Nigerian food comes in different tastes, dishes, snacks, meal drinks or drinks, with different recipes used by different tribes or ethnic groups.
Most of the popular Nigerian foods we know today are not only consumed by the ethnic groups to which the food is peculiar to, they have even become an everyday food in Nigeria.
Top 28 Most Popular Nigerian Food of All Time
In this article I’ve gathered the popular Nigerian foods, how they’re are prepared and pictures to to help you get a feel of what each looks like.
The list of popular Nigerian food would never be complete without mentioning rice. Let’s not go into which tribe it is peculiar to (because I don’t know, left for me it’s a “no tribe’s food”) as the food is consumed in virtually all Nigerian homes, both rich and poor.
Rice can be prepared as jollof rice, white rice, fried rice, etc. Whatever version you want. This food has a stronghold on Nigerians, hence its popularity.
This Nigerian food is produced from cassava. Let’s get real, this food is said to have been saving Nigeria from hunger or starvation since God knows when.
It does not take time to prepare, IJEBU GARRI has been recommended over time with cold water, groundnut, sugar (optional) and milk (optional).
Soaked garri can be taken with anything from groundnut, Kuli Kuli to coconut and others. It is also used to make Eba or garri, whatever name you prefer, which you can eat with any soup of your choice. There is the white version and the yellow or red version.
I really can’t say which tribe this popular Nigeria staple is peculiar to and I won’t even try. It can be taken at home, at joints or at ceremonies, it is that popular.
Pepper soup has its versions of chicken, beef, catfish, goat meat. Some add yam to it or plantain but the most important thing that is noticed about it, is that it is hot!.
You would want to take pepper soup with a chilled drink..(I’m sure you know that already).
This north central cuisine is also known as “oghwo anuedi” in the urhobo language and “izuwo ibiedi” in the isoko language. Its name can be said to be coined from its main ingredient, banga (Palm fruit).
The soup is prepared using the oil extracted from the Palm fruit, vegetables, beef, etc. The Palm fruit oil used is quite different from the Palm oil.
While both are extracted from the Palm fruit, the former is extracted at lower temperature while the latter, at high temperature.
It is mainly consumed with swallows, especially Usi (starch) and Eba. You might want to check out Dooneyskitchen.com for more on how to prepare banga soup
Hmmm…let’s give it up for the “Efiks and Calabars” and “igbos”. There are two versions to this soup, the Efiks and the Igbos version.
This is the Efiks and Ibibios version of the white soup, it’s ingredients include Uyayak pod, chicken (although goat meat can be used), ehu seeds (local nutmeg), dry pepper, achi, etc. There are cool places on the web for the recipe.
The Igbo version of this Nigerian food uses fresh catfish (modifications can be made to yours), utazi, uziza, ogiri, etc.
Both versions use yam and other recipes as thickener but do not use Palm oil as this will change the color of the soup, and it won’t be white soup anymore.
Igbo kwenu, as usual na, our nnes will forever have their version of everything including food. OFE AKU is the Igbo version of BANGA soup, OFE meaning soup and AKU, banga, while some people call it BANGA STEW.
The Nigerian recipe of this food include, definitely, Palm fruit as the main ingredient, and other ingredients like ogiri, crayfish, onions (optional). Unlike the BANGA SOUP, OFE AKU can be used to eat boiled rice, etc.
OFE ORA, as igbos would call it, is also a popular Nigerian food.
OHA leaves been its major ingredient that distinguishes it from other soups is popularly eaten with Poundo cocoyam, though it can be eaten with other swallows.
Trust me when I say once you have tasted this soup, you want it every day.
This Yoruba food which is a main vegetable dish in the Yoruba land has a common vegetable, èfó shoko used for it.
Other ingredients include iru , Ponmo, onions, dried fish and…hmm…lemme stop here. You should meet Aunty Dunni for her recipe.
If you have not eaten this Nigerian food, you are wrong. I tried this out when I was In camp during NYSC. Hulala!
This vegetable soup, peculiar to the people of Akwa-Ibom and Cross River especially the Efik-Ibibios, is packed with nutrient, and common ingredient you’ll find in this soup is Perewinkles.
Quite popular, Edikang Ikong soup is expensive and cooking it is special and Classy!
Related: 5 quick tips to healthy eating
This is another nutrient packed vegetable food in Nigeria. Afang soup is prepared with the combination of AFANG leaves (ukazi / okazi leaves, as it is popularly called) and water leaf.
Spinach can be used as substitute. Other ingredients like crayfish, meat, etc are added too. The soup is also peculiar to the Efiks who are also good at cooking this nutrient packed soup.
EGUSI soup, irrespective of it’s various versions is made of fat and protein rich melon seeds.
From its name, this Nigerian food uses EGUSI as its main ingredient. There is the vegetable version which uses spinach leaves, pumpkin leaves or leaves of your choice in boiled lumps or fried thick paste of dry grounded egusi.
Also, we have the non-vegetable version that uses wet milled egusi seeds that is cooked at moderate consistency and consumed with ewedu or okra.
Its translation in English is BITTERLEAF SOUP. It’s name alone have those with sweet tooth running for cover but quite the opposite.
This eastern Nigerian food is cooked with properly washed bitter leaves and cocoa yam, among other ingredients, and doesn’t taste bitter after cooking.
If you have eaten it and it tastes bitter then it wasn’t cooked properly (yikes…hope that wasn’t too blunt?) or it was one’s preferred taste of the soup.
Also known as bush mango, some of its history or myth can be traced to Asaba where it is claimed to be forbidden.
Although there are still debates on which tribe own the soup, irrespective of that, it is a Nigerian food and we love it.
OGBONO is a draw soup with preparation varying depending on preferences. While some can cook and consume it plain, others included vegetables like ugwu (pumpkin leaves) or bitter leaf or both.
Okra is also included at times. It is mostly consumed with swallows like fufu, amala, Eba, etc.
This is a draw soup like OGBONO though seedy, and can be cooked plain to be used in eating some plain soup and stew.
It can also be cooked in a more exotic Yoruba way, ILA ALASEPO. The Hausas too cook it, dried okra soup, MIYAN BUSHESHEN KUBEWA. Either ways, okra is a popular food in Nigeria that all tribes consume.
15Gbegiri (Beans Soup)
Gbegiri is a beans based Yoruba food, that takes detailed process to make. There is no rush about this soup but don’t worry, your efforts will be rewarded in multiple folds.
It is little wonder why Lagos kitchen and Iya foyoke have people queuing for amala and gbegiri. Visit Sisi Jemimah for recipe or you can also go to that buka mama to give you some tips.
Miyan Kuka is a soup partial and popular to the northern Nigerians especially. It is also called “luru”.
It is prepared using grounded baobab leaves that is cooked with other ingredients. This nutritious soup is greenish in color and while some like and love it, some dislike it.
You should check out a dedicated post on preparing Miyan Kuka by NorthlifeNg.
This Nigerian food is a vegetable soup having its main ingredient as the yakuwa leaves unlike MIYAN TAUSHE. It’s tangy in taste and it is majorly taken by the Hausa’s.
Miyan Yakuwa is eaten with tuwo shinkafa or masara, and you can also try it with swallow of your choice or whatever you want.
Miyan Taushe is a food in Nigeria peculiar to the northerners. It is prepared using ripe pumpkin and yakuwa or sorrel leaves (this kind of leaf with its tangy taste also contribute to the unique taste of this soup).
Also dawadawa amongst other ingredients is used in preparing the MiyanTaushe. The vegetable used in this soup doesn’t have a substitute.
19Fura Da Nono
This is a meal drink with original recipe from the northerners, fulanis. The FURA is made from millet only, though some people use a combination of soybeans and millet.
While the NONO is raw or locally fermented cow milk, it is not as thick as yoghurt. This Nigerian food has become popular with its high protein content, amongst other nutrients.
The Fura balls (made from blended millet and spices and cooked then moulded into balls) is crushed and mixed into the milk and served in a calabash…how traditional.
Some Hausas recommend it for adding weight or flesh (shh…its a secret). Visit kitchen butterfly for recipe.
This Nigerian food is a pottage prepared by wrapping grated “coco yam” or “coco yam and water yam” in coco yam leaves and cooked.
The dish is peculiar to the south-south (the Efiks and Ibibios). Although the coco yam leaves can be substituted with potato leaves or ugwu leaves or spinach.
The Ijebu pottage is prepared using grated water yam and other ingredients like assorted meats, smoked fish, palm oil, pepper, etc. but it is not wrapped in leaves like the EKPANG NKUKWO.
Also known as African salad and originates from the eastern part of Nigeria, it is dried shredded well-cooked cassava tubers. It is eaten in homes, ceremonies, etc.
23Tuwo Shinkafa and Tuwo Masara
These are swallows consumed as food in Nigeria. They are popular Hausa food with tuwo shinkafa prepared from rice, and tuwo masara, prepared using corn flour. They can be used to eat any Nigerian soup
You can call it “Igbo asun” as it contains mainly meat (cow legs) cooked in spicy sauce and vegetable. It is a dessert peculiar to the easterners.
Moi moi, is a Nigerian food that can be traced to the Yorubas. It is prepared from mixture of wet milled peeled beans and onions and pepper, garnished with fish, beef, liver, etc. and steamed, though some people bake it.
Ever heard of the combination of jollof rice and Moi moi at the owambes, especially? I did wonder if these two were inseparable till I started seeing other combination of this dish with pap (akamu or koko), bread.
There is the nylon version, leave wrapped version (moi moi elewe) and the tin version (moi moi alagolo), it keeps having upgrades and styles. I mean, what a dish!! It could be eaten as a main dish or side dish.
Àkàrà, as it is called by the Yorubas, kosai, by the Hausas is the fried version of beans paste unlike the steamed moi moi.
It has its traditional significance, when a person of old age dies, it is prepared and distributed around, till date.
It is also a street food, a home made snack that can be eaten anytime with bread, pap, etc.
This Nigerian food is so popular and it has a mixed origin. EWA is the Yoruba translation for beans, while, AGOYIN is said to be the name of the area and people to where the origin of the food can be traced (Cotonou).
It can be prepared at home (easy when you have a pressure cooker) and it is sold by food vendors or food hawkers. It can be eaten with bread, yam, potato, etc.
28Mei Shai Food
Talk about indomitable and egg or bread and fried egg, hmmm….at that aboki’s stand. If you like call it the food of the masses but who cares?
Meshai Food popular among Nigerians and we are not shy to eat it. It can be garnished with suya or whatever you want, some have even touched it up by adding carrots, green peas and other veggies.
Either way, if you have never tried it, your nationality is questioned. Oh! You can prepare it at home too, some of us are even better than some mei shai.
And there you have it! A complied list of popular, mouthwatering nutritious and delicious popular foods in Nigeria.
Which of these popular Nigerian foods can you cook? Let’s see the Nigerian cooks in the house. Kindly drop your comments below.