Feed your soul in New York
From Ethiopian macchiatos to Ghanaian prints, East and West African influences are all the rage in New York City.
SENGELESE COMFORT FOOD
Chef, restaurateur, and cookbook author Pierre Thiam’s latest eatery, Teranga, specialises in hearty West African foods, from rich “market plates” to flavoursome super bowls. Opened this year, the spacious café is located at Central Park’s northeast corner in Harlem. Thiam, originally from Senegal, has created his menu around superfoods like baobab, fonio, moringa, and red rice. As a bonus, all dishes are gluten- and dairy-free.
“Our customers are women who want to take up space. They want to be seen, and they want to be heard,” says Sandra Zhao in her small shop, Zuri, which is filled with crisp cotton dresses in dazzling, vibrant prints. Zhao co-founded Zuri two years ago in Manhattan’s West Village with Ashleigh Miller, who is based in Kenya. Zuri’s dresses and straight-cut blouses feature fabrics from Ghana, Nigeria, and Senegal among other African countries. Zuri ensures that fabric designers and the manufacturer in Kenya are paid fairly for their work.
In Ethiopian culture, coffee is all about community, and the three Buunni Coffee joints in the city channel this same spirit, attracting neighbourhood writers, artists, and families. Co-owner Elias Gurmu, originally from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, knows the coffee industry from both continents. Buunni’s house blend is a mix of Ethiopian, Latin, and Caribbean coffee beans; all other brews are single origin Ethiopian. In addition to espresso drinks – the Ethiopian macchiato should not be missed – customers can buy Yirgacheffe, Limu, and Sidama beans, for home brewing.
LUNCH ON WHEELS
Since hitting the New York City streets in 2017, the bright yellow Makina food truck has earned a loyal lunchtime following. Eden Gebre Egziabher, originally from Ethiopia and of Eritrean decent, commandeers all aspects of Makina with a mission to expose the city’s eaters to her tasty childhood cuisine. Some tweaks have been made, using olive oil instead of butter, but Egziabher assures the taste remains authentic. Regulars know Makina’s daily locations, newbies can check social media for updates.
3 X DRINKS OUT OF THIS WORLD
BONKERS FOR BOABAB
Made from the hanging fruits of the Baobab tree, Bouye is a typical Senegalese drink rich in antioxidants. With a touch of coconut milk, Teranga’s Bouye has a creamy, tropical taste.
Ginjan Café’s gingery ginjan drink, created by two brothers originally from Guinea where ginger drinks are everywhere, has hints of pineapple, lemon, vanilla, and anise.
MORINGA OVER MATCHA
Senegal’s answer to matcha is moringa. Teranga makes hot and iced moringa lattes, which though caffeine-free, are said to energise
Text Nina Roberts
Photos Nina Roberts and Courtesy of Teranga