Are you wondering what Nigerian foods to try on your upcoming trip to Nigeria? I have got you covered. In this article, I will introduce to you the most popular dishes in this wonderful country so you can easily make a plan to explore the essence of Nigerian cuisine.
Below are 20 Nigerian foods you must try.
1. Jellof rice
When traveling in Nigeria, you can’t leave the country without trying this classic dish that is served in many West African countries. But we have to warn you! Nigeria has a friendly rivalry with Ghana about who makes Jollof rice better, so be prepared to become involved in the competition.
The heart of the Nigerian Jollof rice dish includes rice, tomatoes, and peppers. Many people then add delicious mixtures of other add-ins such as prawns, peas, or onions. You’ll often see jollof rice served with juicy proteins such as minced meat or chicken. It might even come with a stew or plantains. Make sure to try it with a Nigerian pepper sauce for some heat.
We think this dish is so good that it deserves to be one of the World Wonders.
Also Read: Top 10 popular Igbo Soups
2.Egusi Soup (Ground Melon Vegetable Soup)
If you’re looking for something to warm your soul and fill your stomach, this soup is the dish for you.
It’s a one-pot meal that’s easy to make and loved by all. When eating Egusi soup, you’ll typically eat it with popular swallows such as Fufu or Eba. Some people even serve it over rice.
Instead of grounded melons, you may also notice Nigerians creating this soup with toasted pumpkin seeds. The seeds add a layer of warmth that’s perfect after a long day of exploring on your feet. It is commonly served with pounded yam.
3. Iyan (Pounded Yam)
A popular method of preparing yams in the country is by pounding them into a somewhat solid paste. Depending on the ethnic group preparing the dish, the yams may be pounded slightly differently. Once the yams are pounded out to create a smooth paste, they are then formed into balls. These pounded yam balls, Iyan, are part of a great group of foods called “swallows”.
It’s common to serve the pounded yam alongside some soup, such as a vegetable stew.
Also read: Top 5 Foods Of The Ijaw People
4. Chicken Stew (Red Tomato Stew)
Stews are a very beloved dish in Nigeria and other West African countries. One of the most popular Nigerian stews is chicken stew or red tomato stew. It is warm, flavorful, and aromatic, delivering a feeling of satisfaction.
Nigeria has a classic recipe for chicken stew. It is made of chicken thighs, accompanied by a delicious savory sauce made from bell peppers, tomatoes, and onions. People always enjoy it with Fufu, so make sure you don’t miss it.
5. Ogbono Soup (Mango Seed Soup)
This soup might surprise you with its texture, but we promise you’ll enjoy it. Ogbono soup is a slippery draw soup made with blended Ogbono seeds. Ogbono translates to mango!
Southeastern Nigeria is popular for this type of soup, but you’ll also find it in the southwest region. No matter where you eat it, you’ll be getting tons of nutrients such as proteins, fibers, healthy fats, and calcium.
The maker of the soup will customize it to their liking by adding ingredients such as melon seeds and a variety of vegetables. It’s another vegetable soup you can eat several times and never have the same experience twice.
6.African Salad (Abacha and Ugba)
Abacha and ugba refers to a cassava-based dish native to the Igbo people of eastern Nigeria. Also known as African salad, it’s a two-part dish made with dried shredded cassava (abacha) and fermented African oil bean seeds (ugba).
To prepare, cassava tubers are cooked and then shredded with a special grater. The cassava shreds are then soaked overnight before being washed and left to dry under the sun. When the abacha is ready, it’s mixed together with sliced ugba and a host of other ingredients like palm oil, dried fish, ground African crayfish, locust beans, ground ehu seeds (calabash nutmeg), ponmo, and a hard-boiled egg.
Even though abacha and ugba can be a filling Nigerian dish, it’s typically enjoyed as a snack rather than a full meal.
7. Afang Soup
Like edikang ikong, afang soup is a type of Nigerian vegetable soup dish native to the Efik people of southern Nigeria. It’s very similar to edikang ikong soup except it’s mainly a vegetable dish made with water leaves and okazi leaves (African jointfir) as its primary ingredient.
Afang soup is known throughout Nigeria though it’s especially popular with the Ibibio and Anang people of Akwa Ibom and Cross River State in southern Nigeria. It’s commonly prepared at home and served at ceremonies like weddings, traditional marriages, and funerals with swallow foods.
Also Read: How to Cook Busala: Zambian Food Recipes
8. Moi Moi (Bean Pudding)
When Americans think of pudding, we often think of a sweet, dense dessert. While Moi Moi isn’t a dessert pudding by any means, it’s an incredible dish you must try while in the country.
This pudding is made with either black-eyed peas or brown beans. Steamed beans are combined with tomato paste, onions, garlic, an array of peppers, and spices to create a mouth-watering dish.
Moi Moi is often steamed while wrapped in banana leaves, but some Nigerian people even bake their Moi Moi.
Dambu is One of the most popular Hausa food. Its locally delicacy that is made with beef. Dambu is not just a Hausa delicacy but is popular among other tribes in Nigeria.
You must try it at least once in your life because it is an authentic Northern Nigerian delicacy. It’s tasty shredded dry meat.
If you’re familiar with the previous two dishes, you’ll be interested to learn that Dambu Nama meat pairs well with Tuwo Shinkafa and Masa.
Remember that the meat needs to be extremely soft. It must be boiled over medium heat for at least two hours. It ought to practically melt on your tongue.
Also read: Top seven most popular Enugu food
10. Efo Riro
Efo riro is another Nigerian dish native to the Yuroba people. It refers to a one-pot spinach stew made with red bell peppers, locust beans, onion, palm oil, African crayfish, and stockfish. It’s typically made with Lagos spinach (efo shoko) or African spinach (efo tete) and can contain different types of meat or fish.
In the Yoruba language, efo refers to “spinach” while riro means “to stir”, so efo riro roughly translates to “stirred spinach”. It can be paired with rice or a swallow food like eba, fufu, or pounded yam.
Bole is a local delicacy indigenous to Port Harcourt, the capital city of Rivers state in Southern Nigeria. It comprises roasted plantain, yam, and fish served with a peppery palm oil sauce. Legends far and wide have retold encounters with this sumptuousness, but it still doesn’t do it justice.
This filling delicacy is typically prepared in the eastern region of Nigeria, especially Enugu State. It is a kind of Moi Moi made from unique beans called Bambara nuts.
Okpa is prepared by grounding Bambara nuts into flour and mixing it with hot water and other ingredients, including crayfish, palm oil, fresh pepper, pumpkin vegetables (if desired), and salt. The dish is nutritious as well as substantial and delicious.
Also read: List of Igbo Foods
13. Edikang Ikong Soup
Edikang ikong soup refers to a type of Nigerian vegetable soup dish native to the Efik people of southern Nigeria. It’s made with a generous amount of ugu (fluted pumpkin) and water leaves (Malabar spinach) cooked with palm oil and different types of meat and seafood like beef, tripe, cow feet, ponmo, dried fish, African crayfish, and periwinkle (sea snail).
While considered a highly nutritious dish, edikang ikong is expensive to make. It’s been described as a Nigerian dish eaten mostly by the rich. For some people, it’s a delicacy reserved for special occasions where it’s commonly paired with Nigerian swallow foods like fufu, eba, or pounded yam.
14. Amala and Ewedu Soup
Ewedu soup is a Nigerian soup made with jute leaves, a type of leafy vegetable common in tropical and subtropical parts of the world. It’s native to the Yoruba people of western Nigeria but it’s common in other parts of West Africa, East Africa, and North Africa as well.
To prepare, jute leaves are mashed, often with a short broomstick called ijabe, and then cooked with ground African crayfish, bouillon powder, salt, and locust beans. When cooked, the leaves develop a somewhat slimy viscosity similar to okra.
Ewedu soup is commonly paired with amala but it can be eaten with other types of Nigerian swallow food like fufu, eba, or pounded yam. Amala is typically made with dried yam (amala isu) which gives it a brown color, but it can be made with cassava (amala lafun) or plantain (amala ogede) as well.
Ewedu soup can be served on its own with amala, but it isn’t uncommon to find it served with other types of Nigerian stew as well like buka stew and/or gbegiri soup. As you can probably guess, the bowl of green soup below is ewedu soup.
15. Masa (rice cake).
Masa made from Tuwo rice. It is a special delicacy made mainly in northern Nigeria. Masa is yummy and often enjoy with Miyan Taushe (another Hausa delicious soup). It can also consume with Yaji ( spicy pepper)
Also Read: Best Foods to Eat in Russia
16. Banga Soup
Banga soup refers to a hearty Niger-Delta style soup made with palm nut. It’s native to the Urhobo people in Nigeria’s Delta State but it’s become a continental soup that’s widely consumed throughout Africa.
Depending on where it’s from, banga soup can be prepared in different ways but it’s usually made with fresh palm fruit and a variety of meat, fish (mostly catfish), and seafood flavored with spices like beletete leaves (bush apple), oburunbebe stick (licorice), banga spice leaves, scotch bonnet peppers, and onions.
Like most of the soups in this Nigerian food guide, banga soup is often served with swallow foods like pounded yam or eba.
Eba is a popular Nigerian swallow food made with dried and fried cassava flour called garri. It’s eaten like fufu and often served alongside many Nigerian soups and stews.
To prepare, cassava tubers are peeled and crushed into a mash before being pressed, dried, and fried to produce a dry granular flour called garri. The garri is then mixed with boiling water to form a smooth stiff dough that’s shaped into balls and consumed.
Eba can be either off-white or yellowish in color. Yellow eba is made with garri that’s been fried in palm oil.
18. Akara (Fried Black-Eyed Peas Cake)
Akara is the Nigerian dish for you. This dish is created by deep-frying a delicious black bean paste. Most people also add onions and a variety of spices.
The Yoruba tribe created this dish; but, because it’s so good, it’s spread to other West African countries. It’s often enjoyed with fresh bread or just as a warming snack.
19. Pepper soup
Pepper soup is a popular soup in Nigeria and other West African countries. For those who like the night life, this is the perfect Nigerian dish.
As it is a light, spicy soup, it’s commonly served in local bars and best enjoyed with chilled beverages.
The soup is made of ingredients such as onions, chilli pepper, habanero pepper, ginger, garlic, tomatoes, and other condiments.
In addition, a variety of meats are added. These include fish (especially catfish), beef, chicken, and chevon. Every serving usually contains several pieces of meat (as desired).
Various nutrients, such as iron, zinc, potassium, vitamins, and a host of others, are contained in this delicacy as a result of its spices.
Pepper soup also tastes delicious with boiled yam, boiled plantain, bread, or boiled potatoes.
20. Okra soup
It is made first by cutting okra, a tasty green vegetable, into small pieces.
The cut okra is then cooked with palm oil, peppers, tomatoes, onions, locust beans, in addition to other condiments and spices.
It is a Nigerian meal popular at lunch. It pairs well with hearty staples such as ẹ̀bà, pounded yam, and fufu.
Often, okra soup is garnished with lots of fish, cow skin, beef, and sometimes ogbono (African mango) seeds.
The addition of ogbono makes the soup thicker and silkier, as okra and ogbono are draw soups.
Obe Ila Alasepo is rich in vitamins, fiber, folic acid, and other nutrients.
It is a luscious and delicious Nigerian meal and one you should definitely try if you visit.
Nigerian Food Summary
Nigerian food is an African cuisine not to be missed. There’s so much flavor, color, and spices in this corner of West Africa.
With a base of herbs, spices, nuts, and palm oil, the foundations of Nigerian food lend themselves well to some striking, diverse flavors.
Then there’s a range of exotic and colorful fruits, vegetables, and other ingredients that all give Nigerian cuisine a unique and vibrant appeal.
As with many African cuisines, the delights of the food go beyond the taste. Food is a huge part of West African culture, with so many recipes passed through generations.
The street-food aspect of Nigerian food gives it a humble, homecooked quality. As in many Asian cuisines, culinary love and passion often happen in markets and on the street.
All of these factors combine to create a fascinating and diverse cuisine, that offers a range of tastes and colors for many different palettes.
So, before we go, let’s take one last look at the full list of all Nigerian foods covered in this article.
Be sure to have this list of Nigerian food handy when you visit so that you can try one or more of these popular and traditional foods.