Sunday, 7 May 2017

Ewa Aganyin : Popular Lagos Street Food

A first-time visitor to Lagos is sure to be welcomed with shouts from young ladies with small pots and plastic containers on their head calling for customers to buy their delicious 'Ewa Aganyin'.

Ewa Aganyin is a popular street food in Lagos and not many people prepare it at home. For Remi, a delighted customer, she says: "Home-cooked Ewa Aganyin never tastes as good as the one on the street." Vendors of the delicacy usually walk around in groups, with accompanying bread.

The beans is cooked until really soft and usually served mashed and served with special stew, mainly made of palm oil, pepper, onions and seasoning.

Moji, who sells Ewa Aganyin, says most people don't like beans that much, but they become addicted when they begin to eat the delicacy. "I have been selling this dish for the past five years and have never regretted it. With this business I have been able to cater for my parents and younger ones. To be precise, I inherited this business from my mother, though she started it late because we moved to Lagos some years ago. After looking for petty jobs without much success, I decided to take over from my mum when she fell ill."

Moji explained that the business has sustained her family and kept her busy. She also testifies that there is great profit in the business, which is experiencing fast-rising popularity at the moment. "I started off by cooking just two mudus of beans but today I cook up six to seven mudus. I used to take it out myself on my head to hawk but today people come to me in the house to buy and place orders.

Lagos is a very busy place so many people do not have the time and energy to prepare their meals and have breakfast before they leave for work. I get orders a day before from workers; they pick it on their way to work. Ewa Aganyin is filling and energizing, I guess that is why they always want it in the mornings."

Many have said this tasty dish is the perfect way for those who do not like beans to enjoy it. A customer who simply gave his name as Ifeanyi, while having his share of the tasty dish, said "I had never liked beans until I tasted this, and since then I have been hooked.
I first tasted it at my place of work when a colleague offered me and since them I make sure I have my fill every morning as I can never get enough of Ewa Aganyin. It's not something common in our culture but because of the way it is cooked, and the spicy stew that comes with it, I have been able to introduce it to my siblings. My sister enjoys it with bread. She has tried to learn to cook it but never gets it right, so has rested her case by just buying it from the experts."

Kafayat Olusola, a banker, is also an Ewa Aganyin enthusiast, and she says it is something she has always enjoyed from childhood. "So it is routine for me. Most times if I don't have it in the morning I make sure I buy takeout and save it up for evening. This meal is one that makes Lagos unique."

Ewa Aganyin is an affordable meal, with three small servings selling for twenty naira. To get a satisfying meal, one would need to buy a hundred naira's worth, though. There is also an option of toppings like beef, fish or kpomo.

"Ewa" means Beans in Yoruba language, while "Aganyin" is a term used to describe people from neighboring countries such as Benin republic "Cotonu" and Togo, who came into Nigeria to settle as far back as the 60s, hence the name, which simply means "Beans of the Aganyin people". It's not uncommon to find "Aganyin" women carrying their iron pots on their heads hawking the delicacy on the streets of Lagos. It is a very oil dish, but those who enjoy it agree that it is definitely worth the extra calories.

So when next you are in Lagos and see a long queue with the lady who is the focal point shouting out to customers to come and buy Ewa Aganyin, you just might want to join the queue and give your taste buds a treat.

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