Nigerian Food Culture

Nigerian food culture differs as you move from one ethnic group to another.

I have always cited multiple ethnic groups in Nigeria as the reason for the large number of foods eaten in Nigeria.

There are over three hundred and fifty different ethnic groups or tribes in Nigeria.

We expected that each of these tribes would have different food culture, although there are always a minor difference from one tribe to another.

The Yoruba food culture will differ slightly from the Hausa or Igbo version. This page, however, will focus on what we generally accepted in Nigeria.

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.

Nigerian Food cultures

1. In a Nigerian home we expect the men to provide money for all the foods while it is the responsibility of the woman to shop and prepare the foods

The only exception is when the wife I gainfully employed.

Then she might employ the service of a house help.

nigeria-food-culture
About thirty percent of Nigerian women are stay-at-home parent, while a bulk of the rest are engaged in petty trading or civil service.

Only a small percentage of Nigerian women are employed.

Most Nigerian men don’t enjoy stressing their wife.

They are more comfortable when she’s 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 a few of them that are still being practiced till date.

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

Nigerian Food Customs

1. 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.

2. Be cautious with meat and fish – this is only applicable when two people are eating together.

We expect the younger person to avoid the meat and fishes until the elderly one gives him his portion

3. Women always cook the foods – the woman is solely responsible for preparing food in a Nigerian Kitchen.

The man only comes in when he feels like helping, otherwise he is expected to stay away from the kitchen.

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

5. Avoid Talking While Eating – The reason for this is clearly to avoid any form of accident while swallowing.

We make most Nigerian foods 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.

Don’t Sweat it

Most of these customs we have enforced no longer 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 a lot of the tradition and customs of most African countries.

Families set the original purpose of the Nigerian food culture and customs 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 think it wouldn’t hurt to set those customs in motion once again.

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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16 Comments

Simon Brown
Reply

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
Chidi Anegbu
Reply

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
Nigerian Prince
Reply

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

March 27, 2019
Favour Paul
Reply

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
Reply

2013.

May 31, 2018
Alero
Reply

awesome story , Nigeria is truely blessed.

November 3, 2016
Greenz
Reply

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
Yung
Reply

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
Coper Muh.Habeebullah
Reply

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
Ikpere Jane
Reply

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
Thanks

July 20, 2013
Lady B
Reply

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

July 13, 2013
Ifeoma
Reply

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
Jamis
Reply

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
Ani
Reply

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

June 28, 2013
can
Reply

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

June 28, 2013
emily
Reply

do bad

December 19, 2016

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