This story is part of an ongoing series in honor of Black History Month on the diversity, roots and evolution of Black cooking and cuisine in America.
If ever there was evidence that West African food is hitting the mainstream in America, it’s the fact that fufu videos are blowing up on Tik Tok. A staple throughout countries like Ghana and Nigeria, fufu — which means mash or mix — is a stretchy, doughy food made from boiled and pounded starch like yam, plantains or cassava.
But for Lookman Afolayan, chef and owner of BUKA in Brooklyn, New York, West African cuisine isn’t some trend to be chased. The 53-year-old Nigeria-born chef opened his restaurant in 2009, well before there was Tik Tok. For him, the food of his homeland is like music.
“Do you see the