While the East Bay has dozens of great Ethiopian restaurants, it's much harder to find excellent West African food. For soul-warming, traditional stews with unapologetically big flavors, you'll want to make a beeline to Kendejah Restaurant. Nowhere else does the palm butter stew, finished with a whole crab leg, taste so luxurious and nutty. Nor will you find such a tasty palava sauce coating fork-tender organic beef, smoked turkey, and chicken. Yes, some other spots serve fufu, but does it come with a pungent peanut butter soup, ramped up with smoked herring? And as the East Bay's only Liberian restaurant, Kendejah also offers dishes that reflect the country's unique history. Since Liberia was founded by freed slaves born in the United States, some Liberian dishes show clear American soul food influences. That's most evident with Kendejah's oxtail stew bathed in a savory gravy and the smoky, spicy stewed okra. It's hard to go wrong at this San Leandro restaurant — a must-visit destination for West African cooking.