Street food is ready-to-eat food sold in the streets or any other public place. It is known for the authenticity of the culture it originates from and in this post, we’re celebrating just that.
From puff-puff to fufu to ugali, you meet these African countries through their food.
We couldn’t put it all together ourselves, so we invited Abisola, a food blogger to have a little chat with us and share in the love of food.
So if you’re ready to fill up your list with street food to have when next you visit an African country, keep reading.
What makes street food, street food? And why it's called that.
“Street food are food sold outdoors by vendors and hawkers and are always ready to eat.”, Abisola said. “They are probably called street foods because they are food you can buy on the streets”, she added with a chuckle.
They are also easy to make at home and are very affordable wherever you get them.
39+ different street food from 5 countries in Africa
Street food in Nigeria
Boli and groundnut
Boli is made from roasted plantain and is eaten chiefly with groundnuts. The name comes from the South West of Nigeria
Boiled and Roasted Corn
Corn can be made in many ways and in the streets of Nigeria, you can find either roasted or boiled corn. The roasted corn is mostly packaged in old newspapers or paper and boiled in Nylons.
Roasted or fried yam
Another popular street food in Nigeria is yam, either roasted or fried. They are cut into small pieces and are usually served with pepper sauce.
Suya, originating from the Northern part of Nigeria, is smoked spiced meat usually on a skewer. It has a spicy, charred, and smoky taste and is usually served with extra pepper and onions.
Nigerian puff puff is a classic. It is a light deep-fried spherical snack made from plain flour, yeast, water, and other spices.
Just like Suya, this originates from the Northern parts of Nigeria. It is a dried-up version of Suya but more sticky, something like beef jerky.
Riski Burger (Bread and Egg)
This combo is one of the favorites of Nigerians. It is made by layering fried eggs in the middle of a sliced loaf of bread. Just like a burger but the beef is replaced with egg.
This meal is made with beans cooked till very soft and is usually dished with a sauce made from pepper, palm oil, onions, and other ingredients. It can be eaten on its own or with other sides like bread or garri.
This dish is prepared with peeled beans. It has a slightly sour taste and is simple to eat. It also can be made with just beans and water.
Akara and Koko or pap
Akara is a snack made by deep frying a paste of black-eye peas. They can be called bean fritters or bean cakes. It is also eaten in the Caribbean and in Brazil.
It is mostly eaten with Pap/Koko which is made from maize and is a form of pudding.
Street food in Ghana
This is a popular food in Ghana made by cooking rice and beans (black-eyed peas or cow beans) together. It is traditionally boiled with dried red sorghum leaves.
This is a Ghanaian dish made by frying ripe plantains until brown. The plantains have been cut into cubes and spiced with onions, garlic, ginger, and pepper.
Fufu in Ghana is made from tubers like cassava, plantains, or cocoyam. It is pounded in a local pestle and mortar. It is eaten with vegetable soup.
These are similar to dumplings. It is made from ground corn and is served with a hot sauce and some mini tilapias.
This is also known as puff puff in Nigeria. As mentioned earlier, it is a light deep-fried spherical snack made from a mixture of plain flour, yeast, water, and other spices. It can be eaten alone or with other sides like Koko.
This dish is made with a mixture of cassava dough and fermented corn. The corn is fermented in water for 4 days. The mixture is cooked in hot water until soft and elastic.
Kosua ne meko
Kosua is boiled egg and Meko is pepper. This snack is made by dividing the egg in half and adding the pepper sauce in the middle.
Street food in Togo
This is a long white bread and is similar to a baguette in taste. You can eat it with many things like avocados, beans, sardines and so on.
This is very similar to Waakye in Ghana. It is cooked the same way with rice and beans (mostly black-eyed peas) with a tomato sauce.
It is made from a fermented paste that has been made with corn. It is molded in bags or corn husks and is served with a pepper sauce.
These are steamed rice cakes made with rice flour and corn. At home, the rice can be soaked and grounded. It is gluten-free and very light. It is served with grilled or fried chicken in a tomato sauce.
Similar to Akara, this is made with ground beans and fried.
This is made from cassava flour and can be cooked red if tomatoes are added. It has different flavors from garlic, onions, ginger, etc, infused.
These are chicken skewers. They are grilled with pepper, salt, and onions.
Fufu, Ewa Agayin, and Banku are also popular street food in Togo.
Street food in Benin
This is a sauce that’s very common in Benin. It consists of pepper, vegetable oil, onions, and sometimes, mustard. Pieces of chicken or fish are added too.
This hails from the north of Benin and is referred to as yam couscous. It’s made from yam flour. It is eaten with a protein like fish or beef. It is dark in color and can be eaten with different sauces.
A name for Akara in Benin. It’s made from beans that have been ground and fried. It’s eaten in Benin with sorghum porridge or millet.
Fried yam and potatoes
This is a popular meal in Benin. They are cut into thick strips and fried. They are eaten with pepper sauce or red palm oil or tomato sauce.
This is Benin’s version of the rice and beans mix. It’s made by cooking black-eyed peas and rice together and is accompanied by a spicy tomato sauce and meat or fish.
This carbohydrate meal is made from fermented corn and is steamed in banana leaves. It’s eaten with any kind of sauce.
This meal in Benin is made with rice flour, corn maize, corn flour, yeast, salt, and sugar. It’s steamed and comes out like bread. It’s eaten with a sauce.
Hailing from the north of Benin, this meal is Beninese cow milk cheese. It has a similar texture to Tofu. It can be eaten fresh or fried.
This is a traditional crepe from Benin. It’s basically a pancake made with millet flour or a mix of millet flour and rice. You can add other ingredients like bananas, sugar, and salt.
Street food in Kenya
This is a traditional snack in Kenya and it’s made with potatoes.
The other ingredients included are gram flour, water, garlic, ginger, paprika, green chili pepper, cumin, and so on. These make Bhajia spicy.
This is also known as fufu in other countries. It is soft and filling. It is made from maize flour and is served with vegetable soup or beef stew.
This is Kenya’s version of suya. They are grilled beef skewers made with tomatoes, onions, and pepper.
This is a Kenyan rice dish that is made by flavoring the rice with a variety of spices and is cooked in beef or fish broth.
The dish, on most occasions, is also cooked with beef, chicken, or goat meat. Other ingredients like potatoes can be added to the dish.
Matoke Ya Nyama
This meal is made from green bananas, and vegetables like carrots, peppers, tomatoes, and beef. All of these ingredients are boiled.
These are potato or french fries made the Kenyan way.
They are fried with spices, onions, tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, and lemon juice. The masala chips are mostly red in color and spicy.
This is a traditional sausage made in Kenya. It is made of pieces of cow, goat, or lamb meat, cooled blood from the animal, and tripe that is flavored with different spices and roasted over a charcoal stove till golden brown.
Where to get street food in Africa?
“From those that hawk. They hawk most of these foods and those that don’t hawk set up small shops to sell.”, Abisola answers
Street food is a blessing as it combines food and our culture and gives us a growing appreciation for them.
A bio of our guest
Our guest today is Abisola Olasupo (TheAbisola), a food and lifestyle blogger based in Lagos, Nigeria.
She started food blogging full-time in 2020. “I love cooking and I just decided to share my cooking skills with the world and it has been amazing. I will simply say I love food and arts.”
When it comes to African cuisine, Jollof rice is her favorite and outside Africa, she opts for Italian cuisines.
Ekuru is Abisola’s favorite and has been her favorite since childhood. What’s yours?