variety of meals on their menu but they’re popularly known for their Amala. The restaurant was packed full at the time of our visit. I noted with interest that all the customers eating there at the time were having Amala. When my partner and I got our own, we took it to a free table and made ourselves comfortable. My first taste of the food blew me away. I literally looked at the food and all I could say was wow! Wow!! Wow!!!. Oh yeah, it was that good. I ate with relish till the very last morsel. The meal was pure bliss; it was hot, spicy and very delicious. Even the meat was well spiced and tasty. Did I mention that it was surprisingly affordable too? Well, it was. Amala, Ewedu and Gbegiri Soup and six pieces of meat cost me just one thousand eight hundred naira. We paid cash for our meals but some other customers paid via P.O.S or bank transfers.

The staff were neatly dressed and efficient. However, the servers need to address customers more politely. This should be a cardinal rule in the service industry because customers are the life of the business. Parking was also a bit of a challenge but the good food makes up for it.

In conclusion, Olaiya Foods is still one of the most remarkable Amala spots in Surulere. At least, this Igbo girl thinks so.

Featured Image Source: Olaiya FOODS LEKKI
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This article was first published on 2nd August 2022


Udevi, Obiamaka Angela holds a Master of Arts degree in History & International Studies. She's a freelance writer with a passion for food and healthy living. She can be contacted through her email address,

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