Kilishi is meat. There, now that I’ve stated the obvious let me explain why it is such a delicacy in Nigeria, at least for we who are proudly fiercely NOT vegetarian. What’s the opposite of vegetarian by the way? Meatetarian? Carnivore just sounds wrong somehow.
Now one reason Kilishi is such a treat —at least for me— is because it is associated with happy memories. You see, because it is mostly made in the North, the only time I could get some was when my dad returned from a trip up north.
Tasting Kilishi is a bit like the wait, an initial pause where you just going through the motions and then it hits you. A burst of flavour, rich, smoky, hot (it’s not for the faint of heart), everything meat should be, exactly like a homecoming.
Anyway, some time’s gone by, I now live up North and so I thought why not hunt the memory (and the taste, especially the taste) down. Find the source of all that meaty delight.
So after plenty consultation and a lot of wrong stops (lemme just say that I have no sympathy for people who spoil the taste of meat with seasoning, they should be flogged), I finally found the best Kilishi in Abuja.
Actually the best two. You see that’s life, strike out all week and hit two home runs in one try. On the strength of a good source, I tracked the meat to Shagalinku, a well-known restaurant located in Garki. So there I was strolling out in praying that I had finally got the real deal when this lady approaches me. She apparently likes their Kilishi at Shagalinku but is of the opinion that the one at Area One Shopping Complex is as good if not better.
Fortunately, it is on my way home, so I stop by and that’s where I found it. Heaven. Kilishi Heaven. Just behind the mall, in an alfresco setting, nestled in sprawling kiosks is a hundred metric tonnes of Kilishi. Or what looked like it. Perhaps a bit dazed, or in meat shock, I walked straight ahead looking neither left nor right till I reached one kiosk.
Upon arrival, the shop owner cut a strip and handed it to me, I obliged and ate it. It was good. You could taste everything, the marinating had been done right, and you could almost taste every individual flavour. I bought some and left for home. And when I got there I found the kind lady was right, Shagalinku’s was just as good. So now I’m conflicted, I’m leaning towards the one from the mall because of its visual appeal but really they’re both really good.
So there you have it, not one but two really good spots to get your meat fix. If you think I’ve missed a trick, and you think there’s better Kilishi to be had somewhere in Abuja, let me know through the comment section.