Nigerian food is not as common as the United States as a lot of other cuisines, such as Italian, Chinese, and Thai. However, Nigerian restaurants are beginning to pop up in a few cities. Chefs and amazing cooks from Nigeria are excited to start sharing their creations with the world. But what can you expect when you step into a Nigerian restaurant? What kinds of foods will you see on the menu? Take a look:
Lots of Rice
Like many cuisines, Nigerian cuisine really emphasizes the use of rice. Most rice used in Nigeria is a long-grain variety, so it holds its structure when it is boiled and then sauteed in a hot pain. The most common rice dish is called Jollof rice, and it is served on many occasions. It's traditionally seasoned with tomatoes, onions, and chili peppers. Don't be surprised if the Nigerian restaurant you visit offers it as a standard side dish with most entrees, much like American restaurants tend to pair everything with French fries.
Soups and Stews
Soups and stews are also common in Nigerian cuisine. In Nigeria, you can buy bowls of various soups and stews from street vendors. One common soup is called peppersoup. It's traditionally made with goat meat, but in the U.S., you may see it made with beef or pork instead. The soup is seasoned with peppers and has a light, clear broth. Another popular soup is called egusi. This is a thick, almost creamy soup made with seafood and thickened with ground melon seeds.
In terms of stew, you may see Ofada stew, which is made from dried shrimp and spicy peppers, or Okyo, a thick stew made with okra and seasoned with local spice blends.
Many of the sweets in Nigerian cuisine are fried in some way. An example is dodo, which are deep-fried plantain slices. You may also be served puff puff, which are fried dough balls sprinkled with powdered sugar. They're similar to an American donut but lighter in texture. While Nigerians don't typically eat big, heavy desserts, they do eat sweet snacks like this after meals, and many restaurants include a little fried treat with each meal.
Hopefully, you now have a basic idea of what to expect when you visit a Nigerian restaurant. The best way to find out is to simply visit yourself. Order a meal, relax, and enjoy Nigerian cuisine!