You have not fully enjoyed your travel adventure if you didn’t eat the food available at your travel location. In all my travels within and outside Nigeria, I have noticed one thing common to all men. Everybody eats. So whenever I travel, apart from enjoying the Architecture and nature/people in a place, I try my best not to miss the local food.
People pay a lot to go on vacations and quite a number get there and continue to eat the familiar. Try something new. Its ’part of being adventurous.
Today’s blog post will focus on the local delicacies that I have enjoyed. I am writing from the angle of the man who just enters the food joint, points to the fish head or bush meat that he wants, washes his hands and sits down to enjoy his meal. I have not eaten everything in Nigeria so I may not be able to describe in details the different forms of food available or how they are prepared. I leave that to the food experts. If I do not mention your type of food don’t be offended. You can add that in the comments so that we can all learn and try it whenever we are privileged to see it
There are somethings you don’t argue about. You can’t debate the expertise of the Ibo man concerning “Nkwobi” a spicy soup usually made with cow leg. Or his skills when it comes to preparing correct “isi-ewu”, I mean goat head pepper soup. I am not talking of the commercial thing cooked in the cities. Go to the interior and let them give you the correct thing loaded with different spices.. You will leave the place with a big smile and have good dreams that night.
“African Salad“. Yes travel the East of Nigeria and let them give you “Ugba” and “Abacha”. It’s better than all these “fries” that people eat at fast food joints that is destroying their health.
The Yoruba’s know how to wake up your system with peppered stews. Anytime I travel to Abeokuta, I enjoy their “Ofada rice” because of the pepper. I just love it. Yes it makes my nose run and my lips burn, that’s the way forward.
At Yaba in Lagos, go to “white house” at Sabo opposite former Domino stores if I remember well. Eat Amala, pounded yam there. I can assure you that you will definitely want a repeat of the experience. You can thank or pay me for the tip later.
If you are a beans lover, I have not forgotten you. This reminds me of the days when I was living at Ijesatedo, Surulere. You want premium food. Go for “Ẹwà Aganyin”. “Na me send you” . Ẹwà Aganyin with its pepper sauce has no rival anywhere. If you now get the original Agege bread, you will agree that “life is good”. You can also combine it with fried plantain, yam and assorted meat.
Let’s move to Ibadan, ah don’t ever travel to Ibadan and not go to “Ìyá Alamala” Skyye Bank beside Bódìjà market. I beg you. Eat Amala, Ewedu and gbegiri and don’t forget to buy a piece or two of goat meat. It adds a distinct smell to the amala. If they have goat eye, you have a complete team that can win even the world cup. They will normally pour the soup inside the Amala. That is the traditional way. I always tell them to put the gbegiri and Ewedu in different bowls so thatI I can level each plate properly. These are the types of food you eat and you feel good and satisfied. Money well spent.
I am a Delta man and not a stranger to Eba and banga soup. Mmm, but nothing beats the yellow Eba and banga that I ate at Ekeremor, Southern Ijaw. At Buguma, the kind of native soup I ate , I can never forget. I mean native soup with mature “ngolo”, “ngbe” , stock fish, dry fish, periwinkles with crayfish. Don’t hate yourself. Show your life you love it. Try Rivers native soup if you travel to the Niger-Delta area.
In Port Harcourt, eat whatever you like but I beg you fellow travelers, please go to Circular road at Elekahia Estate and eat the Boli, pepper sauce and fish that is sold there. You won’t forget the experience.
The ijaws have a special food called “keke fieye “. It is made from Plantain, beans etc. The thought of it is making me hungry already. I am not an expert on food and nutrition. I can’t give you details but keep the name in your memory and maybe someday you will pay me for the advice.
Mmm, if you stop by at Warri please ask for goat pepper soup made in porridge dimension “ukodo”, or eat delicious Banga and Starch ( “Usi”). Yes you heard me well, starch, the same you use for starching your clothes. When mixed with palm oil and stirred the correct way, just look for banga soup to support it. You won’t regret it (Salivating). If there is no Banga, there is another soup called “owho” made from Palm oil. I mean these are delicacies you eat and you will not have anyone shouting over your shoulders “finish your food”.
Up there in Bauchi, Who can forget the Suya that I ate at Babale on Jos-Bauchi road. If you eat that Suya, you will not eat Suya elsewhere.
I used to think only the Èkìtì and Ijesha pounded yam so well. I don’t miss my share any time I travel through that zone. At Ado-Ekiti, how can I forget pounded yam and “okere” (squirrel) swimming in an egusi bowl. A friend told me that the way to know a well prepared pounded yam and okere is to watch the palms of the okere. If the okere is holding the pepper in its hands, that’s a sign you are ready for the ride of your life. (This got my wheels turning). Ok you don’t eat squirrel, ask for “ọmu eran” (goat breasts). Great combo with egusi and pounded yam.
At Benue, the pounded yam is another dimension. Man, it’s strong but after eating it, you are ok for the day. I mean, you can face even Goliath of Gath and you won’t panic. I can’t remember the name of the supportive soup anymore. I am sure if you are Tiv, Idoma etc you know what I am talking about .
As you go further North, from Funtua, Kano etc, taste their Tuwo Shinkafa. What of “Kilishi” and “balango” a different dimension of Suya. The aroma alone when it is being heated has no comparison anywhere in Nigeria. A Hausa friend mentioned “dambonama” Suya to me yesterday. He told me to try it in Kano when next I head up North. I can’t wait to go for it. . Whatever you do I beg you, don’t miss the yoghurt. How can you go from the South to the North and not drink original yoghurt.
Between Calabar and Uyo etc, White soup is another champion you must not miss.. I am not talking of “ofe nsala” that one has its own respect in the East no argument. I am talking of “afia fere” the Efik dimension. What of “Edikaikong” and the super “Afang” soup etc. For me, apart from the different meat/fish added please make sure they put “shaki” in my own if not the crew is not complete. I must however warn you that the hospitality, I mean courtesy with which they serve you may make you reluctant to go home again after eating.
Whatever you do or eat, please stay safe and eat healthy. What I wrote are just my experiences as at the last time I visited those places. So please use good judgement before you eat anywhere to avoid stories that touch the heart. The places mentioned didn’t ask or pay me to write about them. This is just what I know, so do what is best for you.
If you know about other delicacies that I didn’t mention, please write these in the comments section below. I highly value your comments because it helps me to know you read this post and also helps me to know if what I am writing is relevant to you.
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Happy eating, happy traveling.