>> African Chop | Eat the World Los Angeles

Friday 11 December 2020

African Chop

In better times. Photo courtesy of African Chop.

๐Ÿ“ Various locations, check with vendor for schedule
๐Ÿฅค No Alcohol

EDITOR'S NOTE: This meal from late 2020 was purchased from their space in the Fashion District downtown. As of April 2023, the truck is back on the streets. An updated version of this article (08 March 2024) is available as part of the Historical section of our Substack page. Check that out here:

While Cameroon might be designated as part of central Africa when regions are described, many of its foods have a lot in common with west African countries, especially its neighbor Nigeria. There are of course regional differences in the country, but a good chunk of the population lives in the corridor between its most populous city Douala on the coast and inland Bamenda, all places fairly close to the border.

For those that have traveled through any countries in West Africa, and especially those with the remnants of English language left behind from colonial times, the name of this business gives away the soul. The word "chop" is either a verb meaning to eat or a noun that comes close to meaning "snack."

The pandemic's near-elimination of office building use has forced African Chop back to a similar situation as when they began back in 2017, taking online orders for pickup on certain days. They are now situated downtown in the Fashion District and for the time being their beautiful truck seen above is taking a break. That truck was the delicious fruition of all the time they spent doing stands at events and their own pop-up dinners.

Thankfully the food is just as tasty as it was when they started getting some big attention around town and hopefully this new operation sustains them until we can all get outside, breath, and stand in lines for delicious food truck fare once again. The offerings are narrowed down to their bread and butter items, the chicken, beef and fish combos as well as a black bean vegan option. The fish combo ($15, above) is wild mackerel dried and grilled, along with a generous portion of their wonderful jollof rice, spinach, and fried plantains, all three of which come with any order.

Jollof rice is cooked all at once with a bit of pepper, lots of tomato, and other ingredients to the chef's taste like onion, garlic, and salt. There are competitions between countries and even popular songs denouncing other's jollof as tasting funny. Entering this playing field from a neutral perspective is a wonderful thing as pretty much all jollof is great from Sรฉnรฉgal to Cameroon.

Suya (soya) is skewered beef that is grilled by vendors on the street, much of which takes place at night and lifts clouds of smoke over areas with a lot of markets. Here the suya combo ($15, above) is served in the same spirit, spicy and smoky beef is expertly grilled and always comes with African Chop's famous pepper sauce. Be careful with this but go wild at the same time, it is so good.

To calm the taste buds, save bites of the fried sweet plantains and spinach, which sits in for huckleberry leaves to recreate the dish of njama njama. You can sometimes find this spiked with cayenne pepper, but here there might just be a little paprika and it works well paired with spicier meats. 
A deep fryer may not be available at their new kitchen, but if you ever see puff-puffs on their menu, grab some of this sweetened fried dough for dessert!

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