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Watch: Marcus Samuelsson Seeks Out Houston’s West African Food Traditions

Making pepper soup, jollof rice, and fufu in America’s most diverse city

Roger Tam

On the third episode of No Passport Required Season 2, host Marcus Samuelsson visits Houston to learn more about food and community in the Nigerian and greater West African diaspora.

Centered around the large Nigerian population, but also focused on Senegalese, Ghanaian, and other West African cultures, the episode explores how West African immigrants preserve recipes and food traditions and recontextualize them in the Houston dining scene. Samuelsson cooks with chefs and home cooks, visits pop-ups and tasting-menu restaurants, and learns a dance called the shaku shaku. He eats fufu, pepper soups, and a dessert that pulls inspiration from the American South and Igbo flavors, made with candy yams, smoked pecan butter, and torched marshmallows.

Additional episodes: Each hour-long episode focuses on a different immigrant community in a new city. In addition to Houston, the series travels to Seattle, where Marcus cooks with a Filipino community eager to preserve its food traditions while using key ingredients like ube and vinegar to create new ones; Los Angeles, home to the largest Armenian community outside of Armenia; and Philadelphia (February 3), where Italian Americans have thrived for generations. Other episodes focus on the Chinese-American community in Las Vegas (February 10), which has grown tremendously over the last 20 years, and Boston (February 17), where Marcus explores Portuguese-speaking cultures and cuisines from three different locales: Brazil, Cape Verde, and Portugal. The episodes air weekly on PBS, and all are now available for streaming.

Missed Season 1? Stream full episodes from the entire first season now, or check out recaps and more intel on No Passport Required here.

Online and on social: Tag @eater, @pbs, and #NoPassRequiredPBS if you share clips, pictures, or quotes from the show. Check back on Eater Houston tomorrow to see a map of the restaurants featured in the episode, and head to PBS to learn more about the show, find character bios, and get recipes to cook at home.

No Passport Required is produced for PBS by Eater and Vox Media Studios, part of Vox Media. Stream full episodes on Eater and PBS, or check local listings. Get more information on the show at