was visiting a friend over the weekend in DC when I heard some of the house guests talking about Bukom Cafe, the West African chill spot in Adams Morgan DC, on the corner of 18th street across from Tryst Coffee House; “Will you come out with me to this Ghanaian place where they play live reggae music almost all night? Their food is so good!”—-I almost spilled my drink when I overheard that conversation because I had just interviewed Bukom for this series and hearing young people rave about the spot as their nightlife destination was more material to solidify my reviews.
Bukom Café is known as one of Washington, DC’s best spots for live music and good eats. Some of their past and present clients include: DC Mayors, The world bank, Friends of various African Peace Corp, various international organizations in the DC metropolitan area and Universities.
In one adventurous week, I toured the DMV (DC, Maryland & Virginia) interviewing African restaurateurs about their African Triumph (Immigrant) stories as local business owners. A mind blowing experience playing an Anthony Bourdain for a week. This tour venture is a minute effort to get my African people to start telling their own stories because we can’t sleep on our triumphs, we have to continue to shape the diaspora narrative into a positive direction.
If you want to know what a culture is like, it’s easily the food. The restaurateur Justice Matey identifies as both Ghanaian and Nigerian because of his parents’ origins. Bukom Cafe can be said to be a purely West African cuisine dining because their menu selection satisfies the cravings and taste buds of any West African indigen.
In its 25th year at same location in Adams Morgan, Justice says the staple dish there is their “Egusi and Pounded yam” Egusi is made from ground melon seeds, it’s tasty broth is dressed in tender goat meat and spinach in palm oil served with your fufu, pounded yam, or even rice. There is also Jollof rice of course on the menu but he claims that you can’t come asking for “Nigerian or Ghanaian Jollof” but he would rather you request for the “Bukom Jollof” calling Bukom a melting pot and a place welcoming to people from all regions & appreciative of diversity.
On the menu, there is the ECOWAS Okro Soup that is cooked with palm oil and ECOWAS Spice which can be served with your choice of pounded yam or Fufu. For fish lovers, the Red Snapper deep fried served with salad , plantains and rice. For vegetarians, the Vegetarian II which is black eyes peas, Jollof rice, plantains with Bukom Collard greens. The Wache, ox-Tail stew, Chicken Yassa, Cassava Leaves, African Curry chicken are some of the yummy entrees Bukom serves.
The Bukom scene brings a local jazzed up night of live music over delicious meal and specialty drinks like the “Bukom Bomb” which I tried—good for you if you’re looking for a nice strong kicker.
Three things that makes Bukom Bukom is the Live music, the food that reveals the west African cultural vibes and the diversity of the diners.
There is a lot to be said about the possible good touring of African restaurants and writing about not just the food but about the minds behind these establishments. I strongly believe that these stories will be an exposure of the culture and the nature of a people. This generation is the first generation that will really get to know more about their African neighboring nations in the most intimate way because of globalization. Africans are just getting to know each other not to even talk about the western world getting to intimately know us!
Cosmopolitan Millennials in DC also call Bukom their nightlife spot, the Reggae music and the chance to try out eating Banku with their hands on a date (Your date is a keeper if she uses her hands) as one of the customers I spoke to told me, is part of the many reasons Bukom appeals as a good time on any given night!.
When you visit, be sure to mention #TANTV
Bukom Café is located at
2442 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009
The closest Subway or metro rail is Woodley Park- Zoo/Adams Morgan on the Red Line. There are Bike racks available for Bike riders too.