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Here’s Your Ultimate Guide To Nigerian Street Food

Street food in Nigeria is a little bit more than just a casual snack. It’s a marker of culture, location and so much more. Across the country, every state and even local government have their local street foods that are native to that region but nowhere is the beauty of Nigeria’s street food more apparent than in Lagos. The commercial capital of Nigeria boasts of a rich fusion of Nigerians from across every ethnic tribe as well as some street foods that are local to just Lagos.

Getting to know the street foods available is key to choosing the right one of your taste pallet and the occasion because whether it’s eating roasted spicy meat strips at night or plantains roasted over a fire and eaten with a spicy tomato sauce or dried shredded cassava eaten with fish the options are near endless.

Here is a guide to some of the most popular street foods and where to find them.



Nigerian street marketPhoto by BENSON IBEABUCHI/AFP via Getty Images

​Abacha ​

Nigerians have so many amazing ways you can eat cassava. You can make garri from it, you can slice and boil it and make tapioca or you could buy the dried shredded cassava that is often hawked in Nigeria’s big cities called abacha. This eastern delicacy is readily available almost anywhere you turn and especially in traffic where the hawkers are always ready to wrap it up and serve with leaves, fried fish, and palm oil sauce. It’s perfect for when you’re on your way back just before dinner because abacha sellers tend to hang around sometime between early afternoon and early evening.

Where to get it:

Abacha Lounge, 27 Awoniyi Elemo Street: If you need a place to get your abacha fix without leaving your house, this is the one.

Jevenik Restaurant, 14B Agoro Odiyan Street: The served portions are so huge and worth every single penny you’ll pay, take it from me.

Suya

Suya is arguably the most popular street food in Nigeria and can be found in almost every state. To prepare it, suya sellers roast tiny strips of beef over a fire on the streets and spice with pepper, yaaji, and several other spices and sold wrapped in old newspaper. It is usually sold around late evenings to midnight. However, many new restaurants have now added this popular street food to their menus meaning it can be bought any time in the day now. Despite this, there’s a popular joke in Nigeria that the real flavor of suya comes from the night and old newspaper wrappings so to enjoy suya at its more flavorful best it is best to buy it from a vendor sometime between 9 pm and 11 pm on a street corner.

Where to get it:

Glover Court, 37 Glover Road: Glover court is a huge favorite amongst Lagosians especially if you are on Lagos Island.

University of Suya, 62 Allen Avenue: Just by the name, you can tell it is essentially the suya capital of Lagos. It’s the best if you want the authentic Nigerian suya experience in all its glory.

Bolé

Although bolé is available across the Western part of Nigeria where it is often called boli, the people in Port Harcourt claim to be something of a state dish as they also have the bolé festival. Bolé meal consists of plantain uncut and roasted over a grill and served with a palm oil sauce with sliced peppers and tomatoes and roasted fish. However, boli in Lagos and other Western parts of Nigeria can sometimes serve it with roasted groundnuts.

Where to eat:

Boléboxx, 5 Emma Abimbola Cole Street: Getting your order might be a bit stressful but it is definitely worth the wait to experience bolé as it is meant to be experienced.

Corn

Because corn is harvested at particular times a year, it isn’t readily available on the street corners unlike every other street food on this list. However, for the few months that it is – usually between August and November – it is a favorite. During the months, corn can be found in almost every street corner. The most popular ways of preparing it are either to boil several in a pot or roast it over a fire and serve with ube – local pears. It’s very common to see giant pots in many streets as people sell boiled corn or makeshift grills belonging to the sellers selling roasted corn. But as a pro-tip, to enjoy eating corn you need a side snack and the best things to accompany corn are coconuts and roasted ube – local pear.

Where to get it:

Unlike some of the others, most restaurants don’t sell corn on a cob so it’s best to simply go out in the streets during the months it is available in Nigeria and find a street vendor.

Akara

Where most people in the Western part of the world consider cereal to be the go-to breakfast meal, in most parts of Nigeria that honor goes to akara. The well-loved breakfast item is made from deep frying black-eyed bean paste and is usually sold on the streets in the early hours of the day or late at night. Akara is very versatile and can be eaten with bread, traditionally prepared corn pap, custard, and pretty much anything that suits your fancy.

Where to get it:

MegaChicken, has several outlets in Lagos: MegaChicken, a very popular fast food franchise in Lagos, sells this however, nothing quite beats buying akara straight out of the frying pan from someone selling it on the street.

Kuli-Kuli 

This peanut snack is often sold in little plastic bags and can come in myriad shapes. Kuli-Kuli can be found in Lagos and other states across Nigeria but it is most common in the Northern part of Nigeria where it is a regular snack. If you like peanuts, then this snack made out of dried peanut with a dash of spice is the one for you.

Where to get it:

Kuli-Kuli is very popular and you can get it at almost any supermarket you step into.

Moi-Moi

Moi-moi stands in-between the worlds of snack and actual food. It can be eaten as a whole snack or a side dish with jollof rice. Much like akara, it is made from black-eyed bean paste but instead of being deep-fried, it is cooked with steam. However, unlike akara, moi-moi isn’t often found in street corners but is usually hawked around by sellers who have it wrapped either in banana leaves or tin foil. While many restaurants sell moi-moi, perhaps more so than any other food on this list, nothing beats moi-moi wrapped in banana leaves sold inside the market.

Where to get it:

Chicken Republic, has several outlets in Lagos: This very popular food franchise in Nigeria also makes some of the best and most popular moi moi in Lagos, and not only can you find an outlet anywhere and everywhere, you can also place an order from your phone easily.

Bukka Hut, has several outlets in Lagos: If you want the full moi-moi experience complete with the banana leaves used in wrapping it, the Bukka Hut is your best for moi-moi. Similar to Chicken Republic, Bukka Hut is very popular and has outlets almost everywhere.

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