A chef by the name of Rasheed Amedu has started a Nigerian taqueria called Naija Boy Tacos, creating a fusion between West African and Hispanic flavors.
Amedu is from Chicago, but his family originates from Nigeria, so food ranging from plantains to chicken stew with fufu has always been a staple to his family.
Just starting out in the restaurant industry, Amedu was a former prep and line cook at The Boiler Room in Chicago. Since moving to Sacramento, he has been the former sous chef at Urban Roots Brewing & Smokehouse, the former chef at 18 Grams Coffee Roasters, the former sous chef of TableVine, and has cooked for Kru Contemporary Japanese Cuisine.
A few years ago, Amedu was only beginning to think about tacos with some type of Nigerian influence.
After taste testing and solidifying his ideas, Naija Boy Tacos was born.
“I just wanted a Nigerian taqueria where I take the proteins that I was eating as a kid and do something as simple as putting them on in a tortilla,” Amedu said.
At first, he was doing Taco Tuesday pop-up deals at bars and restaurants like Ro Sham Beaux, The Snug, and Bottle & Barlow. These initial pop-ups almost served as a test to Amedu to see how his audience would respond, and they wanted more.
Fast forward to today, Amedu has been operating from a food truck surrounded by Sac City Stems vibrant plants as well as communal benches and tables to bring the community together over the love and fusion of cuisine and culture.
“It’s kind of mind-blowing to some people, and that was really the whole goal of wanting to do it,” Amedu said. “I wanted to package it a certain way so people can understand it, right? It’s a taco, but the things that are inside of it are different or foreign to them, and my goal is to get people kind of hooked on those flavors.”
Being that Naija Boy Tacos is the first ever West African taqueria in Sacramento, Amedu feels proud and inspired, especially since the African community in the Sacramento area has shown a lot of support.
“I’m sharing my upbringing and my culture with the neighborhood and I just want to like give back and show people what the culture is like and what I’m about,” Amedu said. “We need more representation for people that look like me in spaces where there’s not a lot of people that look like me.”
Amedu has curated a menu for Naija Boy Tacos consisting of tacos with chicken stew, beef stew, mushroom shawarma, curry goat, and seasonal veggie suya.
Although facing staffing issues and the long process of permitting, Amedu is almost there with the full opening of Naija Boy Tacos happening in a few weeks!
In the near future, Amedu wants to get Naija Boy Tacos in a brick-and-mortar, but for now, he’s preparing for the opening and is excited for people to come by.
Naija Boy Tacos is located on 628 15th Street in Sacramento. Check out Naija Boy Tacos’s website at www.NaijaBoyTacos.com to view the menu, place an order, and even get merchandise.