Nigerians and food are two entities that cannot be separated. If the citizens love one thing, it is food. Nigerian food is known to take many shapes, textures, and flavours. Nigerian food recipes are the hardest to filter through because each person adds their own personal twist or touch to Nigerian delicacies that you can only strive to learn the basic recipe and become a master of your own. learning how to cook Nigerian food is one thing but knowing how to make Nigerian street food at home is a talent. Street food in Lagos is a national favourite because the state’s population breeds more street food vendors. Nigeria would be incomplete without street food. Citizens of Nigeria are always on the move or in a hurry, therefore, street food becomes more relevant. It is fast, easy, testing and filling.
Suya is simply spicy meat skewers and is a popular street food in West Africa. This spicy street food is originally made by the Hausa people of northern Nigeria, Niger, Ghana, and Cameroon, no other person does it better. Aboki, are they are popularly called are part of every community in Nigeria there is a suya man in every market, estate or province. Some streets have suya vendors lined up. Suya is not always on a stick or strictly beef, you can make suya with anything, chicken, fish, kidney, gizzard, liver, tripe and more. The preparation of suya is magical. The meat is marinated in spices made of a mix of different spices, barbequed for hours served in newspapers with onions and yaji spice. This street food has given birth to its own spice mix called yaji, some people also call it suya pepper.
Akara is the easiest street food to make at home. Its ground beans batter deep fried in a ball-like shape. In English, you can call akara bean cake. Akara is a national favourite and it’s best served with pap for Saturday breakfast. A food that was once part of sacred Yoruba tradition over the years, has been normalized to become street food. In preparation the beans are washed, ground/blended into a paste consistency, salt is added to taste and you can add pepper and onions too for more flavour. The paste is deep fried into balls until brown. In the streets, akara is popularly eaten with bread.
Puffpuff is what its name implies, it is flour puff. Puff-puffs are made of dough containing flour, yeast, sugar, butter, salt, water and eggs and deep fried in vegetable oil until a golden-brown colour. After frying, puff puff can be rolled in sugar, drizzled with honey and more. This mega street food is best sold on weekends and the best part about it is its puffy nature. It is sweet and filling. Puff-puff is a staple on Nigerian streets, parties and even small chops.
Dundun is fried yam or sweet potatoes. This street food comes alive from the afternoon to the late night. It is served with a fried pepper sauce called ata dindin. The smell of dundun is inviting, and it sells out fast. It is sold at street corners and closes, it is tasty and filling. Nigerians love food and it is only normal to see a large crowd buying dundun.
Bole/ Roasted Plantain
Bole is roasted plantain. Bole, as it is called in southern Nigeria, is priceless. This street food is sold coincidentally at street gates and corners. The plantain is roasted slowly and sold with groundnut. Bole is done with either ripe or unripe plantain as different people like different things. Bole is the best remedy for a long day at the market, shopping for fabric.
Roasted corn is another lovely street food sold popularly in southern Nigeria but is a national best choice. Roasted corn can be eaten anywhere and everywhere. The dark orange and black roast colour combination are also aesthetically pleasing. Just like any other street food, roasted corn is sold by the roadside, in the markets in newspapers. It is often roasted along with a pear like street food called ube. It can also be eaten almost anywhere, at home, on the bus, etc.
Gala has been saving lives for years. It is a street sausage roll that became famous for being sold in traffic. It is the market leader in the Sausage roll market and has become a generic name. A hunger stopper that can be taken in between meals. There are two variants: Sausage roll and the Cocktail Gala-a variant ideal for picnics and parties. Though super unhealthy, Nigerians are going to eat it anyway.
Guguru & Epa (Groundnuts/ Peanuts & Popcorn)
Guguru and Epa are simply peanuts and popcorn tossed together. It is a popular street food in Nigeria and is often eaten as a snack. The combination of the sweet popcorn flavour and nutty peanuts is what makes it lovable and widely eaten. Over time the street food has become more popular and is now more available than it used to be. It is also very addictive.
African pear popularly called ube is the popular unpopular sidekick of roasted corn. The small purple tube-like pear is so fascinating as it is deep purple and grey on the outside and bright green on the inside. Pear is best served hot with a sprinkle of salt. The African pear may seem tasteless however, it is a rich source of nutrients and flavour. It is that street food that nobody really knows its actual name.
Ojojo deserves more accolades that it gets. Ojojo is just like akara but it’s made with water yam instead. The water yam is ground or blended into a paste consistency batter. Onions, salt, crayfish, and pepper are added to the mix and it is deep fried like dumplings. The result is beautiful. Ojojo is best enjoyed when it is hot, freshly fried with cold water. It can be served at home, at parties but its best served on the street.