Have you been wondering what are the best Nigerian foods to try out that will eventually leave a lasting impression? There are lots of them coming from many ethnic groups. It is easy to lose track of the massive number of Nigerian cuisines. However, one just needs to start from somewhere.
The food recipes are passed from generation to generation, but one can expect a little bit of adjustment which can be mainly attributed to new flavours in the 21st century. Nevertheless, the name never changes, same for the recipes.
Food, they say, brings people together. Nigeria has over 250 ethnic groups that make up its population, and these ethnic groups each have meals that are peculiar only to them. Some of these foods are stand-alone, while some have to be a combo. Here are the popular Nigerian traditional meals that would blow your mind away.
1. Ogbono/Ogbolo Soup
This is a soup peculiar to the Esan and Benin people of the south-south region of Nigeria, which some people call draw soup. It is a special delicacy made from Wild mango seeds and can be eaten with Eba, pounded yam, Amala, Semolina, Fufu, or any other swallow of your choice.
2. Egusi Soup
This soup is popular among the Bini people of Edo state. The South West are also not left behind, during owanbe, egusi soup is one of the various delicacies that you can expect to find there. For the Yoruba, a party is not complete without it as it can go with most solid foods in Nigeria.
It is made from processed melon seeds. It is a very good combo with pounded yam, but if you wish to make it a combo with a preferred swallow, that can do.
3. Banga Soup
The soup is made with the juice obtained from palm fruit. It is a very popular cuisine among the Urhobo people of Nigeria. Banga soup goes very well with any swallow of your choice, but it’s best eaten with starch.
4. Ofe Akwu
This dish is made from palm fruits, just like the Banga soup. The only difference is that it is prepared as a stew meant to be eaten with rice. This soup is common among the Igbo Tribe. While Banga Soup seems to lean more toward Urhobo people, one can conclude that Ofe Akwu is the Igbo version.
5. Eka Soup
Eka soup is also called Beniseed soup, and it is a popular soup among the Idoma tribe of Benue state, the Ibirams of Kogi state, and also the Ogoja tribe in Cross River. This soup is particularly very aromatic, and it is made from a blend of Sesame seeds, roasted groundnut, and palm kernel puree. Eka can be eaten with any swallow food of your choosing.
6. Groundnut Soup/Stew
A popular dish among the Etsako people of Edo state. As the name implies, it is made with ground dry groundnuts and vegetables, fish, beef, palm oil, and seasoning. It is meant to be eaten as soup with various swallowed foods or as a stew with rice. The soup is otherwise known as Peanut Soup
7. Bitter leaf Soup
This is an all-time favorite of the Igbo people, popularly called Ofe Onugbu soup. It is made with bitter leaves and cocoyam paste. Although it is very bitter, it is a delicious and flavor-filled soup enjoyed with Garri/Eba or fufu or pounded yam.
8. Oha/Ora Soup
Oha soup is a traditional soup native to the Eastern region of Nigeria. This soup is cooked the same way as the bitter leaf soup with cocoyam paste and ingredients; the only difference is you use the Oha/Ora leaves in place of Bitterleaf. Extremely rich in fiber, you can eat Oha/Ora soup with Eba, Fufu, Lafon, Pounded yam, or any other swallow food of choice.
9. Black Soup
Popular among the Bini people of Edo State. Black soup is made from an assortment of leaves ranging from bitter leaf, scent leaf, curry leaf, and other edible wild leaves. The black soup goes very well with Pounded yam or Eba.
10. Pepper Soup
In Nigeria, Pepper soup is synonymous with nightlife. It is sold at Bars to people, and as its name implies, it is very spicy. The soup contains a combination of spices and a variety of meat, it can also be made with catfish. Most people drink it alone, while some add boiled yam, potatoes, or solid pap (Eko in Yoruba) to the soup.
11. Edikang Ikong soup
This is a very nutritious soup of Nigeria’s Efik and Ibibio tribes. It is made from fluted pumpkin leaves and waterleaf and a wide assortment of seafood meat or a variety of beef meat parts. The meat varieties are exactly what make it so popular.
12. Efo Riro (Vegetable Soup)
It is also known as Vegetable soup; it is a type of Nigerian soup with leafy vegetables as its main ingredients. Popular among the Yoruba people and features seafood meat like a snail or meat chunks as garnishing. The soup would go with most Nigerian foods except that you will be pushing your luck, lol. It is best with solid foods like eba, fufu, and pounded yam
It is a traditional Igbo delicacy enjoyed in bars and restaurants as this dish requires expertise in its preparation. The soup is made from cooked Cow foot or Cow head mixed with spicy palm oil paste and Utazi leaves. This is one of the best Nigerian Traditional Dishes to try out and you can expect to come all good.
14. Okro Soup
Okro soup is a Nigerian cuisine made with the Okra vegetable. The soup is very similar to Ogbono soup as they are both of sticky or slimy texture. Okra soup is eaten with Eba, Pounded yam, Amala, etc.
15. Gbegiri soup
It is a bean-based soup common to the people in the southwest region of Nigeria. It is made with Bean paste and other ingredients like salt, pepper, vegetables, palm oil, etc. You can eat it with Eba, Fufu, or any swallowed food.
16. Miyan Kuka
This is a must-try delicacy for people. It is a dish common among the Hausa people and is made from powdered Baobab leaves and dried Okra. It is best taken with Tuwon shinkafa, Tuo zaafi, or Tuwon Dawa.
17. Ewedu Soup
Ewedu is a traditional delicacy native to the Yorubas. One can also sprinkle egusi into Ewedu soup while on fire to give a greater taste. It is made using jute leaves and is eaten with Amala, Eba, or any swallow food of choice.
18. Owo Soup
This soup is made with Red oil, Tomatoes, pepper, garnishing, seasoning, and most importantly, potash. It is eaten with boiled plantain, boiled yam, and starch. It is a native food of the Bini people of Edo state and the Urhobo people of Delta state. Owo soup is otherwise known as Ogwo Ofigbo
19. White Soup
Also known as Ofe nsala, it is a very popular soup made with white yam paste, utazi leaves, salt, pepper, and garnishing. It is meant to be eaten as a stand-alone meal.
Starch is a very popular swallow food known to be a delicacy of the people of Delta state. It is locally known as Usi. Starch is obtained from cassava and is made by turning a well-mixed mixture of starch and water, and oil. You beat it in a heated pan until it’s yellow and translucent enough for you. It is best eaten with Banga soup or Owho soup.
21. Pounded Yam/Iyan
As the name implies, it is made by pounding boiled yam in a Mortar with Pestle till it is smooth and starchy enough to your taste. It is common in the western and southern parts of the country.
Amala is a swallow food known to be a delicacy of the Yoruba people. It is made out of yam, cassava, or unripe plantain flour. It is mixed in water and beaten in a heated pan till you get your brown lump of food. It is popularly eaten with Ewedu soup and stew mixture. However, if you can get your hands on Gbegiri soup, you will probably be asking for more before you are done with the lovely Nigerian food.
This is a very popular Nigerian delicacy. It is a swallow food that you can use to eat almost any kind of soup available. It is made by putting Garri into hot boiled water to form a stiff dough that is beaten to preference.
This is a staple dish in Nigeria and other West African countries. Fufu is obtained from boiled cassava that has been pounded and molded into small balls. It is a swallow food that also goes well with all kinds of soup.
25. Lafun (White Amala)
It is like Amala, but it is much lighter in color and made from cassava flour. It is a swallow food eaten with Ogbono soup or any other soup of choice.
26. Beans plus Dodo
Beans are a very common dish among Nigerians; they are rich in protein and can be cooked in different ways. Dodo is a dish of Fried ripe plantain cut into preferred sizes and shapes and then fried till it is golden brown in palm oil or vegetable oil. The Beans and Dodo combo always tastes best when the Beans are cooked palm oil style.
27. Bean Cake
Also known as Akara and eaten by many people in Nigeria. It is very popular and made by deep-frying a sized mold of grounded beans. It is eaten with Bread or Pap/Akamu.
28. Bean Pudding (MoiMoi)
This is a traditional delicacy that originated from the Yorubas and is also called Moi Moi. It is made from ground beans – the ground beans are measured and put in leaves or cups or nylons and are cooked with steam. Moi Moi is eaten with soaked Garri and Pap/Akamu or rice.
This is a traditional meal common among Nigeria’s Yoruba and Igbo people. The Yorubas call it “Ewa ati Agbado” while the Igbos call it “Agwa na Oka”. It is a type of pottage made with bean and corn grains. Adalu can be eaten alone or with vegetables, Dodo, beef, or chicken or fish meat.
30. Ewa Agonyin
The Ewa Agonyin is peculiar to the western region of Nigeria. It is made up of boiled Beans and pepper stew. This type of bean is common in Lagos and mostly taken with Bread while some might prefer to take it with Garri or Solid Pap. Lagosians often brag about the food sustainability as it has the capacity to keep them going for hours on their various tasks of the day.
It’s also called Ogi by the Yorubas, and most people know it to be the traditional baby food used by Nigerian mothers. It is corn Pudding paste eaten with sugar, beans or bread, etc.
32. Agidi (Solid Pap)
It is peculiar to the southwestern part of the country. Agidi is also known as Eko or corn pudding. It is served with African dishes like Akara, Moi Moi, Beans, etc.
Ekusu is another variation of the corn pudding popular among the Yorubas and Edo people of Nigeria. It is a homemade dish made from corn paste mixed with oil, tomatoes, pepper, garnishing, and seasoning. Women are often seen hawking it during the corn season.
This is a very common dish among the Remo people of Nigeria, which is eaten with efo riro soup. It is made from grated cocoyam paste, salt, and groundnut oil filled into leaves and boiled.
Ikokore/ifokore is a Yoruba dish very similar to yam porridge/Asaro. The only difference is that it is made with grated water yam instead.
It is a traditional food of the Yorubas now adapted into street food. Boli is made from roasted plantain (ripe or unripe) and commonly eaten with groundnut, but some also eat it with oil sauce or peppered fish sauce.
Suya is a special delicacy of the Hausa people made by grilling skewered meat pieces with onions, salt, pepper, oil, and some other spices. Beef is the preferred meat for making suya. It is also another nightlife delicacy for the Nigerian people.
It is very similar to suya, only that it is more dried and stronger in texture. Normally, most people would prefer Kilishi, but it is not readily available like Suya.
39. Yam Porridge
Yam Porridge Is traditionally known as Asaro by the southwestern people of Nigeria. It is made using cut-up pieces of yam (mostly square-shaped), palm oil, vegetables, spices, salt, pepper, tomatoes, and other garnishing ingredients.
40. Jollof Rice
This dish is popular in West African countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, Togo, Gambia, Cameroon, Liberia, Mali, and Cote d’Ivoire. If you are socially inclined, you would know of the constant rivalry between Nigeria and Ghana over whose meal variation tastes best. It is a delicious dish made from rice and other added ingredients.
This is an Igbo special delicacy that consists of grated cassava, fermented African oil bean seed, palm oil sauce, vegetable, etc. It is popularly known as African salad and is served with peppered Pomo or Fish.
42. Beef Stew
This is a household delicacy in Nigeria. It is an easy-to-cook stew that uses different beef parts as its main ingredients, plus the tomatoes (grounded or paste) that are crucial to making the dish. It is used to eat cooked white rice, bread or boiled yam, etc.
43. Ofada Stew
Another type of stew in Nigeria, also called ‘Ayamase stew’ or ‘Designer stew.’ It is cooked with a combination of palm oil, green-colored pepper with onions, crayfish, seasoning cubes, and locust beans, giving it a distinct taste. It is usually used to eat Leaf Rice or just white rice.
44. White Rice
There is foreign and locally made rice. It is very popular among a lot of households in the country. It is eaten with Tomato or Pepper stew. White rice is arguably the most popular food in Nigeria. For most people, it is impossible to go a day without having it on the time table.
45. Banga Rice
This is a traditional Nigerian cuisine made from palm fruit and rice. It is very common in the southern and eastern states of the country.
46. Coconut Rice
Coconut rice Is a traditional cuisine made with rice and Coconut milk. Although not as common as white and jollof rice, the taste is always great. To make it even more lovely, you can serve it with crabs or pork.
47. Tuwo Shikanfa
This is a meal peculiar to the people of Northern Nigeria. It is a thick rice pudding usually eaten with Miyan Kuka and goat meat stew and fish.
Okpa is a very nutritious dish that originated from the eastern part of the country – particularly in Enugu state. It is made from Bambara nuts grounded in flour and mixed with hot water, pepper, palm oil, vegetables, and spices.
49. Plantain Pudding
Commonly known as Emieki or Ukpo Ogede, it is made from ripe plantain paste. When you think your overripe plantains are no longer good to consume, this is when the delicious Nigerian recipe, “Ukpo Ogede” saves the day.
50. Chin Chin
Chin chin is a Nigerian snack best described as fried diced cookies made from wheat flour, butter, and eggs.
51. Kuli Kuli
Kuli kuli is a crispy snack popular in many West African countries. The snack originate from the Nupe people, an ethnic group native to the Middle Belt of Nigeria. It is made from groundnut and is commonly used to drink garri.
This is roasted or deep-fried yam that is eaten with a sauce made with groundnut oil or palm oil with pepper, tomatoes, and seasoning. It is a common dish eaten by the Yoruba people.
53. Plantain Chips
This is a crunchy snack enjoyed by Nigerians. It is very popular and made with either ripe or unripe plantain fried in vegetable oil. Sometimes it is made with Potatoes – Potato chips.
Masa is a northern dish made from rice. Rice is soaked, ground, then Yoghurt is added to it and left to ferment. Most people add sugar and yeast to the mixture, but it is strictly by choice. The mixture is then filled into clay pots and heated. It is usually eaten with Miyan.
This is a Hausa or Fulani beverage drink made from millet, sorghum, maize, or a mixture of them all. It is a good alternative for any drink and can be very handy when you are so dried, no thanks to the hot sun.
This is also a northern Nigeria beverage made from pounded millet or sorghum with little addition of cow’s milk. The food is popular in the Northern part of Nigeria and remains one of the best Nigerian foods.
57. Puff Puff
This is an extremely popular Nigerian snack sold in so many retail outlets in the country. It is made from flour dough and deep-fried in groundnut oil. It is usually eaten with cold beverages or water.