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5 Things to Try at Nando’s Peri-Peri

Posted July 19, 2013 by - Michael DeVito in The Loving Spoonful


don’t mean to brag, but I am a bit of a world traveler.I’ve been to Epcot Center.Twice. So you can trust me when I tell you that Nando’s Peri Peri checks a lot of boxes off your World Food Experience map(you’re getting a bit ambitious claiming that airport burrito).Stay with me now...

Although Nando’s itself is still young enough to get carded at bars, the Peri Peri part dates back to the Portuguese landing in Mozambique.The Portuguese began using local peppers in their cooking, but couldn’t properly pronounce “Pili-Pili.”Hundreds of years later, Peri-Peri chicken migrated to South Africa, along with poor pronunciation and the descendents of those food-fusion innovators.And lo, Nando’s was born.

If you tell that worldly story to get laid, you’re buying me a beer.

Embrace the spirit of Nando’s South African origin and approach the meal with a sense of ubuntu, the philosophy of focus on community.You can enjoy these dishes individually, but ordering for the table and treating the meal as a shared feast is the preferred way to go.

  • In keeping with Portuguese and African influences, the roasted red pepper dip ($5.95, pictured) is flavorful but well balanced, so no need to worry about a flare up scaring off the spice averse. The chili and spices create a spicy, zesty finish that takes a few seconds to sneak up on you.
  • Order Peri-Peri chicken for the table ($4.95+, pictured), in either a quarter-cut or whole bird.Pro-tip: order lower on the spiciness scale to make sure that the heat is within your comfort zone.Extra sauce is plentiful, so you can always dial in the flavor level later on.
  • An order of the Peri-Peri wings ($5.45+) might seem redundant when you’ve already ordered chicken breast, but these birds definitely flock together.These are not the sad, tiny wings you encounter at the local sports bar (seriously, where are all these tiny chickens?).The wings are large and slathered, not drowned, in sauce.Mix things up with the lemon-herb sauce.
  • The whole and mashed Macho Peas ($2.35) are flavored with parsley, chili and bold mint which helps cool the heat of the chicken. For something sweeter, try the candied vegetable medley of butternut squash and grilled corn ($3.95, pictured) with red onions, cranberries, cilantro and chili.
  • Bring the international meal full circle with either a Portuguese or South African wine.The Adega de Pegoes ($5.25) is a versatile Portuguese white for summer.If you’re in the mood for something a bit further afield, try the Indaba Chenin Blanc ($5.55), a fruity South African white that pairs well with the spicy and savory options.

Nando’s Peri Peri
Various locations throughout the DC metropolitan area

Nando's Peri-Peri on Urbanspoon

About the Author

- Michael DeVito

Men's Lifestyle Editor. An appreciation of food runs deep in his Italian American heritage, but Michael’s adventures really began in earnest while living in South Korea, where he learned to see food as a means of exploring different cultures, meeting new people, and having fun while expanding his horizons.Michael earned his street cred snacking on Rocky Mountain oysters, fried chicken feet and his personal favorite--grilled octopus. Michael brings his deep and abiding love for beer, whiskey and barbecue, and is available for freelance writing, bachelorette parties and the occasional fight club. He accepts payment in fine cigars, motorcycles or Goodfellas quotes.