Ngoma is a pan-African restaurant that serves specialties from all over the continent and discourages the use of silverware. In fact, it is the only pan-African restaurant in LA, which is rather exciting.
The service was extremely friendly and happy to explain the dishes. I didn't feel intimidated at all, even though the food was new to me. The food is inexpensive and generously portioned. The most exciting thing, in addition to having permission to eat a messy, saucy chicken dish with my hands, was my discovery of a delightfully gooey ball of stuff called fufu. Its consistency reminds me of mochi, though it's not as gooey, and it's not a dessert item. According to my research, fufu is commonly eaten in sub-Saharan Western and Central Africa. "It is a starchy accompaniment for stews or other dishes with sauce. You tear off a bite-sized piece of the fufu, shape it into a ball, make an indentation in it, and use it to scoop up the soup or stew or sauce, or whatever you're eating. In Western Africa, Fufu is usually made from yams, sometimes combined with plantains. In Central Africa, fufu is often made from cassava tubers. Other fufu-like foods, Liberia's dumboy for example, are made from cassava flour. Fufu can also be made from semolina, rice, or even instant potato flakes or Bisquick. All over Africa, making fufu involves boiling, pounding, and vigorous stirring until the fufu is thick and smooth." Click here for source and recipes.
The restaurant was fairly empty and quiet, with low lighting and more than ample space between the tables--great for a private conversation. If you want to take a foodie date somewhere off the beaten path, Ngoma is a great choice.
5358 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Cross Street: Detroit Avenue
Hours: Tue.-Thu., 11AM.-10 PM; Fri. 11:00 am-11:00 PM; Sat. 12 Noon AM.-11 PM; Sun.12:00 Noon- 7:00 PM
$6.99 Lunch Special is served from 11:00 AM to 2:30 PM, Tuesday through Friday.