Nigerian foods are top tier. From the East, West, North, and South, every tribe has a special meal you absolutely have to try! So, if you happen to visit Nigeria, expect to have your taste buds thrilled with the appetizing delicacies. Additionally, expect to taste a lot of spices, vegetables, meat, and other nutritious condiments that’ll have you smacking your lips.
Here are 15 Nigerian foods that should definitely be on your foodie radar.
This is prepared from plantain grilled over an open fire. The plantain can either be ripe or unripe, whichever works for you. It is perfect as an evening snack and is mostly sold by the roadside. You can pair it with fried fish, a sauce made from grounded pepper, or just peanuts.
2. Ofada rice
Rice is a staple meal in Nigeria, and one of the varieties is Ofada. It is a must-have at events like wedding parties or birthdays and is usually prepared with a mix of different grains of rice. Ofada rice is best served with a special sauce called Ayamase or Obe Ata (pepper stew). Most people like to eat it straight from leaves called Uma, and this gives it an extra touch of uniqueness.
3. Tuwo Shinkafa
If you ever find yourself in Northern Nigeria, then you totally have to give this dish a try. Tuwo is prepared from boiled, mashed rice, and is usually served with special soups like Miyan Kuka or Taushe (spiced vegetables). You can also try pairing it with garden egg or Okra soup.
4. Amala and Ewedu
This dish is as old as time itself is never missing in the home of the Yorubas in the Western part of Nigeria. It is prepared with Elubo (flour gotten from dried cassava, yam or unripe plantain). Worthy of note is that Ewedu (Jute leaves beaten with a special cooking broom) can be paired with other swallows like Fufu or Eba (but the best combination is with Amala.) Then there’s the delicious sauce prepared with blended tomatoes and pepper and garnished with different types of meat to keep your mouth busy.
5. Jollof rice
You must have come across the debates on which African country has the best Jollof. Well, you’ll have to be the judge of that after having a taste of Nigerian Jollof. This food has a unique taste and no major Nigerian event is complete without it. Some ingredients used in the preparation include blended tomatoes, pepper a.k.a rodo, spices and topped with chunks of fried meat or chicken. With or without salad, you’re bound to ask for second and third helpings.
In most Nigerian homes, Akara is the go-to breakfast option. It is rich, satisfying, and easy to munch. Akara is made from beans ground with onions, tomatoes, and pepper then deep-fried in hot vegetable oil. It is best enjoyed straight out of the frying pan and eaten with pap, bread, Garri, or alone.
If you crave variety, this category of food has it all. Some Nigerian soups you have to try include Okra, Ogbono, Bitterleaf, Egusi, Oha, Groundnut, and Afang (a special delicacy among the Efik tribe). They’re not only delicious but nutritious as well (because vegetables are the major ingredients in them).
8. Ewa Agoyin
This is soft-boiled beans mashed to a pulp and eaten with a special type of palm oil sauce laced with fried fish or cow skin. It is a constant craving among the Yorubas and generally anyone who loves tasty beans. Oftentimes, Ewa Agoyin is paired with bread or fried plantains.
If you are a big fan of finger foods, then you have to try this. In a nutshell, Suya is grilled beef garnished with onions, cabbage, tomatoes and Yaji spice. You’re more likely to come across it on evening strolls around busy streets in Nigeria. Be warned it can be quite spicy, so get some water handy.
Swallows are usually very filling and eaten with the fingers. Just like soups, Nigerian foods that fall under the category of swallows are numerous. Here are some you should know: Fufu, Eba (Garri), Semo, Pounded Yam, Wheat, and Oje Abacha (popular among Kogi people in North-central Nigeria). Most of these swallows are prepared from either cassava or corn flour and eaten with any soup of choice.
11. Banga and Starch
Let it be known that the Urhobo people of Southern Nigeria do not joke with this food, particularly those from Delta state. The soup is made from palm fruits and garnished with fish, cow skin, meat, and other tasty proteins. The starch is natively known as Usi, and it requires great skill to prepare due to its starchy nature.
There’s nothing like a bowl of spicy Nigerian pepper soup to get your system healthy. There are varieties to choose from like catfish, goat meat, chicken, beef, and even crab. To get a good taste of this, locate bars near you and don’t forget to keep some water nearby due to how spicy it can be. Some people swear pepper soups help with nasal congestion and healing sore gums. Well, give it a try!
Just like Akara, another food made from beans that you’d come across in Nigeria is Moi-Moi. It is prepared by applying heat to blended beans so it becomes just like a pudding. Most people like to add fish, eggs and corned beef to the mix for extra richness. It’s best served with pap, custard, Hausa koko, with rice or alone.
Ukwa or breadfruit pottage is a special Nigerian delicacy popular with the Igbos. The ukwa is usually gotten from a big tree from which it falls and the ukwa seeds get extracted. It is quite expensive and is mostly served at parties, weddings, burials or a typical Igbo household. Some people like it boiled, eaten plain, or toasted. Whichever one you choose, you’re still bound to enjoy every bite. Apparently, it is also very healthy, so go figure.
This is also popular with the Igbos in Nigeria. In fact, you can call it a thing of tribal pride. It is made with oil bean seeds (Ugba), dried cassava, palm oil, fried fish, vegetables, cow skin (Ponmo), stock fish, and garnished with fresh onions. If you ever hear of the term “African salad”, this is the food being referred to, and it’s delicious!