My best friend called me all the way from Toronto Canada,
” Babe I’m smelling Moi-Moi in my sleep, in my office and in the toilet. It’s like my village people are calling me back to Nigeria”.
I laughed until tears came out of my eyes. We usually make this Joke whenever we’re both outside Nigeria & missing home that its the voice of our village people calling us back home.
This same friend of mine (who is a PH girl) brought to my attention to the number of food sellers; formal & informal in Lagos. She really couldn’t understand why there were so many street food vendors in Lagos compared to PH. I didn’t notice it until she mentioned it and you probably wouldn’t too if you have lived all your life in Lagos.
If It’s not a Chicken republic with their life-saving 500 Naira deal, it’s a FanIce man on his bicycle, a young man selling gala in traffic, an older woman hawking ewa agoyin, walking in sync with the iya oni breadi or an iya ala mala joint!! I love it.
There’s no reason to be in Lagos and go hungry. There’s something for everyone and every budget
(except you are broke broke sha)
You can play a game of Zilch dog or na me see am first (depending on the primary school you went to) with it. That is anytime you see a a place where food is sold, shout “mama put” and keep count. If you are a waka waka and you like to roam the streets of Lagos, You can count up to 50 in one day. I personally counted 30 places where food was being sold in one day (Yaba/Akoka). Try it and let me know how many you can find.
Anyways, here’s my personal recommendation of street food you should try in Lagos.
- Puff Puff: Guys if you want the best puff Puff in your entire life, Go to Balogun market in Lagos Island..
Lawdddd have mercy...
There are multiple puffs puff vendors there and they all know how to make it really well & the best part of it is that it is bloody cheap. the last time I checked, it was 10 Naira per “puff”.. Plus jara when you ask. I was such a regular customer to one guy that he had me and my mum’s mobile number…
- Fried yam, Potatoes & stew (sold inside nylon): I was introduced to this lifesaver when I did my NYSC in Ibadan and I brought the Addiction back with me to Lagos. It’s perfect for those days when gas (LPG) has finished in your house, your gas plug isn’t picking up the phone and there’s no way in hell you’re dragging a cylinder anywhere…. I can’t help you if you can’t relate. I don’t recommend that you buy this just anywhere because of the lack of quality control we have in Naija. You need to be able to identify the person who sold it to you in case shit hits the fan.. (Get it? Shit? ok) Please don’t eat poison because you are hungry.
- Roasted Corn: best place to buy: Anywhere you find it. If you find roasted corn please park your car or come down from your Opay, select your corn and take a seat beside the woman roasting it, so no one carries your corn. There’s no fear of food poisoning with roasted corn cos its like dust and exhaust fumes make it sweeter sef. Ensure you don’t throw the cob inside gutter when you finish sha. ( #keeplagosclean )
- Roasted plantains/ Bole.. You might need to fly to Port-harcourt for this one. We don’t do Bole right in Lagos and it’s a travesty. If you see anyone making Bole with fish, Oil stew and Ponmo please protect them cos they are doing the lords work. Nevertheless… Bole will always be a vibe. either with groundnut, fish or plain air.
- Suya: We need to throw the Nigerian coat of arms away and just replace it with Suya. That stuff is our National treasure and needs to be protected at all costs. I have a question for those of you that eat suya without Yaji. Who hurt you? .. How those mallams do it beats me. the consistency in taste, the great price, the newspapers and forgotten WAEC results used to wrap your package, the great conversations we have with strangers… Glover court is your go-to if you are on the island (you probably already have money), Your neighborhood Aboki has you covered too.
- Akara and Agege Bread also called Local Burger: Best served in the morning for a guaranteed amazing day ahead. This is the kind of meal that if overdone, will probably knock you out under the coolness of your office AC.. You have been warned.
P.s If you can buy the bread directly from a Bakery you don’t know what the Lord has done for you.
- Popcorn and Groundnut: I love roadside popcorn in Lagos. They can use that stuff to kidnap me. You can find it in places where there are a lot of students (Like Yaba and Idi Araba) cos the kids love it. Well, I also haven’t grown up yet so I join them to eat the popcorn too.
- Ewa Agoyin: You haven’t had Ewa Agoyin until it’s been gotten from one of the street hawkers. Ewa Agoyin shouldn’t be called street food.. It’s in a league of its own. Anytime you find an Ewa agoyin seller, then there’s a bread seller not far away. This example of Symbiosis should be researched at the PhD level.
- Mallam Indomie
Honorable mention goes to our traffic companions like:
- Gala and Lacasera
- Rite and Big cola
- Fan Ice and coconut chips..
Thanks to these packaged miracles for keeping us sane in Lagos traffic, Lagos heat and Nigerian Twitter… God bless y’all
And Fruits and nuts that we cannot do without like:
- Mangoes and Agbalumo
- Cotonou Pineapple
Back to the most important topic, is there any scientific reason why my friend is smelling roadside MoiMoi in her sleep? Cos me I don’t understand o.. If you know why, please explain it to us in the comment section below.
I specifically picked Lagos because that’s where I have lived, and I know other cities have their staples. Port Harcourt has Bole and fish, Abuja has yahuza suya and masa.
Whats the street food for your city?
Which is your fav?
Let’s discuss in the comment section below.