What are Nigerian food culture?


I am studying about Nigerian food culture and beginning to learn about what Nigerians eat. I learned about the cultures of Nigeria but I hope you could help me understand more things about food customs.

Answers ( 6 )


    Food plays a vital role in the culture of virtually every known ethnic group in Nigeria. Special ceremonies would not be complete without participants sharing in a meal. Normally it is considered rude not to invite guests to share in a meal when they visit; it is even more so if the visitors were invited to attend a special event such as a marriage or a naming ceremony.

    There are different food cultures known to different Nigerian ethnic groups.

    1. You must wash your hands before eating.

    2. When eating with an elder, you are not to eat meat or fish until you are given your portion.

  1. Dsanch

    Culture is simply said to be ‘people’s way of life”.Culture gives one a sense of belonging and improves unity.

    Food on its own is simply that ” which you take that helps sustain hunger and helps keep the body healthy and hearty.

    Nigeria has been a country with diverse cultures has a lot of cultural foods based on one’s culture and traditions.

    The Igbos been a case study that has foods like egusi, okra, ogbolo but to mention but a few which serve as cultural food. In most Igbo ceremonies, these foods are cooked to feed the invitees and with such meals, no doubt you will be able to identify them.

    The Igbos has certain food cultures, Igbo is one of the major ethnic groups in Nigeria. The food cultures in Igboland includes

    1. Washing hands before eating.

    2. Mother or daughters does the cooking. Men hardly cook in contemporary Igbo culture, they engage in tasks like cleaning, and laundry.

    3. After eating, you must show appreciation by saying “Thank you, mum, and thank you dad”. lol, been a while I did that anyway.


    There are lots of food culture in the Nigerian ecosystem. Food culture talks about customary food practices that are passed down from generation to generation. The reason is just for preservative purposes.

    Nigerian food culture has been passed down from generation to generation since it has proven to do more good than harm.

    Also, Nigerian food culture ensures equity, division of labor and security.

    1. Like, in contemporary Nigerian society, you are advised to eat without talking, using your phone or watching television. These rules were set up to simply ensure the security of the people.

    2. You are supposed to wash your mouth before eating in the morning, no brainer right? 😀

    3. In a proper Nigerian setting, the man provides money for foods, while it is solely the responsibility of the woman or the female child in the house to cook the foods. There are exceptions, however, like when the woman is gainfully employed, then a maid or chef could be employed.

    4. Women with long hairs must cover their hair while cooking, easy right?

    There should be a whole lot of them but I will be stopping here.

    These rules, as I have often said are not etched in stones, the culture exist for man, not man for the culture. So, if you think they trample on your rights as a human being, you can start a revolution to change them.

    Good luck with that one. 😀

    Most of the Nigerian food cultures are no longer practiced in Nigerian homes today, all thanks to modern civilization, Not much is said about African cultures and Customs any more.

  2. Ttonia Okoli

    Growing up, I shared meals from the same bowls as my siblings, we all had to wait for each other before anyone can dive in. I have five siblings, but it was three of them that I remember often eating with. As a child,  I thought it was poverty that was the reason, but over time, I have come to realize it is a Nigerian thing, might even be African or global.

    The fighting over how the eldest shared the meat selfishly is definitely a poverty thing. The best solution a parent could come up with would be to let the youngest share and then the eldest choose first. Sometimes, four of us have to share a piece of meat, but we were grateful for it being there at all.

    Sundays were special, it was the day we ate well-made rice and stew, chicken featured very often too.

    The Hausas have a very generous outlook on food. It is rare for a Hausa woman to cook food that is just enough for her household, this might be attributed to the fact that they are mostly in polygamy, my opinion. They always make extra.

    “In case we have visitors” is the response you’ll get when you ask why they do this.

    Leftovers are not a problem as the ‘almajiris’ will always come around to beg for food in the early mornings.

    The Igbos are just extra thankful, if you visit a typical Igbo family, get ready to feel awkward from all the thanks you’ll be getting. Everyone younger than you or who has some respect for you, younger or not, will come to you and say “thank you”!

    Nigerian food culture is quite unique and changes as you move from one ethnic group to another.


    The word culture connotes people’s way of life. Food culture in Nigeria is as important as anything one could think of.

    Nigerian food culture talks about those ethics one has to imbibe why cooking, eating or rather on the table. Why growing up as a child in the Eastern part of Nigeria, there are so many food values mothers cultivate in us. And these values are the same in every nook and cranny of Nigeria. This culture ranges from cooking the food to ladling and to the table.

    A lady doing the cooking has to cover her hair properly either with a head tie or cap. This is to avoid the hair from falling into the food. It is very abominable to discover a hair in the food one served. If that is discovered, the cook is considered uncultured and the food rejected.

    Some of the things I remember about Nigerian food culture are

    1. Every eating begins with the washing of hand and inviting the God/gods whichever you believe in.

    2. While eating, one is not to talk. It is believed that if you talk while eating, pepper may be stuck in your throat.

    3. A child should not keep the toes standing why eating and the child should not be overly happy why eating. In the part of Nigeria where I come from, if a child does any of the above, it is believed that he/she will not be able to fend for his/herself at adult age

    4. A child who’s eating with a grown-up person is not allowed to pick the meat from the food until the elder/the grown-up finished eating

    5. While eating, one is not expected to lie down or play.

    6. Most importantly, in Nigerian Food Culture, one does not visit the toilet immediately after eating. If a child does this, it is believed the child gets thinner instead of adding weights.

    7. You are not expected to expectorate or to cough out spit where a person or either you are eating.


    The customs of food in Nigeria can be general or tribe-based. Lots of ethnic groups with food cultures and customs that are unique to them.

    These are some of the general customs in Nigeria.

    1. Wash your hands before eating and after eating, a no brainer.

    2. Do not talk while eating, you could get a knock on the head for doing so.

    3. Do not belch or if you do you have to say sorry or excuse me.

    4. When a visitor comes you need to take your food to your room.

    5. There is always a left over in the pot whenever visitors come visiting. Though with the 500 naira per liter and the level of sapa in the country I don’t think this one is in vogue anymore.

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