Ranked! Boarding House Meals

April 12, 2019

Boarding house memories usually elicit two kinds of emotions. Either PTSD at the level of trauma you experienced from bullies or nostalgia at memories of friends, field trips or for me eating boarding house meals.

Having gone to a Federal Government secondary school, you can imagine that the food was far from great. But it wasn’t just about the food. It was also about the people it was shared with and the bonds that form when everyone on a table forgets their cutlery and you all end up sharing one.

It doesn’t matter what kind of boarding school you went to, or where in Nigeria it was. Some staple meals were prepared across all boarding schools in Nigeria. And I decided to rank them. From the meals that had me braving punishment to avoid the dining hall, to the ones that had me waiting at the dining hall door before the meal bell even went off.

Eba/Semo and anything.

Whether it was paired with a sad vegetable type soup. Or Egusi which was always made up of more water than actual Egusi. Eba was the worst thing to plague the dining halls of boarding schools countrywide. The stories are the same everywhere. Hard, cold, stale mounds that could serve better as balls than food. Sometimes in place of Eba, sad, lumpy mounds of Semo will be served.

Indomie or spaghetti.

Several years after leaving boarding school, I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that several school administrators, or whoever was in charge of making these decisions thought it’ll be a great idea to cook Indomie or spaghetti for hundreds of students at once. In schools where the entire boarding school consisted of less than a hundred students of course it worked great. But in schools were 100 students made up JSS2 X and Y only it was an absolute disaster.


You know the porridge that made Esau give up his birthright. You could never find it in a Nigerian boarding school. What you’d find instead will be a yellow sludge completely devoid of any kind of vegetable and sometimes even yam. In fact, the only way you got chunks of yam in your porridge is if you fought to be one of the first people served on your table. If you happened to be the last you’d get a palm oily mash with a vague yam taste.

Bread and stew.

Here’s the thing about bread and stew. It could easily go either way. Depending on the time of the day, the colour of the sky and who’s on duty in the kitchen, it could easily be your best meal of the week. Like on the days where the bread was delivered fresh that very morning, and the stew was thick and nice, even containing some bits of fish. But the slightest shift in the cosmos could have you eating days old bread, with stew that looks like the water they used to wash the stew pot.

White rice and stew.

Much like bread and stew, white rice and stew could also go either way. If luck is on your side the piece of meat or fish you get might be a little bigger than the usual sugar cube size. And instead of getting a rice mash that only needs a little prompting to turn into tuwo, you’d get a bowl with distinct grains and little to no granules of sand.

Beans and plantain.

Beans and plantain is so high up on this list not because of the beans, but because of the precious dodo you got to eat. Usually only once a week. Just seeing the brown, soggy pieces of plantain was enough to make you forget about the watery mess the beans usually was. For the days where garri replaced plantain, it’s only right that it ranks even below Eba.

Bread/yam and eggs.

Whether it was boiled egg or ‘scrambled egg’ made with mostly onions and way too much oil, bread and eggs was one meal that managed to almost be consistently right. Maybe it was because it was usually served on Monday mornings and the cooks liked to take pity on us at the beginning of the week. Or the fact that it’s just really had to get it wrong. Especially on days where boiled eggs are served. Whatever it is, I’m still grateful for it. Especially because of those weeks of drought where you had run out of provisions and visiting day was still weeks away.

Pap and akara.

The staple meal of many a Saturday and Sunday morning, in not just boarding schools but in many Nigerian homes. Pap and Akara was one of the best boarding house meals. The trick to getting the most out of Pap and Akara days, was making sure you were one of the first people to get to the dining hall. That way your Akara is fresh and hot, the Pap is nice and thick and you can steal extra milk off other people’s tables.

Jollof rice and chicken.

There are two scenarios in which Jollof rice and chicken might have been served at your boarding school. You either went to a school that served it once a week, probably on Sunday afternoons. Or you went to a school that served it only on special occasions. Like founder’s day or the principal’s birthday. Whatever the case was, one thing was sure. Days when Jollof rice and chicken were served were glorious glorious days.

Toketemu Ohwovoriole

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

February 22, 2020

Nigerian moinmoin is a delicacy. Made from beans, moinmoin can go with anything imaginable and it can even be eaten as a meal alone. Are you planning to chop life this weekend? Then you should consider a date with Nigerian moinmoin. It can be prepared in leaves. The Yorubas refer to it as moinmoin elewe. […]

June 23, 2019

‘Unbelievably hot’. Those are the first words I usually use to describe Bauchi to almost everyone who asks what my first impression of the Northern city was. That’s usually followed by charming and historic. In 2017 I spent 5 glorious days in the Northen state and I’ve counted the hours till I get to make […]


Now on Zikoko

May 7, 2021

Twitter went berserk this week after billionaire, Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda, called off their 27-year-marriage. Although the divorce appears amicable, we know a Nigerian divorce between billionaires would have been chaotic.  So on this episode of #JustImagine, we created two fictional characters: Belu and Mide.  Belu’s Ikoyi Mansion. Belu is hiding in his […]

May 7, 2021

As told to Mariam I put a call out for women to tell me the things that affect their mental health most. In Ada’s* message, she said her parents found out she is queer. I was curious about how that played out and I asked more questions. Here’s what she told me: I am the […]

Recommended Quizzes

December 3, 2019

Are you a professional Yoruba demon? Are you walking around in search of whose life you can wreck at any given time? Well, this quiz knows exactly how many hearts you’ve shattered to date, and before you lie that your result is inaccurate, just remember that Zikoko is never wrong. Now, take it and be […]

November 7, 2019

These days, everyone is always talking about how much sex they’re getting, or how little sex they’re getting, or how disgusting sex is etc. There’s just so much talk about sex, it’s almost impossible to know who’s lying and who’s telling the truth. In anticipation of our new series about the sex lives of young […]

March 24, 2020

While we know that a lot of the best Nigerian artists deservedly have fans across generations, that won’t stop us from attempting to guess how old you are based on your taste in Nigerian music. So, take this quiz to see if we got it right:

More from Chopist

April 16, 2021

If you enjoy any of the fruits on this list, delete every tweet that suggests you’re broke and stop lying. 1. Strawberries Everyone that makes strawberry flavoured snacks or beverages is a dirty smelling liar. Strawberries are not sweet. They are sour as fuck. In addition to being sour, they’re also expensive as hell. So […]

March 18, 2021

One of the most thriving industries in Lagos is the restaurant industry, People are always looking for where to spend money when there is rice at home, in this economy? And on that salary? Anyways, here are a few tips on breaking into this industry. 1. Make sure it’s in a hidden location What’s fun […]

March 4, 2021

Onscreen chemistry is one thing Old Nollywood got right. Some actors and actresses just had this thing that left you rooting for them hard even when you don’t think you should be. We decided to rank the top five couples from Old Nollywood that were everything. Genevieve Nnaji and Emeka Ike I know Tony Umez […]


Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.