“Mamaput” a word used by most locals in Lagos city in reference to small scale restaurants or roadside kiosks that offer food, has since been polarized around the state and country. Visitors, as well as locals on the prowl for budget meals, are huge patrons of these food vending stations, as not only do they offer affordable meals, they also are the best place to have an authentic taste of the city’s indigenous cuisines.
Like it is with proper restaurants, visitors to any Mamaput need to behave in certain ways and follow certain rules in order to get the best service. A number of first-time visitors who try out Mamaputs, complain of the service and so, to aid first-time visitors to the city, we offer a few insider tips to getting great Mamaput service.
Be clear about what you want
Most Mamaputs do not present the visitors with menu upon arrival. Usually, an attendant approaches you and gives you a verbal list of what they have to offer and you make a choice which they serve you. It is important that you clearly state what you want, that way there is no mix-up or misunderstanding in future. Asking the attendant’s opinion between two choices is perfectly acceptable, but if you can, ask for everything you need at once.
Even though the Mamaput is not a proper restaurant and standards are not as high, it is important that you remain polite all through the time you spend in it. Remember to say please and thank you and also on, acknowledge when your server is speaking to you. Ensure you refer to your server by the name they use to introduce themselves and do not whistle or snap at them.
It is important to remain patient all through the period you are being served. Do not make loud and rude remarks if you are not served as soon as you expect as that could upset not just the owner of the Mamaput, but also others eating in the same venue. Keep in mind that serving a dish or requesting a substitution may take some time.
Don’t get personal
It might be a plus if you find you can converse with the attendant in a mutual local dialect, but refrain from asking inappropriate questions, flirting with the staff or acting too familiar with the staff. This will make things not just uncomfortable for them, but for you as well and it may create opportunities for you to be taken advantage of or berated.