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Culture & Trends

West African cuisine takes the spotlight on YouTube

  • By Christin Parcerisa + Culture & Trends team
  • Contributor
  • Apr.12.2021
West African cuisine takes the spotlight on YouTube
Creators are hosting mukbangs with fufu and egusi.

Food videos never fail to impress, and the mukbang trend, which features creators eating large amounts of food, just got tastier. Since January, African American creators have shared with viewers their experience of tasting West African food (mostly Nigerian) for the first time. Fufu and egusi are two of these spicy, traditional dishes making the rounds. And creators haven’t failed to take us along for the delicious ride. 


How does it feel on the tongue? What texture does it have? How does it smell? These videos are such a descriptive trip via all five senses. And the proof is in the fufu: Videos related to mukbangs with "fufu" or "egusi" in the title have been viewed over 25 million times this year to date (January - March 2021).

How it started 


At the beginning of the year, TikToker Joeneen Hull published a video trying these dishes, and it wasn’t long before the terms "fufu" and "egusi" began flooding YouTube. 


Several videos began passing the 1 million views mark, including GOTDAMN ZO’s, Vlogs by DK4L and Tae AND Lou’s


And the trend just keeps growing: Views of videos related to mukbang with "fufu" or "egusi" in the title have increased over 100X during January-March 2021, when compared to the same period last year.


What are fufu and egusi?


If you’re suddenly craving a mouthful of these spicy dishes, here are some facts you should know. 


Fufu is a dough made from boiled and pounded starchy fruits or roots, such as plantains, cassava, or taro. The dish reportedly originated in Ghana, but it’s also popular across West Africa. If you plan to try it, know that it’s pretty sticky. So you’ll want to take a small piece of it, shape it like a little spoon and then scoop on the egusi. 


Egusi is a Nigerian soup made with seeds of the same name. It usually includes leafy vegetables and meat -- with goat being the most popular. 


The novelty factor


The novelty of tasting African food for Black creators comes from both the connection and distance between these two cultures. Many creators lack familiarity with how to eat it. They’re unsure of  how to dip their fingers in the plate, knead the fufu with their hands, or even swallow without chewing it. The trend has given creators of various backgrounds and ethnicities (like emmymade) the chance to connect with African culture through food. 


Because food is much more than just its ingredients. It’s a window into history, emotions and traditions.