Food in Nigeria
Traditional food comes in a variety of flavors. For instance, in the Niger Delta, afang soup, okra soup, owo soup, and starch, plantain (fried, boiled, roasted), pepper soup, amala, eba, efo, pounded yam (iyan – Yoruba for “pounded yam” pronounce ” ee-yarn”), jollof rice, ground nut soup, ogbono soup, isi Not to mention 404 pepper soup, which will make you behave like “Oliver Twist.” You should know that 404 stands for “dog meat,” and indeed, it is only available in some areas of the nation since it is considered barbarous in the west.
There are several “international” eateries in Lagos for the less adventurous visitor, such as Piccolo Mondo, Manuella’s Residence (great Italian Pizza from Manuella the Italian lady), Bungalow (close to Coschari’s BMW in VI) – good sports bar, grill, and Sushi, great Sunday buffet at Radisson Blu, Churasco’s, Lagoon, and Fusion all three next to each other (all-you-can-eat Brazilian grill, Indian, and Sushi respectively) with a nice view of the lagoon, Piccolo Mondo, Manuella’s Residence ( In VI, Chocolate Royal is a lovely family restaurant with a great variety of ice cream (including ice cream cakes) and pastries. Métisse, an Oriental restaurant, is located inside Chocolate Royal. Bottles is a barbecue and Mexican restaurant located in VI. There are also a variety of flavors from across the globe. Simply Google the location and get a cab to drive you there. Outside of Lagos and, to a lesser degree, Abuja, Western cuisine tends to fade away, with “Jollof Rice and Friend Chicken” serving as a “safe” choice for the uninitiated.
Foreign restaurants are costly, and you can expect to pay at least $50 to $75, if not more, per person for a main meal, ice cream, and one drink. If this is too much for you, try the Syrian Club in Ikoyi (turn north – away from the water) at the Mobil filling station in Awolowo Road (the night club street) in Ikoyi, continue a few blocks and on your left you will see the Syrian mosque, turn in the gate just after the mosque and the Syrian Club will be on your right on the inside of the premises with nice Lebanese/Syrian flair at very affordable (fo).
If you’re a new expat in Lagos, do yourself a favor and get to know the following more expensive, foreign-owned, but well-worth-it smaller specialty shops in VI that sell all the delicacies and nice imported red meats that foreigners crave but that Shoprite, Park and Shop, and Goodie’s (the main supermarkets) may not stock: 1. 2. Akin Adesola Deli (the major road going to Bar Beach), 3. L’Epicérie is located across the street from Mega Plaza. La Pointe is located on Kofo Abayomi Street (near the Brazilian Embassy/Consulate) and is difficult to find. Knowing where these locations are can help you cope considerably in the first few months.
Drinks in Nigeria
- Outside of Ireland, Nigeria is one of the locations where Guinness is brewed. And they do it well, despite the fact that the end result is not the same. In Kenya (in the case of the latter) and Tanzania, the Guinness brand (with logo and copyrights where they should be) is also used to brew both an alcohol-free malt version of the black stuff and an extremely strong (approximately 7.5 percent) version of the black stuff (in the case of the former).
- Beer is a major industry in Nigeria, despite the trend toward evangelism and Islamic rule. Lagos, owing to its cosmopolitan character, has been largely untouched. Heineken, Star, Harp, Gulder, and more foreign beers are available.
- Non-alcoholic malt drinks are extremely popular in Nigeria.
- Gin, which is produced locally, is another inexpensive option. However, some locals claim it made their step uncle’s dog blind, so be cautious.
- Never drink water from a plastic bag. It has most likely not been cooked and may contain harmful bacteria. Bottled water and other soft drinks are safe to consume.
Other beverages to consider include palm wine, wine, zobo (red soft drink made from dried roselle flowers), kunun, and kai kai (also called ogogoro).
The northern states have adopted Sharia (Islamic) legislation, which prohibits the use of alcoholic beverages. Ironically, the only locations where you may consume a beer in these states are police staff bars and army barracks, since they are federally protected institutions. Beer is accessible in Kano in restaurants run by foreigners or Christians, Chinese eateries, and/or French cafés.
Go to the Sabongari district of the old town for a genuine night out. There are many pubs around that remain open till quite late. Many of them also provide good cuisine. Sabongari is also a good location to purchase alcoholic beverages, and there are lots of shops open late at night. Some Kano hotels are “dry,” but the employees at Tahir Guest Palace would gladly purchase you a couple bottles of beer to keep in your room (all rooms have large fridges).