Ranked! Nigerian Swallows

June 11, 2019

When it comes to food the only thing Nigerians can unanimously agree on, is that we have the best Jollof in West Africa. On the topic of which of our many swallows reigns supreme, however, we’ll never come to an agreement. While some people might pitch their tents in the Pounded Yam camp, for others Eba is the reason the sun rises and sets every day.

For me, these are the best and worst swallows, starting with the worst of them all – Wheat


I get Wheat. Truly I do. It’s a healthy alternative to many cholesterol packed swallows. And if you Googled the number of Nigerians who live with hypertension, you’d get it too. What I don’t get is why it has to taste so vile. Or why it turns anything it touches to shit, even Efo that goes well with everything from Eba to Tuwo.


Aside from the fact that I think it’s a great deception that Semo looks a whole lot like Pounded Yam and Fufu, some of the greats, I don’t understand why people voluntarily eat Semo. It doesn’t help that one of my earliest encounters with Semo was when I was force-fed it in Sea School. That it was even served as a meal option in a place like Sea School is all you need to know about Semo.


I love Garri. I love Garri in all shapes and forms. Yellow, white, red, Ijebu. From the one that slaps the insides of your cheeks to the one that’s finer than beach sand. But once Garri turns into Eba it becomes an inedible mess that should only be served in boarding schools and prisons. Which are pretty much the same thing.


Placing Amala in 5th place on this list was really hard for me. But its lack of versatility is really its own undoing. Nothing bangs harder than Amala, Gbegigiri and Ewedu. But pair Amala with anything else and it tastes worse than disappointment.


It took one trip to the North to make me a Tuwo convert. 2 days into my 6 day stay in Bauchi and I was having Tuwo for breakfast lunch and dinner.


Here’s the thing about Fufu. It has a strong smell, which can be off-putting. But once you power through it, you’ll realize that Fufu is a diamond in the rough. You’ll even come to love the smell. And if you have an expert make it for you it could be an odourless, light fluffy goodness that will go down well with absolutely any soup.


I know I called out Amala for not being very versatile. And Starch suffers the same fate, but I don’t know what other position on this list it could be placed. What’s not to love about Starch? The colour, the texture, the taste all of it comes together so well. Then you pair it with Banga or Owo and wonder why you even bother eating anything else that isn’t starch.

Pounded Yam

Pounded Yam is the queen of versatility. I’m yet to come across any type of soup from any part of the country that doesn’t go well with Pounded Yam. I also have to point out that Pounded Yam and Poundo Yam are two very different things. The latter belongs at the very end of this list just above Wheat. Because there’s nothing worse than Wheat.

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