Every culture has its own street food — dishes sold by vendors on the street either during the workday or late at night. Nigerian culture is no different. In fact, if you happen to have a Nigerian restaurant near you, the street food dishes are likely some of the top dishes worth trying. They're flavorful, fun to eat, and representative of the culture they are tied to. Here are a few street food dishes you should definitely order if you come across them on a menu.
Suya is a dish consisting of skewered meat that has been marinated in a blend of herbs and spices. The typical flavorings used include paprika, chile peppers or cayenne pepper, and ginger. Lots of ground peanuts are used in the marinade, which not only lends flavor to the meat but also ensures the sauce sticks and has a nice texture. In restaurants in the U.S., you will often see beef suya, but in Nigeria, it is not uncommon to use goat or lamb. Suya is the perfect street food because you can eat the meat right off the skewer; there's no need for utensils. Sometimes you may be given a yogurt sauce or other creamy sauce to dip the meat in, but this is not considered essential to the dish.
Abacha is a traditional Nigerian dish consisting primarily of shredded cassava root. The root is mixed with seasonings, eggs, and sometimes some seafood and then fried in a large skillet. It is dished up on the street into snack and meal-size portions, and it is considered a meal-in-one. In the U.S., you'll often see abacha made with shrimp, but more traditionally, the seafood used is either crayfish or eel. If you don't love spicy food, this is a good dish to order, since unlike some other Nigerian dishes, it tends to be quite mild.
Moin moin is a cake-like dish made from beans. The beans are ground and seasoned before being shaped into a muffin-like shape and then fried. Traditionally, Nigerians would eat moin moin out-of-hand while walking down the street, but if you order it at a sit-down restaurant, it may be served topped with some sauce on a plate with a fork. It has a lot of flavor, and the texture is soft and almost creamy.
These are three of the top Nigerian street foods to try should you ever find yourself in a Nigerian restaurant. It's a delightful cuisine; enjoy.