I love food and I'm not ashamed to say so. I love street food as well, I think it is very addictive. When I think about street food I wonder what makes it so good, Is it because it is made on the street side? Does that give it more authenticity? Who invented street food?
Street food is all over the world, from corn dogs in downtown Denver, to funnel cake in Chicago to roasted corn in Lagos; you can always find street food in cities. I really can't explain why street food tastes so much better than its homemade or restaurant made version. We do have many street food options in Nigeria especially in the cities, everyone is on the go. It is a perfect opportunity to eat for city dwellers.
I tried to rank this list from my best to least favourite but it was really difficult. I love everything on this list. I just love food so much, don't you dare judge me! Let's get right into it, shall we?
|Chicken suya cooking|
Everyone I know loves suya, it's assorted meat (beef, chicken, veal) barbecued and served with Suya spice (a mixture of peanut cake, salt and other seasonings), cabbage and onion. It is the holy grail of street food. You often find it sold in the evenings and nights because it is so weird to eat suya when the sun is out. Nigerians often joke that darkness is one of the major ingredients in making suya, the darkness adds to the delicious taste. For detailed information on Suya recipe, check out Sisi Yemmie's Chicken skewer recipe. I trust her judgement with anything food related. If you are vegetarian you may want to try Tofu suya, email me and tell me if it is good.
|Boli, Barbecue plantain|
Boli - In my years on earth, I have only met one person that doesn't enjoy plantain and that person is weird to me! Nigerians often joke that you can trust someone that fries plantain and does not eat any in the frying process with your most valuable property. It is impossible not to steal plantain while frying it. Boli is simply barbecued plantain as shown in the picture above. All that is needed is ripe or unripe plantain (depending on your preference), charcoal and a grill surface to make this delicious street food. It is often paired with some roasted peanuts or fried pepper sauce.
|Agbado and ube in my hands|
Agbado (roasted corn) and ube (pear) - Agbado is the Yoruba (one of Nigeria's language) name for corn. You can find it on the street either boiled or charcoal grilled. Agbado is often eaten with ube (local pear) or coconut. Both ube and coconut complement the corn nicely. It is pretty much made like the above-described Boli. It's in season right now, you can find it on every street corner. You will also see street side vendors selling boiled corn, yum! I have had roasted corn and pear for lunch 3 times this week. Yes, it is that good.
Boiled groundnut - This by itself is self-explanatory. This is one of my all-time favourites. The peanuts are boiled whilst in the shells. The process of breaking the shell to get the softly boiled nut is very repetitive but totally worth it. I believe it is also in season, you can find everyone snacking on this at almost every street corner.
|Puff-puff under "construction"|
Puff-puff - This fried golden delicious dough makes everything okay. I have loved this ever since I was a little girl. Even spring roll, samosa and plantain mosa cannot take the place of my beloved puff-puff. It knows how to make everything okay especially when it is hot. Above is a picture of puff-puff in the making. FYI, Shoprite sells succulent puff-puff at their bakery at Jabi Lake mall. This street food is loved by many and can never be overrated in my opinion.
Zobo - This is a drink made out of Roselle leaves (hibiscus sabdariff) leaves. The leaves are boiled in water for about 15 to 20 minutes. Sugar and flavour can be added to improve the taste of this streetside drink. I made zobo a few weeks ago and took it up a notch. I boiled it with some dried ginger and garlic, overripe pineapples and a drop of vanilla flavour. There was a party in my mouth, my nephews gulped it all in seconds. Zobo leaves are very affordable and the drink has many health benefits. I will talk to my nutritionist friend and do a post of why Zobo is better than artificially flavoured drinks.
Other street foods without pictures:
Kunu - This is a street drink made from millet and sorghum. Maize is also a good substitute. It tastes really good and can almost pass for a meal depending on the consistency. My friend makes a mean and very filling bottle of Kunu here in Abuja. I'm so thankful for all my industrious friends. I asked him for a picture but he never sent me one. Feel free to google if you are really interested in this awesome drink.
Akara - Akara is the Yoruba word for bean cake. It is made out of blended black eye peas/beans mixed with all sorts of seasoning, fish or beef chunks, and onions then deep fried to perfection. It can be enjoyed with freshly baked bread, custard, and other breakfast hot cereal. Freshly fried akara with crayfish is the best thing that has ever happened to my mouth. This meal takes time but if you use bean powder, it cuts your prep time in half.
Dundun - Dundun is a name for a group of fried foods that includes sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes and yam often paired with fried pepper sauce. The sauce is rich with bell peppers, habanero or scotch bonnet, onions, seasoning powders and chicken stock cube. It goes effortlessly with Dundun. It is best consumed hot! Don't play yourself by eating it cold.
I know I probably did not mention all the street foods and drinks available in Nigeria. I think I did a pretty good job covering the basics. If you have any street food like abacha, kulikuli or anything else please feel free to leave a comment. I love when people say something on my blog.
Street food is so interesting because its food you hardly make them at home. Its either you don't have coal to barbecue with or you never get the exact taste like the ones sold by street side vendors. Many of these vendors are poor and they sustain themselves and family with gains from selling these foods.
Try not to bargain with these people, they are not using your money to build empires but to feed themselves and their families. The food is very affordable and it takes a lot of effort to have them ready for consumption. Please, be kind and tip them.
"Na enjoyment go kill you o" - Runtown