Although there are many street foods in Nigeria, these ten stand out, not just because they are delicious but the long queues in terms of demands associated with them.
The king of street food in Nigeria, suya is a popular Nigerian barbecued meat – beef, goat, even chicken, that is sold by the roadside and junctions.. Its popular vendors are Hausa men. One striking thing is the time of the day associated with this food – Suya is sold only at night although the mystery behind this is still unknown. It is sold in different forms either on a stick or diced into pieces. Infact, some wrap it in bread and the combination is heated in the same fire. Suya is enjoyed when mixed with onions, tomatoes, and other suitable veggies – cucumber and cabbage being the new additions and wrapped in paper. It is often eaten with garri, bread or added to food such as noodles and spaghetti.
Akara is a deep fried bean ball made with grounded beans mixed with pepper, onions and other spices. It is called “Kosai” in the northern part of Nigeria. The versatility of Akara is unparalleled. It can be eaten with bread, pap, Garri, to mention a few. It is also often sold with sauce, or yagi ( suya pepper).
Something you’ll also observe with vendors that fry akara is that they also sell other local fries. These include fried yam, fried potatoes and fried plantain; these are eaten with fried sauce, fried meat, fried fish, pomo, etc.
Noodles, fondly called “indomie” by Nigerians has become a staple food in the country since its introduction in the mid 90s. Now, it has gone beyond homes to be prepared by roadsides. Popularised by northern vendors called ‘Mashayi’ who sell in kiosks, this business is being practised by not just men from other tribes but also women. The food is accompanied with fried egg and sometimes eaten with bread. To spice it, others add veggies such as pumpkin leaves (Ugwu), cabbage, carot, etc.
Ewa Agoyin is a delicious cooked bean dish served with locally made spicy stew. Often sold by vendors who hawk it around the streets, this special bean is popularly combined with a special Nigerian bread called Agege Bread. When you see a seller of Ewa-Agoyin, you can be sure of seeing this special local bread.
One good thing about this delicacy is that it is loved by both the rich and poor, bridging a gap between all social classes. The meal is accessible and affordable for the poor, the middle class, and the rich.
This food was made popular by the people of Eastern Nigerian. It is often referred to as “Nigerian salad”. Abacha is simply dried and shredded cassava while Ugba, on the other hand, is fermented African oil bean seed. Abacha is often eaten with kpomo, fish and utazi leaf – a special vegetable popular with the Easterners. This delicacy is highly nutritious.
Corn in either roasted or boiled form is common street food during the rainy season and served with an African pear called Ube or eaten with coconuts. This highly nutritious combination is seen on the streets of many Nigerian cities especially Eastern and Western parts of Nigeria.
African pear is an excellent source of vitamins C and E, which are antioxidative in nature, while corn is a good source of pantothenic acid, phosphorus, niacin, dietary fibre, manganese and vitamin B6. Coconut is high in manganese and good for bone health.
Also known as Masa, Waina is a street snack popular with the Hausa. They refer to it as rice puff puff as it has a dough-like form. It is a dish that can be prepared with soaked white Maize or local Rice. It is eaten with Suya , sauce or suya pepper. It is a widely accepted delicacy, eaten by people of different classes, regardless of age and sex. This local dish is consumed differently, sometimes as an appetiser, sometimes as a snack and sometimes on its own right as the main meal, in which case there would be no further meal after it has been eaten.
Okpa is a delicious delicacy popular in the Eastern part of Nigeria, especially in Enugu state. Okpa has equally won the hearts of people. It has a unique taste and is usually filling, made from bambara flour and its taste is divine. Other names for Okpa are Igba and Ntucha.
Roasted plantain is called many names in Nigeria but the most popular is ‘Boli’; just like its counterpart, roasted yam, it is one of the most delicious street foods in Nigeria. These roasted meals are eaten with different food, depending on the area of the country they are eaten. In Rivers State, roasted plantain/yam is eaten with fish stew or plain smoked fish, with shredded Uziza leaves. In some parts of the West & East, roasted plantain is eaten with roasted groundnut, while the roasted yam is eaten with palm oil or sauce which has pomo, beef or even fish.
In the past, shawarma was seen as a rich-man’s snack, and sold in eateries. However, these days, shawarma has gained lots of popularity on the streets of Nigeria, especially in many urban places. They are sold on roadsides with kiosks designed with attractive designs to attract customers, and sold at very affordable rates.
It is a food made from ingredients like shawarma bread, sausage, mayonnaise cream, grounded pepper, diced chicken, etc.