Dundalk’s African community is set to feature in a new radio documentary series exploring food and cultural diversity in Ireland.
The six part series titled Food For Thought came to the Louth town to find out about African food and its role in helping families from African backgrounds connect with their cultural roots.
Rituals and traditions involving food are something all cultures share. But at the same time the particular food traditions of different cultures are part of what make each ethnic group or nationality unique and different.
Local Nigerian woman Olubunmi Salako explained that while Dundalk has three African shops it can still be difficult to get important ingredients for Nigerian dishes when you need them.
Water yam for instance, used in dishes prepared for weddings and considered a delicacy, needs to be ordered in advance.
Jollof rice, a Nigerian staple, has also become popular in Dundalk.
“I work in a local school and I started an international day,” said Salako. “On the first year I brought joloff rice and now every year the children look forward to it – the international day has become synonymous with joloff rice.”
“We live together, we exchange culture though food, so I think the world is changing and Ireland is changing too,” she added.
The series, which will broadcast on RTE Radio 1 Extra, features stories from a diverse range of cultures and traditions and includes the story of how a Romanian Orthodox community continue the traditional practice of preparing elaborate Easter baskets how young Galway Muslims balance the demands of their busy lives with the rigours of the Ramadan fast.