Nigeria is a multi-cultural country with different Nigerian street foods flooding the country. Traditional dishes are greatly appreciated by nationals of Nigeria. This is evident at parties, on the roadside, at events or during festive ceremonies.
Food is one of the cultures of Nigeria and this includes Nigerian street foods. The main ethnic groups have major meals that are peculiar to each tribe. Most of the meals have an origin or a story behind them.
The truth is that Nigeria as a country embraces her roots and food is a major hit in the nation’s culture.
For example, the “Ewa ibeji” is a local meal made from beans, pepper and palm oil. It is a meal prepared to celebrate the birth of twins.
Nigerian street food is a special kind of roadside delicacy that is made to appeal to the “Naija” community.
Several neighbourhoods have unique foods that are prepared and sold in local ways. This attracts hundreds of people to sheds and “umbrella” shops to buy these street foods.
Visitors who have explored Nigeria for different reasons also have a lot to say about these roadside meals that they have tasted.
Popular Nigerian street foods you should not miss out on include;
Suya is a common street food throughout West Africa. It is popular in almost every street in Nigeria. Suya is a significant component of Hausa culture and cuisine. Hausa men have historically prepared and formulated it. Beef, ram, or chicken that has been skewered is typically used to make suya. Additionally used are internal animal parts such as the kidney, liver, and tripe.
After being thinly sliced, the meat is rubbed in a variety of seasonings, including salt, vegetable oil, the traditional Hausa dehydrated peanut cookie known as “kulikuli,” and other seasonings and flavourings.
The meat is then barbecued.
Suya is sold in sticks or cut into sizes, depending on the amount you need. It ranges from 200-1000 naira. The sizes are then sprinkled with special traditional spices. Also added to this spicy meat are slices of cucumber, cabbages, tomatoes and onions. Though it still has to do with your choice. Afterwards, the suya is wrapped in paper and tied in nylon.
Nigerians are often known to park their cars in front of suya stands mostly in the evenings to buy wraps of suya. Likewise, a lot of people stop by to get slices of suya to munch after a “hard” day.
Popular spots to buy suya in Nigeria
Yahuza Suya Spot Nigeria Limited
7, Bozoum Wuse 2, Abuja
University of Suya
Allen Avenue, Ikeja Lagos State
Akara and Agege bread
Akara and Agege bread is the traditional Naija breakfast burger. It is another popular street food in Nigeria. Akara is made from beans. The beans are peeled and ground to form a thick paste, and then pepper is added. The paste is then stirred with seasonings cubes and other spices are mixed into it. After mixing, the paste is deep fried in hot oil. The balls when golden brown is taken out and placed in a metal sieve for the oil to drain out.
Agege bread is a low yeast, chewy and stretchy dough Nigerians crave. It originated from a place in Nigeria called”Agege” in Lagos state. It is made from flour and a mix of other baking ingredients in a local oven.
Akara and Agege bread is usually sold together. The bread is cut open with a knife and Akara balls are placed in the middle. Also, as you wish, you can buy both separately in nylons. In this case, the Akara is sold in paper and wrapped up, while you choose the bread you want.
Akara balls are sold for as low as 20 or 50 nairas per ball, while the cheapest loaf of Agege bread is 150naira. This could increase, with a location in consideration.
Roasted Plantain and Groundnut (Boli and EPA)
Also known as roasted plantain and groundnut respectively, Boli and epa is delicious Nigerian street food.
It is a native street food of the Yoruba tribe. Over the years, the South-South region of Nigeria has also fallen in love with this savoury meal. Boli is made from roasted plantain, whether ripe or unripe and it is served with portions of groundnut. Also served with boli is pepper sauce filled with beef, chicken, fried or smoked fish.
Abacha and Ugba
Abacha is also called African Salad. It is made from sliced dried cassava. This local street food of the Eastern region of Nigeria, the Igbos is tasty and well appreciated.
Ugba on the other hand is the African oil bean seed which has been fermented. Abacha is prepared from a mixture of dried cassava and bean seed with palm oil and seasonings.
Abacha is either hawked or sold in market stalls. It is measured with spoons on plates or in nylons based on customers’ orders. Abacha is also sold with beef or Ponmo (cow skin).
The Nigerian puff puff is every Nigerian child’s favourite snack. Most times, parents buy it as an alternative for skipped breakfast for their children. Asides from being children’s favourite, almost every Nigerian has had a taste of the dough.
Puff-puff is made from yeast, flour, sugar, salt and so on. The ingredients are mixed with warm water and left to rise. Then it is fried in hot oil by scooping with hands into little ball sizes. Puff puff is everyone’s delight and it is sold on the roadside. It is placed in heaps to the attraction of passersby who definitely cannot ignore the welcoming aroma. A ball of puff puff goes for as low as 20naira.
Okpa is a delicacy produced by the Igbo people with a unique type of beans known as Bambara nuts. It is regarded as a traditional Nigerian delicacy and is popular in Enugu state. Other tribes outside the Igbo love to eat Okpa too.
Okpa is also known by the Igbo names gba and such. In the Hausa language, it is referred to as Gurjiya or kwaruru. Bambara nut flour, palm oil, crayfish, salt, and seasoning are some of the primary ingredients.
Okpa is one of the most nutritionally balanced staples with the right nutrients. Okpa is sold in transparent nylon wraps on the streets of Nigeria.
Roasted or boiled corn with pear
Though seasonal, corn is the top Nigerian street food. It can either be boiled or roasted. Properly roasted corn appears golden brown and has an aroma that draws your attention. It is sold with coconut, boiled or roasted pear. When boiled, corn is placed in a large pot and placed on a locally made fire. Big nylons or sacks are used to cover it to allow it to steam well and soften in time. Corn is great to buy when in the season as you will get fresh ones for cheap prices per cob.
Moin Moin and Eko
Moi-Moi is a common street food made from black-eyed beans. The beans are washed, peeled and ground to form a paste. The mixture is then stirred and seasoned before it is wrapped in leaves.
Eko is a local solid meal made out of pap. It is sold in leaves or nylons. Moin Moin and Eko, the original meal of the Yoruba tribe are sold together at considerable prices.
Wara is an appetising locally made Nigerian cheese curds mostly made from fresh cow milk.
It is believed to have originated from Wara, a city located in Kwara state. In the natural form, wara is prepared by curdling animal milk, cow or goat milk or plant-based milk from soya beans. The tangible part is separated from the watery part and chaff, after the curdling process and mashed together.
It can be eaten alone in the raw form or fried as a snack.
Once prepared freshly it is white and uncoloured. It’s often sold within a day of manufacture due to its poor shelf life.
Beske is popular amongst the Yoruba tribe, Ilorin and Ogbomoso and Osun state precisely. It is made from fried soya milk curds. This mostly appears in cube shapes and can be sold alone or with spices.
Popular for its soft texture and delectable sauce, Ewa Agoyin is a fantastic bean meal. The agoyin sauce, made from the red bell and dried pepper with ginger, onions and enough palm oil is mouthwatering.
Eating ewa agoyin for the first time will leave you addicted to this delicious food.
The traditional way to consume Ewa Agoyin is with soft bread, boiled yams, and fried plantains.
Common Nigerian street snacks
Dòdò Ìkirè/Plantain chips
The traditional food of Ikire, Osun State, Nigeria, is called dodo ikire. It is sold on the roadside In South Western states.
Although it was initially prepared with leftover plantains, people now use fresh ingredients like overripe plantains, pepper, oil, and salt to make it.
In some regions of Nigeria, deep-fried plantains or frying bananas are referred to as “Dodo.”
Plantain chips are made from thinly sliced plantain fried in hot oil to give a crispy and crunchy feel.
It is packaged with pepper, spices or seasonings and sold on the road, in traffic, in shops and supermarkets.
Kilishi is the dried form of suya. It is popular among the Hausa tribe. It can last up to 12 months if properly stored in a plastic bag or airtight containers. Cow, goat or sheep meat is used to make kilishi. It serves as a traditional snack that can be munched or taken with pap or are.
Kokoro is a common snack in Nigeria. It is made from a mixture of maize flour sugar and Garri or yam flour and deep-fried. It is commonly sold in Abeokuta in Nigeria.
Kuli-kuli is an African snack that is primarily made from peanuts. It is made from peanut paste, rolled to form rings or straight shapes and fried in hot oil.
Popular in the Northern region, kuli-kuli is sold by the roadside or in major markets. Kuli-kuli can be eaten alone or taken with Garri or pap. It is sold in large quantities in most Nigerian states.
Mishai ( noodles and fried egg, bread and fried egg)
Mishai is a local name given to the noodles or bread and fried eggs Hausa men cook and sell.
These men make use of a shed in public areas and are seen with cooking utensils, preparing the native Mishai.
After boiling the noodles, pepper and spices are added to taste. Then the eggs are fried with pepper, salt, onions and little oil in non-sticky pans and placed on the noodles. If it is bread, the bread is sliced vertically into two with a knife and the fried egg is put in the middle. Mishai serves as breakfast, lunch or dinner, as the situation of the stomach permits. You can decide to sit and eat or grab a takeaway.
Also added to this package is tea made from tea bags, milk, sugar and hot water. The tea is made to cool by pouring it into different cups.
Fried yam, potatoes and plantain
Another popular street food for everyone is local fries. Yam, sweet potatoes and plantain are diced into shapes and fried in hot oil.
After frying, it can be placed in transparent containers or sieves and sold to buyers. Fried yam, potatoes and plantain are often sold with sauce and peppered meat, Ponmo, boiled egg or fish.
Peppered meat, snail, ponmo
This is spicy street food sold in shops, bars and also hawked. Meat, snail or Ponmo is boiled with seasonings and fried in hot oil. Afterwards, it is stirred in delicious pepper and onion mix.
Peppered meat is served with cold drinks in bars or it can be sold in nylons and plastics for you to take home.
Ofada rice with sauce
Ofada rice is typically served in an Uma leaf with meat, onions, locust beans, palm oil, and a sauce made of “Atarodo” and “Tatase” peppers.
For most Nigerians, it is a special occasion dinner rather than a regular meal, however, in the towns of Ikenne and Ilisan in the state of Ogun, it is common street food.
It is frequently served with a vegetable stew, which could include locust beans as an ingredient. It is frequently served with an “Ayamase” stew called Obe-at-iru, which is made specifically for Ofada rice consumption and contains beef, egg, and offal steeped in the sauce.
Agege bread and butter or ‘Bama’
Freshly baked bread is often collected from local bakeries and hawked on major streets. Hawkers are seen with heaps of butter containers or a jar of the popular mayonnaise ‘Bama’. They usually sell it by shouting to attract the attention of potential customers.
The bread is cut with a knife and butter or mayonnaise is spread in the middle. Though both are sold at different prices.
This street food appeals to everyone as breakfast or lunch, depending on the condition attached.
Also added to this are drinks to go along with the meals. They include;
is made from dried hibiscus leaves and flavours. It is packed in bottles or nylons, iced and sold at different prices.
Fura; this is a local drink of Northern Nigeria made from dairy products.
Kunu is a local drink made from either millet(Kunun Jero) or tiger nuts, coconut and dates(Kunun Aya).
The ingredients are blended and mixed and sugar is added to taste if necessary. It is iced and sold in bottles.
A bottle of Kunu is sold for as low as 100naira. Nigerian street food remains the pride of the Nigerian people. Almost everyone living in the country has a liking for these foods. On most days, when returning from work or looking for how to relax for the weekends, street foods are a good option.
The fun of it all is the struggle to get yours as the queue in most of these shops is sometimes beyond control.
The relief is just that there is enough to go round and it will eventually reach your turn.
A lot of people have also concluded that street foods taste different from regular homemade meals. I believe that when the hands of the experts are involved in making these roadside foods, you will always have a wonderful remark.