By Chinelo Ngene
The Nigerian traveller is always on the move, ready to take the next bus or flight to his destination as quickly as possible. Little wonder why Nigerians love food that’s easy to make and packs enough calories to get them through a busy day. So I have put together a list of these delicacies the Nigerian traveller just can’t do without.
1. Ofada Rice
Ofada rice is a locally grown version of the regular rice we eat. It is unpolished and genetically unaltered. It comes swaddled in a giant leaf, garnished with a locally made stew and sometimes with a dash of plantain. As the leaf is opened, the rice releases a unique aroma that Nigerians find so irresistible. Ofada rice isn’t all bran and no substance; it is known to have health benefits that help with heart disease and diabetes, so munch away.
2. Ewa Agoyin
Most Nigerians can recall the sounds of hawkers on the street carrying a big metal pot of ewa agoyin beans usually flanked by a fellow bread hawker ready to delight passersby with the perfect breakfast combo of ewa agoyin and bread. Ewa agoyin is the Yoruba name for plain cooked beans meshed with spicy tomato and pepper stew. It can be eaten with bread, yam or plantain.
Every bustling street comes alive with the sweet smell of seasoned roasted meat as the day comes to an end. Suya is enjoyed by travellers passing by that succumb of its aroma. It is the local variety of barbecued meat, served as an appetizer and sometimes garnished with onions and tomatoes. Suya is mostly served at bus parks on long roads between cities and at night on major streets of Lagos, Nigeria. So if your flight runs a little late or you’re half way through your journey, stop by a suya stand and treat your taste buds to a spicy Nigerian delicacy.
One thing on the minds of every Nigerian traveller heading for the state capital, Abuja is Kilishi. Is a meaty treat native to the people of northern Nigeria and many travellers stock bags full of it for their friends and family back home. Some say it is the dried version of suya much like the beef jerky, but Kilishi has a uniqueness in taste and feel that is apparent as soon as you take a bite.
What happens when you grind a cup of skin-peeled beans into a paste? You create a mixture for the Nigerian bean pudding, popularly called Moi-moi. The bean paste is seasoned with peppers and onions and then molded into an African delight preferred by many. It is a staple food in the most Nigerian homes and can be eaten alone, with custard or as a side dish with rice.
6. African Salad
A dish native to the Igbos, the African salad or Abacha as they call it, is one of the most popular dishes on the Igbo menu and is commonly served in eastern Nigeria as dessert. African salad is prepared with shredded cassava spiced with condiments like crayfish and palm oil to give an enticing mixture. Next time you take a trip to Enugu or Anambra, Nigeria ask a nearby restaurant for a dish of Abacha.
7. Small Chops
Leaning towards the classier side, the Nigerian small chops are a mouth-watering variety of finger foods served at gatherings and meet-ups to whet your appetite with the savoury taste of meat and dough. You can usually spot Samosas, mini puff puff, Gizdodo, and Asun - grilled spicy goat meat in a pack or dish of small chops.
8. Sausage Rolls
Sausage rolls pack a huge bunch. They come in 100g packs of pastry with pure beef or chicken filling. Sausage rolls are usually ordered on the move by travelling Nigerians who want to satisfy a craving or take a treat home to their kids. In the 70s and 80s, there was only one brand to choose from but as the years have gone by, more brands have sprung up to give eager travellers the choice of brand and filling.
9. Fried Eggs
9. Fried Eggs
Need a quick breakfast? Break an egg, whisk it, put it on heat and voila! Breakfast is ready. Fried eggs are the single most deliciously quick breakfast get-up favoured by Nigerians on the move. It only takes 10 minutes to prepare and when eaten with a more filling side like bread or pasta, can take the busy traveller from breakfast time to dinner time. For extra pizzazz, it is garnished with sliced tomatoes, cheese, minced meat or fish, green pepper and other vegetables that add a splash of colour.
10. Plantain Chips
More of a snack than a dish, the plantain chips sold ubiquitously in the traffic jams on major roads, serves as a convenient hunger-buster while making way on your trip. It is made of fried unripe plantains seasoned with salt and sometimes pepper. They are oh-so-crunchy with every bite delivering the sweet plantain taste that Nigerians love.
Chinelo Ngene writes for Jovago.com