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The local cuisines in Edo state, located in the south-south zone of Nigeria, is a range of meals that are found in most other southern states, however there are some meals that are uniquely tied to their people. Although these indigenous meals have variations in other cultures and places, they are popular within the state and have come to be known as Edo food, as they are believed to have originated from the area. If you are visiting Edo state, it is important that you do not just explore the locales, but also gain the full Edo experience by tasting some of their widely recognized indigenous meals. Travel.Jumia.com, Africa’s No. 1 online hotel booking service has selected 5 of Edo’s most popular dishes to try.

Black Soup (Omoebe)


This soup is nothing like the ancient Spartan soup made of boiled pigs’ legs, blood, salt and vinegar. Most certainly the most popular Edo food, the Black soup, locally referred to as Omoebe soup, is a tasty meal made from a combination of local herbs and spices. The name comes from the colour of the soup, as the vegetables used – Bitter leaf and Effirin (Scent Leaf) – when grounded gives off a very dark colour, and the fact that the banga sauce (Palm fruit sauce) rather than the palm oil itself is used, reduced the chances of colour. The Black soup is as nutritious as it is tasty. The herbs used are quite therapeutic and it is a good option for those on a diet as it can help reduce calories. Black soup is easy to make and best prepared at home, and  It is best served with Pounded Yam, Eba or starch.If you are visiting Edo state and you want to have a teste of this local delicacy, you will find it in the menu of most restaurant in Edo state, especially Benin City.

Bini Owo soup


Named after Owo, a fairly large town about seventy miles north of Benin, Owo soup is one of the oldest dishes prepared and eaten by the Edo people. While the meal is believed to have originated from Benin, there  are variations of it listed as indigenous meals of people from surrounding southern states. Unlike most Nigerian soups which are cooked with vegetables like spinach, greens, fluted pumpkin leaves e.t.c., Owo soup is usually thick and bare. It also requires Potash (okawu or kan) which is a rare ingredient for soups in Nigeria. Most who has enjoyed this meal tend to refer to it as stew rather than stew, especially as it is mostly served with unripe plantain or yam, rather than Eba or pounded yam. The soup is best prepared with Smoked Fish, Prawns and Bush meat (optional). It is also cooked and served in well-polished earthenware pots.

Omi Ukpoka  (Corn soup)


Omi Ukpoka, generally known as Corn soup, is a meal common with the Afemai people, mainly from Agenebode in northern Edo state. Made with ground dry corn, smoked fish and a range of herbs (uda, uziza, African nutmeg), it has a very unique aroma that is inviting to the taste buds. The soup is best cooked and eaten at once as the corn tends to thicken further when cool. Due to its high carbohydrate content, it is not recommended for people on a diet. Corn soup is mostly served with pounded yam. But it can also be served with Eba, Fufu and Semo-vita.

Omisagwe (groundnut soup)

groundnut soup

Similar to Miyan Taushe (a delicacy from Northern Nigeria) and Satay Sauce (an Asian sauce), Groundnut soup is a very popular meal in Edo state and possibly the tastiest of the Edo meals. A perfect blend of sweet and savory, the soup is made with groundnuts (peanuts), tomato and onion as the base, and can be considerably varied with chicken, beef or fish and different leaf vegetables as well as local seasoning for extra flavor. The soup is most common amongst Etsakor people in Edo state. If you have tasted other Nigerian meals and found them a little overwhelming, you might want to try again with groundnut soup as it most certainly should be the starting point for visitors who want to explore the various local dishes. The groundnut taste makes it easier to imbibe the meal. The groundnut soup is usually served with Pounded Yam or starch.


Pepper rice


While Pepper rice is not necessarily an indigenous Edo meal, it is very popular and considered one of the most consumed meal in the state. The meal which is most popular in the state capital – Benin city, is simply a meal of local rice (not Ofada rice) wrapped in green leaves, and extra spicy/peppery tomato-based stew cooked with beef and cow entrails. Some also include chicken and goat meat in the stew. The green leaves give the rice a very unique aroma, setting it apart from the regular boiled rice served across the country. Almost every restaurant in Benin City includes this meal in their menu, however, the most popular place to get an original taste of this meal is a restaurant called Mama Ebo Pepper Rice, located at Airport Rd, Benin City Nigeria.


Have you tried any of these meals? Which would you recommend? Let us know in the comment box below. Also, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @jovagotravel, Facebook @Jovago or Tweet us @JovagoTravel.


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