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A dessert at Indigo. Photo courtesy Indigo.

Every Houston Restaurant Marcus Samuelsson Visits on ‘No Passport Required’

Where to find pepper soup, suya, jollof rice, and more

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A dessert at Indigo. Photo courtesy Indigo.

Houston is often called the most diverse city in America, and the influence of immigrant communities has a huge impact on its food. In Houston, most of the West African population is Nigerian, but people, and ingredients, from Senegal, Liberia, Ghana, and other countries in the region also continue to make their mark on the local food scene. Popular dishes found in Houston range from suya and jollof rice to peanut soup and plenty of other stews.

West African food is the foundation of soul food; foodways and traditions came to America through the slave trade and can be traced through the dishes — from jollof rice came jambalaya, and grits share a history with fufu.

In this map, find all the restaurants mentioned on the “Houston” episode of No Passport Required, and watch the episode here. And find all episodes from seasons 1 and 2 on PBS.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Wazobia African Market

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16203 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77082
(832) 230-3893
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Samuelsson visits Wazobia Market to learn about a variety of soups, tribal foods, and dishes like jollof rice. He checks out preserved fish, goat heads, and different kinds of bottled sauces.

A row of vegetables in the produce section inside the market.

2. Safari Restaurant

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10014 Bissonnet St
Houston, TX 77036
(713) 541-4436
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One of the first Nigerian restaurants in Houston, Safari is a family-run operation. Samuelsson learns how to make fufu, a staple dish made from boiled and mashed yam, with owner Margaret “Safari” Jason. He eats it alongside a stew with okra, bonefish, and goat.

The sign outside Safari.

3. Suya Hut

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11720 W Airport Blvd #1600
Meadows Place, TX 77477
(281) 265-1411

Samuelsson visits Suya Hut, where he learns that these marinated chicken and beef skewers originate in northern Nigeria, but that they’re eaten across the country. The host makes suya with chef and owner Patricia Nyan and shares a meal inside the restaurant.

The restaurant’s sign on the awning outside Suya Hut.

4. Jolly Jolly Bakery

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6275 S Texas 6
Houston, TX 77083
(281) 530-9777
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Owners James and Jolly Onobun came to Houston from Nigeria in 1981. Nigeria has a big bread culture, and the Onobuns’ bakery, Jolly Jolly, has been in its current location for about eight years. In addition to bread, the Onobuns serve a small menu of other things, such as Scotch eggs — which gained popularity in Nigeria due to the British influence on the country’s cuisine during colonization.

The red-lettered Suya Hut sign outside the restaurant.

5. Taste of Nigeria

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5959 Richmond Ave #160
Houston, TX 77057
(713) 589-9055
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In Houston’s Galleria neighborhood, Taste of Nigeria owners Oye and Tiffaney Odewale wanted to create a restaurant that served the city’s entire West African community, not just Nigeria-born Nigerians, as well as people who are interested about learning more about West African cuisine. Employees come from across West Africa, not just Nigeria, and the influences show on the menu. Samuelsson learns to make ceebu jen (stewed fish served with rice and vegetables) and enjoys a catfish pepper soup.

The sign outisde Taste of Nigera.

6. Indigo

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517 Berry Rd
Houston, TX 77022
(832) 582-6388
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Chef Jonathan Rhodes’s restaurant, Indigo, focuses on the history of soul food. As Rhodes puts it, “If you’re going to have soul food authentically, you have to have it from an authentic area, because soul food isn’t made from rich ingredients, it’s made from leftovers and things that are passed down and overlooked.” At Indigo, he cooks dishes like dry-aged pheasant filled with jollof rice, as well as candied yams with smoked pecan butter, granola, and torched marshmallows.

The horseshoe-shaped tasting menu bar inside Indigo. Courtesy Indigo

7. Cafeza

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1720 Houston Ave
Houston, TX 77007
(832) 203-8016
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In this episode, chef and founder Ope Amosu brings his pop-up ChopnBlok to Cafeza. ChopnBlok is a West African fast-casual restaurant inspired by African street food; Amosu says the pop-up provides “contemporary renditions of West African cuisine” to Houston. For Samuelsson, Amosu cooks black-eyed pea fritters with kelewele (fried plantains) and a jambalaya made with jollof rice.

The patio outside the restaurant.

1. Wazobia African Market

16203 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77082
A row of vegetables in the produce section inside the market.

Samuelsson visits Wazobia Market to learn about a variety of soups, tribal foods, and dishes like jollof rice. He checks out preserved fish, goat heads, and different kinds of bottled sauces.

16203 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77082

2. Safari Restaurant

10014 Bissonnet St, Houston, TX 77036
The sign outside Safari.

One of the first Nigerian restaurants in Houston, Safari is a family-run operation. Samuelsson learns how to make fufu, a staple dish made from boiled and mashed yam, with owner Margaret “Safari” Jason. He eats it alongside a stew with okra, bonefish, and goat.

10014 Bissonnet St
Houston, TX 77036

3. Suya Hut

11720 W Airport Blvd #1600, Meadows Place, TX 77477
The restaurant’s sign on the awning outside Suya Hut.

Samuelsson visits Suya Hut, where he learns that these marinated chicken and beef skewers originate in northern Nigeria, but that they’re eaten across the country. The host makes suya with chef and owner Patricia Nyan and shares a meal inside the restaurant.

11720 W Airport Blvd #1600
Meadows Place, TX 77477

4. Jolly Jolly Bakery

6275 S Texas 6, Houston, TX 77083
The red-lettered Suya Hut sign outside the restaurant.

Owners James and Jolly Onobun came to Houston from Nigeria in 1981. Nigeria has a big bread culture, and the Onobuns’ bakery, Jolly Jolly, has been in its current location for about eight years. In addition to bread, the Onobuns serve a small menu of other things, such as Scotch eggs — which gained popularity in Nigeria due to the British influence on the country’s cuisine during colonization.

6275 S Texas 6
Houston, TX 77083

5. Taste of Nigeria

5959 Richmond Ave #160, Houston, TX 77057
The sign outisde Taste of Nigera.

In Houston’s Galleria neighborhood, Taste of Nigeria owners Oye and Tiffaney Odewale wanted to create a restaurant that served the city’s entire West African community, not just Nigeria-born Nigerians, as well as people who are interested about learning more about West African cuisine. Employees come from across West Africa, not just Nigeria, and the influences show on the menu. Samuelsson learns to make ceebu jen (stewed fish served with rice and vegetables) and enjoys a catfish pepper soup.

5959 Richmond Ave #160
Houston, TX 77057

6. Indigo

517 Berry Rd, Houston, TX 77022
The horseshoe-shaped tasting menu bar inside Indigo. Courtesy Indigo

Chef Jonathan Rhodes’s restaurant, Indigo, focuses on the history of soul food. As Rhodes puts it, “If you’re going to have soul food authentically, you have to have it from an authentic area, because soul food isn’t made from rich ingredients, it’s made from leftovers and things that are passed down and overlooked.” At Indigo, he cooks dishes like dry-aged pheasant filled with jollof rice, as well as candied yams with smoked pecan butter, granola, and torched marshmallows.

517 Berry Rd
Houston, TX 77022

7. Cafeza

1720 Houston Ave, Houston, TX 77007
The patio outside the restaurant.

In this episode, chef and founder Ope Amosu brings his pop-up ChopnBlok to Cafeza. ChopnBlok is a West African fast-casual restaurant inspired by African street food; Amosu says the pop-up provides “contemporary renditions of West African cuisine” to Houston. For Samuelsson, Amosu cooks black-eyed pea fritters with kelewele (fried plantains) and a jambalaya made with jollof rice.

1720 Houston Ave
Houston, TX 77007

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