Food, Travels, Arts & Culture

10 Popular Nigerian Street Food You Must Try

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Street food is an integral part of Nigerian culture, reflecting the nation’s love for food and fostering a sense of camaraderie among its people. Regardless of the season or location, there is always a street food option to suit everyone’s taste. To help you navigate the vibrant world of Nigerian street food, we have compiled a list of the top 10 must-try delicacies.

Grilled Meat (“Suya”)

Suya is a beloved national meat delicacy that roadside vendors primarily sell at night in Nigeria. It consists of succulent grilled beef or ram, accompanied by onions, cucumbers, cabbage, tomatoes, peppers, and cabbage. Served in a newspaper wrap, Suya is not only delicious but also a good source of iron and vitamins, bolstering the immune system.

Boiled Beans and Pepper Sauce (“Ewa Agoyin”)

“Ewa Agoyin” is a quintessential street food in Lagos, appealing to people from all social classes. The dish involves boiling beans until tender and mashable, which is then served with a spicy sauce made from bell peppers (tatashe), chili peppers, onions, and crayfish.

Agege Bread and Butter

Agege bread, named after a community in Lagos, holds a special place in the hearts of Nigerians. This soft, dense, and white bread is typically enjoyed with butter or paired with the delightful Ewa Agoyin.

Abacha

Abacha, also known as African salad, is a popular street food in the eastern part of Nigeria. It combines cassava and vegetables such as garden egg, onion, African oil bean seed (ugba), and “utazi” leaves. Abacha is further enriched with proteins like meat, fish, and crayfish.

Roasted Plantain or “Boli”

Plantains offer a versatile range of culinary possibilities, and one of the most beloved street food preparations is “Boli.” This involves roasting plantains until they acquire a delightful caramelized flavor. Boli is often served with a pepper sauce brimming with meat, cowskin (ponmo), and grilled fish. The significance of this dish is highlighted by the dedicated “Boli Festival.”

Maize

Maize takes center stage during the rainy season in Nigeria. Whether enjoyed alone, boiled or roasted, or paired with coconut or Nigerian pear (ube), maize offers a satisfying street food experience.

Akara

Akara, commonly known as bean fritters, is a crunchy, deep-fried bean cake. It is a vegetarian-friendly meal often eaten with bread or pap (a local Nigerian porridge). Best enjoyed hot for breakfast or as an evening snack, Akara is rich in protein and fiber, making it a popular choice for Muslims to break their fast during Ramadan when consumed alongside pap.

Moi Moi

Similar to Akara, Moi Moi is also made from beans. However, it is cooked differently, resulting in a tender texture. Moi Moi is typically garnished with eggs, fish, and crayfish. It can be prepared using nylon or the leaves of the miraculous fruit, which adds a distinct flavor to this delicious street food.

Roasted Yam

Yam holds a significant position in Nigerian cuisine, so much so that it is celebrated during the “New Yam Festival.” Roasted yam is a street food delicacy typically enjoyed with a beef-filled pepper sauce. Another popular variation of yam on the street is fried yam, known as “dundun” in Yoruba. Like roasted yam, it can be savored alone or with pepper sauce.

Puff-Puff

Puff-puff is a delectable, spongy, deep-fried brown snack made from a mixture of flour, yeast, butter, eggs, and vegetable oil. In certain regions, pepper is added to spice up the flavor. Puff-puff is best enjoyed during lunch or as an appetizer.

Although street food and fast food share convenience as a common characteristic, they are distinct concepts that should not be used interchangeably. Fast food is typically served by restaurants and local shops, offering quick delivery within minutes of ordering. Examples include shawarma, pizza, burgers, and fried chicken, which are relatively less accessible and more expensive compared to street foods.

Street foods, on the other hand, are sold by roadside vendors and are predominantly prepared using locally sourced ingredients. Consequently, street foods are more affordable and readily available. While both types of food can be unhealthy depending on ingredients and preparation methods, fast food often contains high amounts of sugar and fat, making it particularly detrimental for individuals with diabetes. In contrast, Nigerian street foods are often rich in vegetables, protein, and essential nutrients that are beneficial for the body.

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