Sweet, spicy, oily, leafy, slimy….there are so many flavours, textures and smells to Nigerian food that is not replicated in any other country in the world, and should you be lucky enough to find it in any of these countries, you can rest assured that there is some Nigerian masterminding it. And yes, Nigerian food is delicious too, or why else would our brothers and sisters in the diaspora be looking for ways to satisfy their cravings and ways to ram as many flavours from home in their suitcases whenever they are journeying between continents? Luckily, there are some Nigerian foods that have become so popular that finding their ingredients, or where they make it good is not an impossible mission. Here are 5 Nigerian foods that are popular around the world.
- JOLLOF RICE: But of course you knew jollof rice would top the list. Any stranger on social media who did not know about Nigerian cuisines, would have learnt from twitter that the almighty jollof rice is one meal Nigerians excel at making, and which Ghanaians are striving to perfect. (We didn’t say so, Twitter did). <<insert some popular tweets from the Nigeria – Ghana twitter wars >> . Jollof rice is a one-pot rice dish of the wollof tribe of Senegal/Gambia tribe in which rice is cooked In a spicy tomato sauce base. And if you haven’t heard of this glorious meal,is be sure to try it out, not just any type, but the Nigerian Party Jollof variety – smokey taste and all.
- PUFF PUFF: Puffpuff is a Nigerian snack that is as old, perhaps even older, than the county itself. Puffpuff are dough balls which are deep fried and delicious. And yes you can get ingredients to make puff puff basically anywhere in the world. And if you’re one for cooking, don’t go around asking for puffpuff at any pastry shop. In South Africa, they go by the nameMagwinya, and in France? Well… just tell them toJ’ai ma bring some beignets…that’s right… ‘Beignets’ /baynyay/
- SUYA: A specialty from the northern part of the nation, this street food can be almost be found on every street in the nation. Suya is a grilled spicy steak that is made with a combination of spices like ginger, garlic, ground kulikuli or groundnuts… and a host of other mouthwatering ingredients that make it a world favourite
- DODO: No, we don’t mean the dodo bird! Dodo is actually fried ripe plantains. These are eaten on their own or as aside to dishes like rice, beans, or fried eggs. As they say in Nigeria, if you can fry plantains without tasting them, you can’t be trusted.
- NOODLES: The brand of instant noodles made and sold in Nigeria is different from the ones sold worldwide. These ones have just the right amount of pepper and seasoning to suit any palate, and the most popular? You guessed right…Indomie. It helps too that some other countries have their own brand on Indomie noodles but the Nigerian variety is a league of its own..can we get an amen!
- PEPPERSOUP: Whether you’re down with a cold, watching a game over drinks, or recovering from just having had a baby, pepper soup is the one soup you won’t be turning away from. Pepper soup is a really light but tasty and spicy soup made with a combination of local spices, and protein of choice – beef, fish or chicken. One of the more popular types locally is the goat meat pepper soup or catfish pepper soup. The dish can be enjoyed with agidi/eko, bread, or boiled yams.
- Ayamashe/Ofada sauce: This sauce is the accompanying sauce to Nigeria’s native rice – the ofada rice. This stew has a wonderful taste and takes a unique process to make. The peppers are roughly blended, the palm oil used is bleached and there is an assortments of meats cut into small pieces that make this sauce into anyone’s favourite. Besides the more popular red variety, there is a green version made of unripe scotch bonnets and green peppers. White rice and stew VS Ofada rice and Ayamashe sauce? They are not mates at all?
- Agege Bread: It matters not whether it was baked in an Abuja bakery, or it was just served from a bakery in Yaba and loaded into the tray of an Olajumoke…Agege bread deserves to be one of the symbols of Nigerian national identity. This is an unsliced bread which is sold in transparent see-through unbranded nylons. Nearly every Nigerian grew up on the stuff, and it is still a regular on Nigerian tables. Best eaten with butter, eggs, or …you guessed right, EwaAgoyin. Of course even though it was made in Agege back in the days, it is made in different corners of the nation where it still goes by the name Agege bread!
Is there any Nigerian food you really love, and which you think deserves o be on this list? We’d love to hear from you!