Every day there's a new trend taking over the internet. The latest TikTok trend to go viral is the #FufuChallenge, where TikTokers record themselves trying our beloved fufu and egusi soup for the first time. Although I am Ethiopian, I can say "our" because I spent the better part of my childhood living in Nigeria and let's just say fufu has played it's part in shaping this body oddy oddy! The West African staple is common in many African countries including Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Benin and several Caribbean countries too. There have been mixed reactions from Africans watching videos of Americans tasting this delicacy.
While many videos seem to show individuals having their tastebuds tantalized, Twitter users took to the platform to express their disappointment by calling out those participants who recorded themselves tasting and spitting out the fufu. Many have deemed the challenge unnecessary and disrespectful to African cultures.
There are many variations of fufu which can be made from yam, cassava or cornmeal with the preparation typically depending on the region. What remains the same regardless of location, is the pure joy that one feels when eating fufu. Egusi soup is a scrumptious soup made from egusi seeds which are the fat and protein-rich seeds of certain plants like squash, melon and gourd. It is served atop fufu, rice, cooked vegetables or grilled meat, such as goat, chicken, beef or fish. Before preparing the egusi soup, the seeds are sun-dried, shelled, and ground plain or roasted before being grounded. Other soup ingredients may include tomato, onion, chili pepper and cooking oil, such as palm oil.
Undoubtedly, the best part of this challenge is the business that is being generated for African restaurants, especially with the negative impact that quarantine has had on many small businesses. As TikTokers record themselves picking up their food, several of the locations have been shown to have long lines and lengthy wait times as a result of all the orders they have been receiving. For many customers, the wait was worth it as their tastebuds shaku shaku into a world of flavor they have never experienced before.
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Just some final notes to consider if you are going to try this delicacy for the first time. What might just be a trend to you is in fact a staple for many African countries with an incredibly rich history and significance. So, while you set up your camera and prepare to take the first bite of the rest of your life, you better put some respect on fufu and egusi!