Can any self-respecting food lover really give themselves the “foodie” title if they haven’t done some form of culinary excursion? I mean, it’s not only about being able to differentiate between pounded and poundo yam. 

That’s where we come in. By the time you experience these food festivals, you’ll be more than deserving of your “food lover” ID card.

Bole Festival

Whether you spell it as “bole” or “boli”, this should be the first stop on your food tour. You’d be surprised by the different bole recipes available. Warning: You may never eat it with groundnuts again.

Image: Bole Festival on X

Burning Ram

If you think about it, meat may be every food lover’s origin story. Almost all of us passed through a stealing-meat-from-the-pot phase — don’t even deny it. Burning Ram celebrates the Nigerian culture of meat and grill, and the best part? As of the date of publishing, you can still be a part of the 2023 edition.

New Yam Festival

Yam is the Nigerian staple, not jollof rice. How else do you explain how almost every state and tribe in the country has their own version of a New Yam Festival? For the Igbos, it’s typically celebrated after the rainy season in August, and referred to as “Iwa ji” or “Iri ji”. For the Yorubas, especially in Ekiti, it is termed “Odun Ijesu”. Irrespective of what tribe you celebrate with, you’re sure to find yam delicacies of all types, music, dance and masquerade displays at a New Yam Festival.

Image: The Guardian Nigeria

West Africa Food Festival

This festival is proof you don’t have to japa to expand your tastebuds. As the name implies, this festival involves celebrating the dishes and culinary culture of West African countries. The annual festival is typically held in the countries along West Africa, and 2022’s edition was in Lagos. It features food, competitions and wine tastings.

Image: Flickr

Lagos Seafood Festival

You might think you like seafood, but have you really had everything the sea has to offer if you haven’t eaten stuff like octopus or human-sized fish? The annual festival was rebranded to “Lagos Food Festival” in 2022, but you’re still sure to find interesting sea creatures when you attend.

Argungu Festival

The cultural festival has increasingly become associated with food, as it involves a fishing competition to catch the biggest fish. It happens in Kebbi over a four-day period every year and features agricultural showcases, musical performances as well as wrestling and swimming competitions. 

The winner of the 2020 fishing competition was awarded ₦10m, two cars and two seats to Hajj. Excuse me while I go learn how to fish.

Image: The Nation

Calabar Carnival

Termed “Africa’s biggest street party”, the carnival celebrates the Cross River culture, but the cuisine is a huge part of it. It’s an annual four-day event that features a food festival of its own, with rich Efik cuisine, grills and drinks.

Image: The Whistler

Jos Food Festival

If you’ve ever entertained curiosity about what food on the Plateau tastes like, you might want to add the Jos Food Festival to your itinerary. It features indigenous food displays and local musical performances.

Image: Sunday Alamba

PS: You can’t have read up to this point without signing up for Burning Ram. Do it now.

NEXT READ: Like Boli, These Nigerian Meals Deserve Their Own Festivals



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