Nigerian food market is always full of varieties of foods!



I love to wade into Nigerian food markets and most importantly, to have the excitement to bargain for prices. There is no price tag on any given commodity. It is a question of 'Higgling and Haggling! An average seller is seen and the buyer is also seen all in persons. There are always pleasant atmosphere of smiles and free happy exchange of words during the bargains.

The most exciting thing is the person to person 'Talk to me, I talk to you' physical attitude unlike what you see in the western world.


You can name them, I have been there! From local Morning to Afternoon and to Evening food markets I have enjoyed being there! From my village food market in Nempi to Orie Omuma, Afor Akata, to Ahia Okporo, Orlu, Amucha; Umuowa Ekwe and to Eke Ututu. I have equally attended various food markets in many capital cities of Nigeria like Calabar, Onitsha, Port Harcourt, Aba, Owerri, Ihiala, Benin city, Umuahia; Ore, Ibadan, Kano, Jos and Lagos to mention a few!


The great thing about Nigerian food markets are the fact that they are Homogenous in principle! By that, I mean that once you see one, you have seen them all! At any given Nigerian food market, you can easily spot or find the butchers as they are busy cutting several pieces of meat in open stalls exposed to all sorts of dusts, insects and flies.

Generally there are wholesale and retail smoked fish sellers stalls where you can easily see up to 50 people selling smoked or dried fishes also in open stalls once again exposed to all sorts of insects and flies. Wading from from Smoked fish sellers' stalls, you can move to sellers of food condiments from salt, pepper,fresh tomatoes, fluted pumpkin leaves, bitter leaves and all other kinds of leaves; groundnut oil, to onion sellers.

Most Onion sellers in average Nigerian food markets are 'Hausa people'. The reason is that onions are generally and naturally grown in the Northern parts of Nigeria than the Western, southern or Eastern parts.The climate is conducive for the onion farming.

As you wade through these, you can come face to face with Garri Sellers, foreign and local rice sellers, beans and raw groundnut sellers as well. Then you move to raw fermented Cassava sellers the former generally called 'Akpu' You buy the raw akpu or buy cooked ones which saves you the time. Most of these are wrapped in polytin bags. Only a few cassava sellers are in stalls they generally display their merchandise on the floor supported by banana leaves.

Assorted fresh fruits and vegetables are sold in large quantities in any food market in Nigeria and most of these are organic from pineapples, to bananas, guava to oranges, mangoes, apples, pears, carrots, spinach, cucumber; garden eggs; gourds to melon and cauliflower etc.

Then you can comfortably wade into open areas where life animals such as goats, lambs, pigs, poultry chicken including guinea fowls and bush fowls are sold. You can find local grown goats and lambs as compared with those grown in the Northern Nigeria. The Northern Nigerian grown goats are very expensive,and the meat are not sweet, fatty or tender compared with local reared ones whose meat are not only tender, but succulent and cheap in price.

In the butchers' stalls, you can see several butchers selling assorted types or different types of carcasses of goats, Llama, bush meat, lambs, pigs, sheep; beef etc. Generally, all Nigerian food markets that sell meat are exposed to dusts, flies and insects. The question of lack of hygiene is definitely lamentable!

From the time I was born many years ago to today, Nigerian meat sellers have always been the same from one market to the other. It is sad that no Nigerian Government have ever done something about this unhygienic attitude and situation up to this time I'm writing this article!

It looks like there is nothing anyone can do about it. You could feel like swearing at these butchers as you watch them fight with a profusion of flies, the small one, their fathers and their grandfathers! It is sad and deplorable.

The so called food inspectors, can't do anything about the situation once they receive their bribes! Yes, they are heavily bribed by the butchers both in money and in 'legs of goats' and lambs.

The worst, is the so called Llama meat sold in Nigerian food markets which the butchers soak in water. This practice makes a pound of meat to look and feel heavy to the tune of 2 or 3 pounds in weight. This sort of meat is grossly not only hard to cook but also hard to eat and have virtually no taste! Unfortunately nobody has ever said or done anything about this practice of water logging Llama meat over several years now.

Nigerian butchers do not sell their meat by weighing them in weight scales. They are sold by bargains and haggling bids.

In an average Nigerian markets, apart from the people selling their commodities in stalls, the majority of the foods are being hawked by people who carry the foods on their heads as well as those who spread and display their wares on mats on the respective market floors.

Like I have said the bad thing about Nigerian food markets have so much to do with lack of hygiene. But to be sincere, you can enjoy wading through any given Nigerian markets and equally enjoy wonderful atmosphere of free bargaining and free person to person smiles and laughter second to none!

In Nigerian food market you don't have anything like expiry date. It is a question of 'Buyer beware attitude' You may not return any food you bought and expect the seller to give you the money back. 'That will be over his dead body! the seller will swear. In average Nigerian food markets you can see every food stuff sold at rock bottom prices including Nigerian Breadfruit, coco yams and yams.

As yam is one of the most prominent staple diet, you can always see massive open air and stall occupied by yam sellers. And Nigerian Yams are one of the best in the world. They are as good as those from countries like Brazil. Bunches of green and ripped Plantains and bananas are sold openly and some hawked by carrying them on the heads. Fresh corns, or maze, local pears (ube) cooked or roasted groundnuts are all abundantly sold in Nigerian food markets.

Are you really hungry? If you are really hungry, don't worry about it because in every Nigerian food market there are many 'quicky restaurants' or nicknamed "Mama put" stalls where you can comfortably sit and enjoy 'Mamaput' dishes or foods from eba gari to pounded yam and soup, rice and beans with soups, Tuwo, Amala with ewedu the supply is always in exhaustible!

I love 'mamaput' dishes and I always make sure I eat one as the son of the soil any time I'm in Nigeria. I grew with that beautiful habit!

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