6 Red Flags To Look Out For In Your Mai Suya

November 12, 2020

Suya is a spicy Nigerian delicacy of grilled meat. However, because it’s grilled meat doesn’t mean you can recreate it easily. It takes years of apprenticeship and upskilling to become a grand suya master.

Everyone has a favourite suya guy, the one that gets everything just right; a delicate mix of the right texture, taste, and spiciness thanks to the open secret of yaji. If anything is missing, sorry, that’s not suya. That’s just grilled meat. Your suya guy or mai suya determines if you get high-quality suya or if you’re just eating heated meat. There are some bright red flags you should look out for when choosing your suya guy.

1. If he opens in the afternoon

Suya? In the afternoon? Anything you see, take it like that.

Suya - Wikiwand

2. If he does not give you tasting

Tasting is the customary practice of the mai suya giving a piece of meat to you the minute you arrive at his stand. This seemingly simple act serves other purposes. First, it is a friendly welcome. Second, it establishes the relationship between you and the mai suya for the purpose of that transaction. It is also a means to gauge how good the suya is and help you determine how much you’re buying, even though you can feel the 200 naira you intended to use to buy the suya pressing against your thigh.

If he doesn’t give you tasting, it means he does not like you. Or it could mean his suya really sucks or he is just bad vibes. Whichever way, look out for this major red flag.

Nigerian suya seller arrested trying to slaughter 4-year-old girl for suya  | aljazirahnews

3. If he doesn’t have a gas lamp

Gas lamps are a signature tool for mai suyas, dating back through time. While many mai suyas are adopting technology and bulbs and rechargeable lamps, the best of them still use the gas lantern. Quote me anywhere.

Suya Fever: See The Reasons Nigerian's Buy and Eat Suya at Night -  Nightlife.ng: Hottest News about Nightlife in Nigeria

4. If the suya burns his hands

With suya, experience is important. If your suya guy is doing “yeeish” when he touches a hot piece of meat, it means his hands are not experienced enough. Not a major red flag, but be on the lookout.

Suya seller pleads guilty to attempted murder of 4-year-old girl | The  Guardian Nigeria News - Nigeria and World NewsNigeria — The Guardian  Nigeria News – Nigeria and World News

5. If there’s nobody at his stand

If he’s alone, not selling suya to anybody, then his suya probably sucks. I don’t make the rules. An ideal crowd of three or four people at the stand is a perfect number. Not too crowded, but enough to know that his market is in demand.

Suya seller at Elegushi Beach at night. Lagos Nigeria stock photo  9121775f-f6f6-4440-8244-fbd564789b4d

6. If he’s not Hausa/Fulani

Suya is a traditional Hausa/Fulani delicacy. Any other tribe attempting to recreate the magnificence will fail woefully at it.

Grilling Suya in Ushafa Village, FCT, Abuja, Nigeria. #JujuFilms | Abuja,  Nigeria, Grilling

Read: Countries You Didn’t Know Had Yoruba People

Olufemi Fadahunsi

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