>> Burkindi | Eat the World NYC

18 November 2019

Burkindi

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As reported on two years ago, the cuisine of Burkina Faso is not new to Newark, New Jersey.  The past five years have also seen two other Burkinab茅 sources of food open as well a bit further south. The first, in the back of a grocery that has expanded on Lyons Avenue has remained unfortunately elusive in finding the right time to visit, while the other is a full scale restaurant that has dedicated hours and plenty of seats and tables.

First mentioned on the pages of EIT, Burkindi restaurant is perhaps the easiest way to get acquainted with the food of the country, cycling dishes that you may not find even at Zoodo. If you have ever explored the carbs of West Africa and enjoyed the pounded starch dishes like fufu, you will enjoy t么, the most common starch served in Burkina Faso. These dense balls or flat cakes can be made of millet, sorghum, or corn, but all are used as a vehicle like fufu for dipping or scooping and require the right technique.


Two year old Burkindi serves t么, but not all the time or every day. As with many West African eateries, it is best to get a lay of the land from the chef when you walk in rather than seeing everything on the menu first. This will instruct in what direction your cravings should head at any particular time.

Before sitting down, take a peek through the window that separates the kitchen from the dining room. This is a pleasure not only to enjoy the scenes of large cauldrons cooking the days sauces (a West African description of soups and stews, the dishes to pair with your t么 or rice), but also necessary to speak with the chefs to see what is ready. During this visit, the boiling vat of sauce arachide, a peanut stew that would eventually be combined with meat, was about 90 minutes from being ready.


Les poissons ($15, above), the French word for fish, are easy to prepare and almost always available if they have the stock. These are fried whole and served with your choice of a side dish, here shown with alloco or fried sweet plantains. The meaty fish speaks for itself without sauces or spicing, just a few uncooked vegetables sprinkled on top for decoration.

Bites of this pair very nicely with their delicious riz gras (below, right), what they call the well known jollof rice eaten in Burkina Faso. On this order it was plated with dibi ($15, below, left), whole chunks of grilled lamb with minimal seasoning. Here at Burkindi they rely much less on the mustard and vinegar-infused onion sauce that is usually heaped on the meat and instead serve it with a mild mustard on the side. The darker sauce in the rear is delicious but all fire and should be used with caution.


The more you settle into Burkindi, the friendlier it becomes, as the food translates to smiles across your face and the staff and other Burkinab茅 patrons keep asking "Did you like our food?" There is of course only one answer to this question, but thankfully it is no lie. The food is delicious, and as it always is, this will be the easiest part of life to share with folks you may not have anything else in common with.

For references to the country, there are hand drawn maps of Burkina Faso and also of Africa, and large photos of important places. The bright green and yellow walls still seem like they are freshly painted, similar to the feeling on this stretch of recently improved Clinton Avenue, which just seems a bit more crisp than the surrounding streets.


While waiting for your meals to arrive, grab some of their homemade drinks in the back including this yogurt ($4) and zoom koom ($3), a ginger delight that is spicy but sweetened by pineapple and sugar. The yogurt is also sweet, and very thick, perfect if you plan to use a lot of the fiery sauce.

Stepping back outside after such a good meal, a return was already desired. Maybe next time a little later in the afternoon or at night to make sure more options are available, but either way much more deliciousness will be waiting.

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Burkindi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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