Nigerian Food Culture – Major Tribes In Nigeria And Their Food (2024)

Nigeria often called the Federal Republic of Nigeria is located in the west of Africa. Nigeria is mainly an English-speaking population but diverse ethnicity. However, the simplified form of coined English known as pidgin English (primary English lexicon) is majorly spoken over the Queens English. Nigeria has over 600 languages, 200 dialects, and ethnic groups. The ethnic groups have foods that are unique and Indigenous to them.

One of the major food eaten and common to all ethnic groups in Nigeria is Jollof and fried rice, a tasty and popular dish prepared with rice… A delicacy usually tasted by most tourists or guests who travel into the country. Below is a list of the major ethnic groups in Nigeria and dishes that are peculiar to them.

Nigerian Food Culture – Major Tribes In Nigeria And Their Food

The Igbo Tribe

Igbo is one of the three major ethnic tribes in Nigeria. They are mostly settled in the Southeastern part of the country, and the states in this region include Anambra, Imo, Delta, Rivers, and Ebonyi.

Agriculture is the main occupation of the Igbos is agriculture (corn, manioc, yam, vegetables, rice, palm oil etc.). The Igbos are often engaged in Trading, fishing, and harvesting of wild fruits, berries, herbs, and plants. Due to Tse-Tse flies invading the large area, they are not so strong when it comes to livestock breeding.

Igbo major delicacies include yam, cocoyam, manioc, corn (porridge, soups), various vegetables, as well as fish. Igbo natives use palm oil and other spicy seasonings for cooking.

  • Akpwu And Oha Soup

This food is heavy and it is prepared with cassava. it is advisable to take it at least four hours before going to bed.

  • Igbo Bitter Leaf Soup

This soup is bitter as the name implies and it is often eaten with the Akpwu and cocoyam.

  • Okra Soup

This soup can be prepared with fresh fish, and it is not too expensive to prepare.

Other Igbo delicacies include:

  • Salads, which are – Jakwu, Abacha, Ugba.
  • Nkwobi is an Igbo dish referred to as the best and greatest Nigerian delicacies. 
  • Agidi is extremely tasty cornmeal mostly served with beans and tomato stew (Uma leaves can be added).

The Hausa Tribe

It is one of the major ethnic groups in Nigeria, this tribe is majorly settled in states like Bauchi, Borno, Jigawa, Kano, Kaduna, Sokoto, Niger, etc.

Hausa delicacy ranges from vegetables, porridges, soups, and also meat, dairy products, and fish. Tuwo is the most preferred food by Hausa people and it is eaten with Kuka soup. Other very popular ethnic dishes are:

  • Masa/Sinasir

This a meal popular amongst the Hausas and its mainly served with ram head soup (Romon Kan Rago).

  • Dan Wake

Beans flour, pepper, and Kuka are the ingredients needed to prepare this meal.  Also, the use of ground cayenne pepper when about to be eaten. This dish can be prepared in just 20 minutes.

  • Tuwo Shinkafa

This delicious dish is served with vegetable soup or groundnut soup. The delicacy is prepared with rice, and the soup consists of white hibiscus (white zobo), and groundnut.

  • Suya

This is a popular barbecue prepared with either ram, Chicken or cow meat.

The Efik-Ibibio Tribe

The Efik-Ibibio are settled in the coastal southeastern region of Nigeria in Akwa Ibom State and Cross River state; they have been a significant contribution to the Nigerian culture. There are various dialects spoken such as the Annang dialect, Oron dialect, to mention but a few.

Ekpe people are the secret society that protected the Efik-Ibibio culture, the “Ekpe”, meaning “Lion”, was indigenous to Southeastern Nigerian and became a popular symbol in the Efik-Ibibio culture, it later became popular and adopted in other Nigerian ethnic cultures. In addition, the Ekpe of the Efik-Ibibio people invented “Nsibidi” the popular ancient indigenous writing of the Efik people.

The Efik-Ibibio People Have Various Edible Vegetable Delicacies Such As;

  •    Afañg soup
  •    Edikang Ikong soup
  •    Fufu
  •    pepper soup
  •    Ukwoho
  •    Atama,Eritañ,etc.

The Yoruba Tribe

This is the main tribe in the southwestern part of Nigeria. Also, they are in Benin Ghana and Togo. The main occupation of the Yoruba tribe is fishing and agriculture. They farm crops such as yam, corn, cassava, bananas, various vegetables, groundnut, and millet.

Their main crop exported is cocoa. Livestock breeding is hindered due to the lack of sufficient land for pastures and contamination of tsetse fly. Yoruba had one of the rich and best dishes in Nigeria. One of their commonest food is

  • Yam

This can be prepared in various ways, such as been boiled, fried or prepared as concussion known as Asaro (porridge). The favorite Yoruba meal and which they are famous for is “Iyan” (pounded yam) – a dish that can be served with a variety of soups. Also, corn is also a widely spread product: corn grains are cooked with beans, roasted and could be used for cooking porridges.

  • Bananas/Plantains

They can roast it, known as (Boli) or fried (dodo) and can be mixed with yam. Plantain can be pounded also and eaten with other soup (okra or vegetable soup)

Most of the Yoruba dishes are very spicy, as they love pepper spice in their meal.  Meat and fish are prepared with different types of hot sauces. Palm oil is primarily used for cooking.

  • Emu

This is a popular palm oil juice that tapped from a palm tree and is used for wine. Local beer is brewed from corn, bananas, and sugar cane.

  • Gbegiri (Beans Soup)

This soup is prepared with beans. It can be dried and grounded into powder form or boiled till it gets soft and is mashed till it becomes pasty. It is eaten with any swallowed meal.

  • Ila Asepo

This is a concussion Okro soup. It is prepared with palm oil and other spices (pepper, seasonings, fish/meat etc.).

  • Isu Sisun (Roasted Yam)

This is prepared with yam. They yam is roasted with coal and it is eaten with palm oil and salt.

  • Ekuru

This is prepared with beans. It is grounded into a paste that is poured into a small cellophane container and then boiled. The sauce (fried pepper and onions with palm oil only) is used to eat this dish.

The Fulbe (Fulani / Fulbe) Tribe

Fulbe is one of the ethnic tribes found in Nigeria (they are mostly settled in Bauchi, Borno, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Sokoto, Taraba, Niger, Yobe, Kebbi), they are based in compact areas ranging from the Atlantic Ocean to the Nile Valley and the Red Sea.

Modern Fulbe tribe is divided into nomadic cattle-breeders (refried to as Bororo, Waterabe, Uuda), semi-nomads, and settled people known as Hausa-Fulani. They have formed a special ethnic community in Nigeria. They have largely preserved their main traditional occupation which is “cattle breeding”.

Semi-nomads combine cattle rearing (large and small cattle, donkeys, horses) with manual farming (sorghum, millet, Phonio, rice, yam, corn, peanuts, cotton, tobacco, vegetables, etc.). The dishes of the Fulbe tribe are mainly vegetables (couscous, porridge, soups, patties), they also eat dairy products.

  • Fura Da Nono

This is their major delicacy. It is fresh cow milk (nono) and balls made from soya beans (Fura). This is a very rich drink and it’s tastier when it is served cold.

  • Fried Wara

This is a fried ball (or any shape) made from soya beans.

  • Wara

A common Fulani milk (cheese) and it is actually really delicious.

  • Nyiiri  

This is a heavy porridge made from flour and can be of various types (corn, sorghum, or millet). This delicacy is served with some sauce added.



As you have seen, Nigeria is endowed with a rich culture and savory delicacies. Only a few out of hundreds of the delicacies are mentioned, and all of them are unique and quite wonderful! You can taste some of these delicacies and tasty.

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