By the time you notice the glow of ChopnBlok’s neon-yellow sign in the Post Market food hall downtown, you’ve likely already been offered a sample. There will probably be a crowd out front, but they’re not just here for free food. They’re here for good food. ChopnBlok serves a casual spin on West African dishes so satisfying that you won’t mind braving a chaotic food hall.
The person in front of you probably just ordered the trad, a bowl of a smoky jollof jambalaya topped with grilled chicken and kelewele, a fried sweet plantain that shines on the dish like a little badge of honor. The golden bowl takes the base of the trad and gives it a power-up by adding in sweet coconut curry and tender black-eyed peas. This is the bowl to prioritize—it's light, refreshing, and represents the best of ChopnBlok’s menu. Often served as free samples, the minnie pies are everything a savory pastry should be (flaky and buttery) and we recommend ordering one alongside any bowl you get at ChopnBlok. They come out blazing hot, and they’re worth sacrificing the roof of your mouth to eat them as soon as you can. It’s a small price to pay.
ChopnBlok’s stall feels like the tiny studio apartment of someone we’d like to be friends with. There are wood-paneled walls lined with framed West African artwork, cookbooks, vinyl records for sale, and luxurious wicker stools that would make any Ikea chair nervous. While the vibe might make you want to stay forever, the space can get a bit cramped. You’ll likely end up eating in the food hall, which can get a little busy on weekends, so we recommend swinging by on a weekday.
ChopnBlok might reel you in with free samples, but we suggest sticking around for the Tobe Nwigwe records, tongue-tingling yaji spices, and caramelized ajebutter popcorn. Even though it’s a Post Market food stall next to dozens of others, ChopnBlok is a destination restaurant.
The trad takes grilled chicken and a smoky jollof jambalaya—essentially West African yaji fried rice combined with Creole flavors—and offsets it all with sweet fried kelewele. It’s straightforward in that it’s just chicken and rice, but you won’t find a combination like this anywhere other than ChopnBlok.
Add coconut curry and black-eyed peas to the trad, and you’ve got yourself a golden bowl. Get this over the Trad for something a little more balanced, with a bright and refreshing curry and delicate peas.
Green & Tings
At the base of this bowl, white rice gets tossed with nutty, Liberian-style collard greens that give the rice a bright and vinegary coating. This combo is so good that you’ll shudder at the thought of eating plain white rice ever again. The tings are a combination of a Ghanian-inspired steak skewers covered in refreshing ginger and bold yaji spice, roasted vegetables, and more of that sweet kelewele.
If you want an introduction to what ChopnBlok has to offer, try their savory stuffed minnie pies, essentially miniature versions of West African meat pies with a flaky crust. Here, they come in vegetable and beef varieties. While we hate to pit two queens against each other, the spicy, seasoned beef minnie pies are our favorite.
ChopnBlok’s house made hibiscus tea is tart, refreshing, and helps cut through some of the intense flavors at play. There are also large bottles of the oga palmer for purchase if you want to take some home.