Foods Eaten In Nigeria - About Rice and Yams, Nigeria's Most Important Staple Diets

What are common foods eaten in Nigeria? Nigerians have lots of foods which are grown and cultivated in the country. Although Nigerians grow foods like rice but like many other countries in the world, they import rice from countries like Thailand, Honkong and America.

I must be frank, it is definitely a hard task to persuade an average Nigerian to go slow on pounded yam, Eba, Akpu; Amala, Tuwo shinkafa, ground rice; farina and semolina to mention a few!

Yes, Nigerians have huge appetite for good food!

All the above mentioned diets are always eaten with various Nigerian ‘soups’ which includes Egusi, okoro, ogbono; ewedu, and then graduates to ‘Edika ekong’ the mother of all Nigerian soups.

If you have not eaten it, please endeavour to do so. To ask an average Nigerian to go slow on these diets is like asking Asians to go slow on Chapatti!

Yams - foods eaten in Nigeria

I have already described ‘Edika ekong’ soup on this website. Of course; any Nigerian can cook it if she/he has the money. Nigerian wise saying says, “Good soup na moni makam!”

Generally, foods eaten in Nigeria are tasty and all Nigerian soups are really mouth-watering and finger-licking! I’m sure I have written this nearly all over this website about foods eaten in Nigeria but I can’t help it and I pray you can forgive me. You eat pounded yam and its chosen soup with hands. It’s sacrilegious to eat it with forks and knives hence the phrase ‘finger-licking!’ An average Nigerian likes to eat “Fufu” after a hard day’s job! Fufu in Nigerian terminology means anything that can be rounded and swallowed with soups!

To be sincere, an average Nigerian doesn’t seem to care about food values and it’s content, for example ‘starch’ or’ carbohydrates’ “Man must wak!” This phrase also means that a man has to eat! He doesn’t care as long as that is called food and is eatable.

An average Nigerian farmer in the rural areas or village who can’t make ends meet will be lucky to enjoy any meal when he/she sees one and will never listen to such ritualistic gospel about food values. It is not uncommon to see a villager who has not eaten four pieces of cooked red meat in six months.

Even if he successfully catches an animal (rabbit or bush meat) in his trap, he wouldn’t eat it.

He would prefer to sell the carcass of the animal to people who can afford to buy it and pay him some money.

You may wonder why you can see a villager who has never eaten at least four pieces of meat in six months.

The reason is because he can’t afford such luxury. Only rich and affluent people can afford such luxury. An average he-goat reared in Northern part of Nigeria nicknamed ‘Dankassa’cost between 15-20 thousand Niara which is between £75-£85! However, a few can afford some fresh and dry fishes which are available.

There are assorted poultry from chicken to turkey, geese, to guinea fowls but once again, only the rich people can afford them! There are pigs, cows, lambs in every Nigerian markets, but once again they are for the rich not for the poor farmer or even civil servants.

Who talks about eating red meat and the so-called cholesterol. Naturally, and economically, an average Nigerian is safe and sound when people talk about ‘fats’ and ‘cholesterol.’ To be sincere, poverty can sometimes be a blessing in disguise as it protects them from all these western world scourges like obesity!

An average Nigerian in comparison with his counterparts in the western world is always slim-fit and has no need for weight-watching! Nigerians are noted for eating food as means of sustaining life, and boost the energy especially after a hard day’s activities.

Dairy products/diets

You will hardly find these on a list of foods eaten in Nigeria. It is a pity many Nigerians do not drink fresh milk compared with people in the western world. Sadly, dairy farming is unheard of in many rural areas and villages. Most Nigerians enjoy drinking canned or tinned milk like ‘peak milk’ which they use for their teas and coffees. Even though Nigeria grows soya beans but only rarely can one find fresh soya milk.

Yams and rice are Nigerian staple diets

Yam tubers are grossly grown and cultivated in Nigeria in millions! Nearly everybody in Nigeria cultivate yams (see picture) and they are among the most popular foods eaten in Nigeria. There are equally great yam farmers who have made some fortunes including obtaining chieftaincy titles like ‘Ezeji’ or Eze-Ogbuji’ especially in Ibo land!

Many Nigerian farmers have grown so rich that they have many yam bans not only to sell locally but export to other neighbouring countries as well as to Europe.

Yam is important as well as cheap. That makes it possible for every Nigerian to cultivate or buy them at any given moment. Yams can be eaten as yam pottage, roasted, fried, boiled and pounded; boiled with beans, eaten with rice. Pounded yams, fried yams are more frequently eaten! It can also be boiled with spinach, with pumpkins. For special gourmet eating, the yam pottage can be cooked with all kinds of meat, dry or fresh fishes and various seasonings.

Rice is equally one of the most important of all Nigerian staple diets. There are many kinds or types of Nigerian rice dishes which I will show later on this website. I will equally demonstrate how they are cooked, presented and eaten.

Learn more about foods eaten in Nigeria.

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