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Just as every country or region has a number of shared values; beliefs; and cultural norms, there are also unique cuisines that are typical of every ethnic subculture.
The Igbo people of the south-eastern Nigeria are no exception, being known for numerous traditional delicacies, most of which are deeply ingrained as a delicate aspect of their everyday life.
Platform Times presents you seven traditional cuisines you should grapple at on your next trip to the Eastern Nigeria.
Some call it African Salad; others simply know it as Abacha. The food is a traditional meal made from dried shredded cassava and fermented oil bean seeds (ukpaka) sliced into strips.
Abacha can be prepared in so many ways including serving it soaked in water or cooking it garnished with ukpaka, garden eggs and utazi leaves. Not only is the meal nutritious but the yummy taste will leave you asking for more.
Nkwobi is one of the most widely sought-after traditional cuisines of the Igbo people and it is prepared from a variety of meat—especially cow foot—and enjoyed in exquisite restaurants.
The meal is mouth-watering cuisine and is commonly enjoyed with fresh palm wine or a cold bottle of beer, bringing back memories of beer parlour movements and cozy evening joints.
Also known as the African breadfruit, ukwa seeds are small and often cowrie-like grains sourced from the oval pods of a wild but domesticated tree of the muleberry family. If you find yourself in the eastern Nigeria, then Ukwa is a must-try delicacy.
Although the seeds can be roasted and eaten with palm kernel nuts, they are commonly prepared until soft with potash and eaten alongside corn porridge. Some others prepare it as porridge in itself or garnished it with cooked maize.
Call it a meal or a snack, okpa is a savory delicacy prepared with Bambara Beans, a nut with its naturally inviting flavour. So delicious, the local cuisine is dubbed ‘King’s meal’ or ‘Lion’s food’ by the locals.
It’s commonly taken with pap or tea and often leaves visitors and travelers regretting not getting enough for family. Indulging your taste buds in okpa would leave you thinking about it on your next trip.
Agbugbu is a delicacy typical of Enugu people of the Eastern Nigeria. The meal is a porridge prepared with yam and and pigeon peas, a tropical and subtropical legume belonging to the family of Fabaceae.
Commonly accompanied with palm oil; onion; and pepper sauce, the meal is a spicy and must-eat traditional cuisine you don’t want to miss on your next trip to Igbo land. Mark the words!
Like many other tribes in Nigeria, the eastern Nigeria is renowned for their inviting array of well-seasoned soups garnished with an assortment of meat—including kidney and liver—that could arguably leave you salivating at first sight.
Ofe Owerri is one of these exquisite and highly nutritious soups mostly consumed in Owerri, Imo state capital. There’s even the ridiculous cliche that the soup is only for the rich and influential.
Onugbu is another one made with bitter-leaf and coco-yam, the latter of which is often used as a thickener. There are also the ‘Ofe Oha’,’Ofe Akwu’ and ‘Ofe Nsala’, all of which could make you experience a conflict of choice.
For the record, Isi Ewu is another traditional cuisine that would definitely leave you sucking at your fingers and asking for an extra serving. There’s no doubting it.
It is prepared with goat head and every single part is edible—including the brain. You might also want to flush down a serving to the right corners with freshly tapped palm wine. You’ll never forget the experience.