Located in the historic district of the Marais in Paris is Madiba — the first African hot dog brand to have its sauces derived from African cuisine.
Madiba was founded by childhood friends and business partners Darrell Mbow and Ishaq in 2021. The inseparable pair have traveled the world together, venturing to both African countries and throughout the United States.
“When I was in New York, I remember asking myself, ‘do I want a hot dog or African cuisine?'” Darrell told Travel Noire. “I noticed the hot dog vendor was also selling chicken rice, and I asked the guy if he could put the rice on the hot dog. I remember the guy looking at me crazy.”
But through that experience, a lightbulb went off in Darrell’s head.
“I just had this thought like, ‘why am I not trying this hot dog with African sauces?”
When he got back to France, he had what he calls “a crazy” idea to remix the New York hot dog with exotic African flavors. He heard no after no from banks and investors but believed so much in his dream that he saved the money and invested in himself along with a friend. Together, they opened what they call the world’s first Afro hot dog restaurant, located in the Hôtel de Ville district.
On the menu are hot dogs with Yassa, Mafé, or Thieb sauces and vegetables, but no rice.
Yassa can be found throughout West Africa but it derives from Senegal. It’s a spicy dish that gets its deep flavors from caramelized onions, lime or lemon juice, garlic, ginger, chili peppers, and mustard.
Mafé is a stew found throughout West Africa that originates in Mali. It’s a peanut or groundnut stew made with tomato paste, peppers, and peanut butter.
Thieb is the national dish in Senegal, but it’s also found in Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, and The Gambia. It’s usually prepared with fish, rice and tomato sauce.
Madiba: A Sign of Respect
According to the co-founders, they chose to name the restaurant after the father of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, as it’s a sign of respect. Madiba is a term used for older people, typically men, and it holds weight over the first and last names.
Mandela preferred Madiba over his English name Nelson because the name derived from his African roots. Madiba is the name of his ancestors, who belonged to the Xhosa ethnic group.
Darrell says 5 to 10 years from now, he hopes to have expanded Madiba to the U.S. You can find more information about the restaurant, its hours, and menu by visiting its website.