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From Kano to London: Umar Muktar Bala’s Suya Sensation Takes the Double Decker Route to Success

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From Kano to London: Umar Muktar Bala’s Suya Sensation Takes the Double Decker Route to Success

In the bustling streets of east London, a Nigerian entrepreneur has taken the city by storm with his unique culinary venture. Meet Umar Muktar Bala, a 39-year-old creative visionary hailing from Kano, Nigeria, who has transformed the dining scene in London with his extraordinary Suya Hut on wheels.

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Umar’s journey began in 2017 when he decided to leave his stable job as a manager at Tesco to pursue his culinary dreams. Starting as a modest trailer-based eatery in Barking Market, Suya Hut quickly gained popularity. By 2020, Umar upgraded to a van, and in the following year, he made a bold move – he turned a double-decker bus into a mobile restaurant.

From Kano to London: Umar Muktar Bala's Suya Sensation Takes the Double Decker Route to Success
Suya Hut Bus

For Umar, it was all about standing out in the crowded Barking Market, where competition was fierce. “It is something I’ve thought about since I got my trailer,” he revealed. “We were thinking about getting a shop – but everyone has a shop – and you have to find some way to stand out – it’s very challenging but very rewarding.”

The double-decker bus, now a culinary icon, can accommodate up to 40 diners, offering a unique experience that leaves everyone intrigued. Umar’s menu is inspired by the traditional West African dish ‘suya,’ but he’s given it a modern twist, serving it in the form of burgers and wraps that Londoners have grown to love.

From Kano to London: Umar Muktar Bala's Suya Sensation Takes the Double Decker Route to Success
Inside the Double Decker Suya hut

This summer, Umar’s Suya Hut on Wheels is hitting the road, taking its delectable offerings to festivals across London. The bus itself serves three crucial functions: a kitchen bustling with activity, a cozy restaurant where patrons can dine in style, and a convenient takeaway hub.

One aspect that makes  truly special is its diverse team. While Umar’s main customers come from various backgrounds, including Nigerians, Pakistanis, and Africans, his staff consists of seven Nigerians and one Caribbean employee. Umar is proud to say that he doesn’t care about race when it comes to his team; working with Nigerians, he finds, is exceptionally easy due to the strong sense of community and camaraderie they share.

In addition to his culinary success, Umar Muktar Bala has a piece of advice for Nigerian politicians: “Do your homework before joining politics. When you get to the office, think of the impact it can have on your community, not just your immediate family.”

With a thriving business that brings joy and flavor to Londoners, Umar is not only serving mouthwatering dishes but also serving as an inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs, both in Nigeria and abroad.

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