10 Foods From Nigeria That Will Spice Up Your Life

Nigerian cuisine is some of the most potent and flavorful on the African continent. It’s certainly not a country where you’re ever likely to think “this food is mild” or “this food is bland.” People in Nigeria typically love to coat their food with lots of aromatic spices and many dishes are made with extremely hot chilies that will give anything from India or Mexico a run for its money. Here are 10 foods from Nigeria that you have to try!


Courtesy of WhisperToMe / Wikimedia Commons


If you like kebab, you’re going to love this staple dish. Suya is usually made with beef or chicken, but can also be made with kidney or liver. Unlike typical kebabs, it’s the seasonings that make suya taste so good. The meat is covered in red pepper, peanut flakes, clove, ginger, and the Nigerian favorite, Maggi. You’ll usually find massive street stalls selling it, especially in the northern parts of the country.


This soup is popular among the Yoruba people of Nigeria, but can be found in lots of restaurants as well. The dish is green and kind of slimy, but don’t let that turn you off, as it’s rather tasty. It’s made with corchorus leaves and boiled down into a thick stew. If you’re traveling in west Africa, you can find similar dishes in Ghana (ayoyo) and Sierra Leone (krain krain).

jollof rice


Jollof Rice

This dish is found throughout west Africa and is offered in just about every traditional restaurant you’ll find in Nigeria. The rice is packed with tons of spices and cooked in palm oil to give it its distinctive color. In many parts of Nigeria, you’ll often find it with some chopped of pieces of meat and chili peppers inside as well.

fufu yam

Courtesy of Toludpilgrim / Wikimedia Commons Creative Commons 3.0


This traditional dish is often served alongside other dishes and is used to pick up meat or dip in soup. It’s made from cassava that’s pounded down into a white and sticky paste. To eat it, you just use your right hand to pinch off a small round ball before going in for a dip. Ugali is similar, but it has a different taste and consistency because it’s usually made with masa.

Pepper Soup

You’ll find this quintessential Nigerian soup at many restaurants throughout the country, and pretty much every chef has their own secret spices that go in it. It’s often found on the menu as cow foot pepper soup, goat meat pepper soup or fish pepper soup. Don’t let the cow foot scare you, as the broth in this dish is downright delicious!

Egusi Soup

Egusi is another popular soup found throughout the country and you’ll find it on many menus. It’s made with egusi seeds (similar to a watermelon) that are pounded and mixed with beans, meat, okra, chili peppers and more.

Chin Chin

These super crunchy snacks originated in Nigeria and are great to munch on any time of day. Like many of the dishes, you’ll often find them in markets around the country or being sold on the side of the street. It’s made with flour, condensed milk, sugar and salt, then fried up until it’s nice and crunchy.


Courtesy of Justdifference / Wikimedia Commons


This dish has some of the most unusual ingredients that you’ll find in Nigerian cuisine. It’s made with aidan fruit, rohojie, beletete, ground crayfish, and numerous other spices. It’s often served alongside catfish or eaten fufu.


Courtesy of Abubakar M. Ahmad


Kilishi is similar to suya and is basically a dried version of it. The meat is seasoned and made into a sheet where its dried on a giant wire mesh to create its distinct form. If you enjoy a good biltong or beef jerky, you’ll be right at home when you sink your teeth into this delicious dried meat. However, it doesn’t really taste like either.


You’ll often find these yummy little balls frying in a giant pot on the side of the road or in markets. They are made with black-eyed peas mixed with tons of spices before being fried up and served sizzling hot. To jazz it up a bit, dip it in any number of spicy sauces that are often served with them.

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