Nigerian Food Culture

Nigerian food culture differs from different group to another; I have always cited the issue of multiple ethnic groups in Nigeria as the reason for the large number of foods eaten in Nigeria.

There are over two hundred and fifty different tribes in Nigeria so it is expected that each of these tribes would have different food culture, although there are always a little difference from one tribe to another.

This page is about Nigerian food customs and culture, you need to know a little about all of this if you are dating or married to a Nigerian.

In a Nigerian home the men are expected to provide money for all the foods eaten at home while it is the responsibility of the woman to purchase and prepare these foods for the family, the only exception is when the wife I gainfully employed.

Then she might employ the service of a house help.

About twenty five to thirty percent of Nigerian women are full house wife while a bulk of rest are engaged in petty trading or civil service, only about forty percent of Nigerian women are gainfully employed.

You also need to know that majority of the unemployed Nigerian women are graduate that are restricted from working by their husbands. Most Nigerian men don’t like stressing their wife, they are more comfortable when she running the home, making nice foods and taking care of the kids.

That is all there is to Nigerian foods culture, let’s talk about food customs in Nigeria. There are just few of them that are still being practiced till date.

Most of these customs are no longer been enforced in families today, thanks to modern civilization. Our fore-fathers had them etched in stones so that every new family would have to go through them and learn to live by them.

But that is no longer the case as modern civilization has washed away lot of the tradition and customs of most African countries.

The original purpose of the Nigerian food culture and customs was set by families to ensure and cultivate proper cooking and eating habits, and frankly I would say that it served this purpose while it lasted.

And sometimes I do think that it wouldn’t hurt to set those customs in motion once again.

Below are some of the major food customs in Nigeria, I would try to make a summary of all the different food custom from all of the major tribes in Nigeria. Like I initially stated, some of them are no longer in existence.

Nigerian Food Customs

You must wash hands before eating – This is just as it sounds, washing your hands before eating would ensure that you do not transfer unwanted bacteria from the hands to the stomach.

Be cautious with meat and fish – this is only applicable when two people are eating together, the younger person is expected to avoid the meat and fishes until the elderly one decides to give him his portion

Women always cook the foods – the woman is solely responsible for the preparation of food in a Nigerian Kitchen, the man only comes in when he feels like helping out, otherwise he is expected to stay away from the kitchen.

Women Must Cover Their Hair before Cooking – I guess this is self explanatory, the reason a woman is expected to cover her hair while cooking i just so we don’t find hair strand while eating the food.

Avoid Talking While Eating – The reason for this is clearly to avoid any form of accident while swallowing, most Nigerian foods are made with lots of peppers so it is advisable to remain calm to avoid diverting foods to the wrong channel.

There are several other food customs and culture in Nigeria, like I stated initially some of them are no longer in existence.

There is however no law in Nigeria that enforces the food culture and customs, the rules only exists in the minds of men. Many people would agree that there is no need to enforce this food customs into law or even write it down since common sense would always remind you to obey them.

And I quite agree

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Please I would love to see your comments, thank you



Food culture is no longer relevant in Nigeria. Every body does whatever they like with their foods.

June 28, 2013

do bad

December 19, 2016

You forgot to mention the fact that women are not allowed to eat meat in some parts of Nigeria!!!!

June 28, 2013

Who said that women in Nigeria are not permitted to eat meat? I have not heard or seen where such culture is been practiced in Nigeria, I have been in Nigeria for the past 29 years and have never heard of any culture that prohibits women from eating meat in Nigeria. I am only aware that some culture prohibits pregnant women from eating dog meat, just only dog meat, not all the meat.

June 28, 2013

If there is a law that prohibits women from eating meat, it definitely does not exist in Nigeria because I am eating a well made suya while writing this. I know a little about Nigerian food culture but it is not being practiced in most parts of Nigeria any longer

June 28, 2013
Lady B

I know about Chinese food culture, it is not an issue, most countries still practice them.

July 13, 2013
Ikpere Jane

thanks for the information, I would be getting married to a Nigerian man in the next few month and i just want to know what I am expected to do as a wife to a Nigerian man. I have learned a little bit about food culture in Nigeria and a little about how to make Nigerian foods. My hope is that I will learn more from you

July 20, 2013
Coper Muh.Habeebullah

I realy commend ur effort,for putting together this write up.Right now,I am to discuss dis particular topic to my students in J.S Class,which I am using ur article to backup my lessons.Infact it is a very wonderful one.

March 9, 2015

Culture has also brought a great improvement on most of the nigerian ethnic groups; bcause if a prince who is going to b crown as the king doesn’t know d culture of his land or community he’s just going to b a bad omen to d people he’s going to rule…..

October 16, 2016

awesome story , Nigeria is truely blessed.

November 3, 2016

Alero Nigeria isn’t blessed over 6 million children under the age of 5 are severely suffering from malnutrition and died. That’s not being blessed. They are doing everything they can which I totally appreciate, but they aren’t blessed at this moment.

March 4, 2018
Favour Paul

Please, when is this article published? Also, i want to know the year and the author of the article because i have a project am working on about Nigeria and i need the date to add to my project please help me if you can thank you and God bless you.

May 30, 2018
Chef Chidi


May 31, 2018
Nigerian Prince

i love Nigerian food thank for recipe send more recipe plzzzzzzzzzzzz!!

March 27, 2019
Simon Brown

My son in law (name Chioke Ferguson- Nigerian heritage?) claims that his culture allows him to reject food that I prepare-menu, etc- and demand something different, of his choice; it’s caused HUGE rows for 2 years in a row (at Christmas, sigh). True cultural demand? Simon B.

October 16, 2019
Chy Anegbu

Lol, Chioke is Nigerian heritage of course. In Africa, people are supposed to eat whatever is in the menu, if they don’t like it, they are allowed to make something for themselves. Why not allow him as long as he is making the food by himself.

October 16, 2019

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