1. Moin Moin – This is a sort of cake made with beans. Don’t let that put you off because I’m not a fan of beans either but if you get your hands on some really good moin moin believe me you will start to love beans. There is Moin Moin and then there is Moin Moin with seven lives (elemi meje). Moin Moin with seven lives is simply Moin Moin that has fish and other bits and bobs in it. It sometimes has pieces of corned beef or egg. I never liked the egg version till I tasted that made by a take away shop called Sweet Sensations. I hope they still serve the best Moin Moin. Please comment below if you know of better tasting Moin Moin apart from your Mum’s.
2. Jollof Rice – If none of your Nigerian friends has cooked this delicacy for you then they should be crossed off your Christmas gift list. Jollof rice rocks and you will find recipes for it all over the internet. Back home, I particularly like Mr Biggs’ Jollof Rice. Yes. I know a lot of people can’t stand Mr Biggs but their Jollof Rice was good to me. So, go for it. It’s a simple meal made with rich tomato sauce and rice. It’s simply wicked.
3. Edikaikong (not sure of spelling): If you like seafood then this is the sauce you’ve been waiting for all your life. As it’s a seafood vegetable sauce it won’t be served on its own. Edikaikong is served with balls of pounded yam or Eba. One of the vegetables used – Ugwu is very rich in iron and highly recommended for women of child bearing age. I know quite a number of take away shops sell this but I would recommend sitting down to eat this at a proper restaurant like B-Jays or at if you’re being hosted in a home.
4. Ogbono: This is another super sauce I only discovered about 10 years ago. I had often heard of it but had never tasted it. It’s excellent! Make sure you ask for the goat meat version. Of course if you’re vegetarian all you need is the fresh fish version. I would recommend eating this meal as well at B-Jays. They know how to do Nigerian food and their presentation is very good. Ogbono is very versatile and I normally throw a handful into my slow cooker with some spinach, egusi, dry fish and palm oil then go to work. All I need to do when I get back is make some pounded yam, Eba (cassava balls) or Amala (Dried Yam Balls). So you can also choose what to eat it with. I love it with Eba.
5. Gari and Suya: Not a meal that my Mum would serve but it was impossible to put this list together without adding it. This was the meal you had at Uni when you were either kind of skint or lazy. If you have quite a number of Nigerian friends then you might have heard of Suya. It’s quite simply barbecued meat but then it’s not that simple because it tastes soooo good. Very well seasoned and garnished with a melange of hot spices, tomatoes and onions.
Having grown up on a University campus, I can only recommend Suya spot. I know there were quite a number of good Suya spots on Allen Avenue and the National Museum in Onikan has its own Suya gurus. Gari is ever flowing in Nigeria but be very particular and ask your host/hostess for fresh Ijebu Gari with iced water – refreshing. Note fresh as it will still have that crunch from being freshly roasted.
So, there you go. You now have 5 meals to rotate while you’re visiting Nigeria. I must warn you though always make sure you taste a bit first especially if you’re not used to spicy food. Then, make sure you have loads of water on hand and try not to talk too much while eating.
Please feel free to update any of the information regarding the best places to eat these meals for first-time visitors. Also, if you have any questions about any of the dishes please feel free to ask.