15 Amazing African Street Foods You Would Love

Amarachi Irobi
Amarachi Irobihttp://@Amara_ii
My name is Amarachi Irobi, a content writer and food lover who loves to explore traditional African cuisine.
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What other way to get quality, time-efficient, cost-effective lunch all in one package when you’re out for work if not to grab a meal at a popular street food joint?

Street foods have been saving lives for ages. They are a major source of food consumption for lower and middle-class income earners. Street foods have become more popular in recent times to the extent that more people are becoming obsessed and attached.

In this article, you’ll get to learn about African street foods, how safe they are, what makes them so popular and most importantly the top African Street foods you will find on many African Streets roadsides.


What are Street Foods?

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Street Foods are ready to eat foods and beverages prepared and/or sold by vendors or hawkers especially in the streets and other similar places.

Street foods are easily affordable and provide an avenue to access highly nutritious and quick meals to many busy and sometimes low-income consumers. However, how nutritious and safe a street food is depends on how well a consumer can select a seller and combine his meals.

Aside from the fact that they are relatively cheap and easily affordable they are also tasty and offer a variety of food. What this means is that opportunities to taste various kinds of food at a cheaper rate exist unlike what you get at a high-class restaurant.

Street foods are usually made of the staple foods common to the local people and served in various forms. It is also served as a combination of those staple food with foods such as stews, and other spices. Fishes, meat and other cereals are also prepared in various forms and sold.

Why Are Street Foods Important?

Street foods are important for several reasons, some of which includes the following;

  • They are a major source of income for millions of people with little or no education and skills. The reason is that it is highly cheap to set up a street food business than a polished restaurant. So this contributes to the economic importance of many developing countries and other nations at large.
  • Street foods enhance social life. Street food joints are usually filled with a good amount of people. Some persons with a drink in one hand, their food in the other hand gisting and laughing with their neighbours.
  • Street foods are a way to manage and prevent the increase of ulcers among people. Yes, it is a medium to help busy business people, students easily find something good to eat for lunch during break time or after work.
  • Street foods contribute to the economy of the nation. Just as initially mentioned, it is a major source of income for most people thereby providing employment for a greater part of the nation and reducing poverty and criminal activities.
  • People who cannot afford much can eat good food and can choose from a wide variety of food to fit their taste buds.


Are Street Foods Safe?

Food-borne diseases commonly detected among persons that consume street foods include cholera, food poisoning, typhoid, etc. However, if the buyer is careful in selecting a street food vendor, this can be avoided.

Asides from what has been mentioned above, street foods are safe to be consumed. This is because the food is prepared right in front of you and you get to see how the vendor handles the food. Whether he is intentional about cleanliness/neatness. This means you get to choose the vendor that meets your eye and catches your fancy. If it was in the restaurants, you’d never know what happens in the backyard.


Why are Street Foods Popular?

Street foods are so popular for several reasons which also make up for their characteristics. Some of them include;

  • Authenticity: Street foods are known for their authenticity. To a traveller, it is easier for them to get an experience of the local cuisine from street foods. In many areas, the specific kinds of foods they sell on the streets are particular to the area. Most of them help to preserve the food culture of the local people by using recipes possibly handed over to them from the previous generation.
  • They are also popular due to the nature of the business. It has a more personal approach to serving customers than a restaurant business. This is so because most times, the person serving you is the owner of the business and would want to make sure you are satisfied with what you are getting.
  • Another reason street food are so popular is because of the feelings attached to it. The restaurant is more of a private affair while street foods have a social feel attached to them. Both are okay but then it would be fun to eat in the not so common way alongside other persons.
  • It is cheap, yummy and has less preparatory time. Street foods are no doubt very tasty and also take less time to make. You don’t have to wait hours for it to get done, or have your order delivered to your doorstep. The most important is its cost. It is easily affordable which is what makes it more popular.
  • Another feature that makes it popular is its convenience. It’s easy to open a street food business than a restaurant. In most cities, the cost of opening a restaurant is so high that only people with the money open it and not just people with the skill. Street food business makes it easy for people with quality culinary skills to express their creativity and at the same time earn a cool amount of money.


What street foods are popular in Africa?

Here is a list of the 15 most popular African Street foods;

1. Mahjouba

2. Akara(Bean cake)

3. Bole

4. Abacha

5. Vetkoek

6. Nyama Choma

7. Kebda Eskandarani(Alexandrian Liver)

8. Kushari

9. Brik

10. Ewa Agoyin and Agege Bread

11. Roasted or Boiled Corn

12. Atieke

13. Wanke Rice and Fish

14. Potato Bhajia

15. Moi Moi


The above-listed foods are just a few out of the numerous available African street food. Each of these dishes will be singly discussed to give you an idea of what it is made of and what nutrients you are likely to get out of them.



Mahjouba - African street food
Image from miammiamyum

Mahjouba is a pancake common to the people of Algeria and is one of the most popular street foods in the country. It can be garnished with harissa sauce on the side. Harissa is a North African Chili Paste without which Majhouba is also delicious. Mahjouba is like a pancake made of semolina with a filling that consists of onion and tomatoes. It is very easy to mix the dough while the complex part of it is in shaping the pancake.

Mahjouba is a healthy meal because its constituents include natural ingredients that are highly nutritious, tomatoes being one of them. Just in case you’d like to try this at home, below is a recipe you could always use.

  • Firstly ensure that you have, your semolina, tomatoes, onions, salt and pepper to taste, vegetable oil, water, etc. And your harissa to serve.
  • To make your filling, heat your vegetable oil in a large pan, add your onion and other seasonings that you may have. Then allow to cook over medium heat for about 10-15 minutes while stirring until the onion becomes soft. After this, add your tomatoes and cook for some time, 10-15 minutes. Then you can bring it down and divide it into several tablespoonfuls. Allow it to cool while you prepare the dough.
  • To make the dough, mix the semolina with salt, add water and knead for about 10 minutes then cover for at least 15-20 minutes. For the same number of fillings, also divide your dough into the same quantity.
  • To assemble it, in a non-stick pan, oil it lightly and heat Over medium heat. Flatten and place one piece of the dough on the pan, also place one tablespoonful of the filling onto the dough and fold. Then cook both sides until you notice a slightly golden colour.


Akara(Bean Cake)

Akara - African street food
Image from MyActiveKitchen

Akara is a popular delicacy among Nigerians. It is made from grounded beans mixed with onions, pepper and other spices as desired. It is usually deep-fried and can be taken with Agege bread. To prepare Akara, most people suggest that peeled brown beans should be used. Akara and bread is a very popular combination and is also highly nutritious. Akara itself is usually light and contains a lot of protein. Combining it with bread makes it a very nutritious meal and perfect African street food.



Bole - African street food
Image from foodblogafrica

Bole is a popular Nigerian street food common to the people in the South and Eastern part of the country. Most especially the city of Portharcourt. It is made of roasted plantain and fish, some persons prefer to use roasted yam instead.

However, just as expected, there would always be several tweaks to food to serve different palettes. Some persons add potatoes, and vegetables like utazi leaf to enhance the taste. Just to emphasize more on the tastiness of this dish, a popular food festival called bole festival is being held in Portharcourt, once every year.

It is a festival that combines food, fun and culture where food lovers, entrepreneurs, cultural enthusiasts come together to network and also connect with old and new friends. At the festival different creative ways of preparing Bole is also highlighted. This festival has created a lot of awareness for Portharcourt city in Rivers state being the home of Bole.

Bole is also a healthy dish. Plantain, its major constituent, provides starch and energy to the body. It also contains fibre and a host of vitamins like Vitamin A, C, B-complex and folic acid.

Yam is a major source of complex carbohydrates and energy. It also helps in the development of healthy skin and hair. Fish also is a common source of high-quality protein and Omega-3 fatty acids. The method of cooking which is roasting is good as it preserves the essential food nutrients.



Abacha - African street food
Image from GuardianNg

Abacha is also known as African Salad and is popular among the South-Eastern and South-South part of Nigeria. The core ingredient of Abacha is dried shredded cassava. It is then prepared using potash, onions, sliced utazi, ugba, pepper, salt, etc. Some persons also add garden egg and garden egg leaf to suit different taste buds.

Abacha also has various health benefits like protection of bones from damage and contributing to stronger bones. It also aids bowel movement and enables the circulation of blood. It is also proven to prevent heart diseases and cancer due to some important minerals it contains.

Meanwhile, ugba, crayfish and other protein sources used to prepare this delicious meal also contain the same amount of protein benefits common to it. The garden egg leaves used in preparing the salad are rich in calcium and ascorbic acid. Abacha vendors usually prepare the sauce made with potash differently.

They also slice onions, vegetables like garden egg and utazi and keep them separately. This is so that they can easily mix it with the already softened Abacha according to the specifics of the consumer.

Check out this delicious Abacha recipe: Click this link to view.


Vetkoek - African street food
Image from Immaculate Bites

Vetkoek is a very tasty meal popular among South Africans. Vetkoeks means ‘Fat Cake’ and it is made from a yeast dough filled with fruit jam, curry, or cheese. The dough is usually covered after mixing and allowed to rest for some minutes so that it can rise before it is deep-fried. major constituent includes salt, yeast and flour.

It can be served with minced meat. Vetkoeks contain calories and several vitamins. While taking Vetkoeks there’s a need to watch the quantity you are taking as too many calories can be bad for your health.

Here is a delicious and easy recipe to prepare Vetkoek: Click this link to view.

Nyama Choma

Nyama Choma Kenyan dish
Image from yummy.co.ke

Nyama Choma is popular street food in Kenya. In the Swahili language, Nyama Choma simply means barbecued meat. The meat can be goat or beef roasted and served throughout the country along the streets. Nyama Choma can be served with Ugali or taken with beer.

Nyama is also very nutritious, the meat being highly proteinous and the cooking method being one of the best as it helps to conserve the nutrients. In the preparation of Nyama Choma, goat meat or beef is seasoned with enough ingredients and roasted over open fires or charcoal fire.

Check out this quick and easy Nyama Choma recipe: Click this link to view.

Kebda Eskandarani(Alexandrian Liver)

Kebda Eskandarani - African street food

This dish is common to the Alexandrian people of Egypt. It can be found in many street food joints. The alexandrian liver is a speciality made of beef liver seasoned and fried with spicy ingredients such as cumin, garlic, chilli peppers, cardamon, etc. It can be served alone or alongside tahini dip in sandwiches. It can also be accompanied by warm rice or the most popular pita bread.

Alexandrian liver contains vitamins, proteins and fat. Other nutritional constituents of the meal include; potassium, carbohydrate, sodium, iron, cholesterol and dietary fibre.

To prepare this dish, the liver is sliced into pieces and kept aside while the paste of onions, cumin, garlic, etc are prepared. Then the liver is mixed with the paste and allowed to sit for 15 minutes before frying. Lime juice is added while it is being fried. Fry for about 15 minutes and your delicious Kebda Eskandarani is ready to be served.



Kushari - African street food
Image from LonelyPlanet

Kushari is a popular street food common to the Egyptians. The dish dates back to the olden days around the 1800s when families would have leftovers of pantries at the end of the month. So they’d throw it all in together to make a good meal. It has become quite popular in recent times. The major combination of Kushari is rice, tomatoes, pasta, beans(lentils and chickpeas).

Also, this dish can be a bit different depending on the choice, it can be made spicier or not, chickpeas can be used or not. If you do not have any leftovers and you’re cooking Kushari from the start, it’s going to be a little bit of work, however, if you already have rice, pasta, then all you have to cook is the sauce and lentils. Kushari is one very nutritious meal you’d be glad to have, containing proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates and energy, etc.



Brik - African street food
Image from SoDelicious.Recipes

Brik is a popular North Africam Street food originally eaten in the Ottoman empire where it is called breek. Greek is a savoury triangular-shaped deep-fried pastry with a filling that is made of chopped onions, tuna, harissa, ground meat, egg, etc.

The most common form of brik is the egg recipe, a whole egg with other ingredients is used to fill the dough. The ingredients for making brik include eggs, chopped parsley, cheese, potatoes(boiled and mashed), salt to taste, etc. Brik is also common in Algeria and Libya but is known as Boreeka.


Ewa Agoyin and Agege Bread

Ewa Agoyin and Agege Bread - African street food
Image from cookpad

Ewa Agoyin and Agege bread is a popular Street food in Nigeria particular to Lagosians. It is simply beans cooked very soft, mashed to a paste and served with pepper sauce. It is taken alongside Agege bread. Agege bread is popular in Lagos, given its name due to the street where it was made.

Agege is an area that used to have a large concentration of bakers, hence the name of the bread. Anyone who ever lived in Lagos must be accustomed to this dish even if they don’t eat it. However, ewa agoyin found its way to Nigeria from Togo.

To emphasize the nutritional benefits of this meal would be unnecessary, the beans alone is a mega source of protein. With carbohydrates and vitamins added to it.


Wanke Rice and Fish

Wanke Rice and Fish - African street food
Image from LocalGuidesConnect

Wanke rice and fish is a Ghana recipe that is also highly popular in Nigeria and Benin. It is made with rice and beans and fried fish. Most unmarried men stop by the roadside to buy this dish after work. Also, most families prefer to buy this and stock up than to prepare it themselves usually because of the time it takes to prepare it.

As initially mentioned it is originally a Ghanaian recipe and is prepared using black-eyed peas with a touch of millet leaves(waakye).



Atieke - African street food
Image from Pinterest

Atieke is an Ivorian dish made of fermented ground cassava roots. It is traditionally prepared by women and can be bought at the local markets. Atieke is prepared by adding tomatoes, onions, fried fish or grilled chicken. It is also eaten by people of all ages at any desirable time.

Atieke is nicknamed “couscous of Ivory Coast”. Atieke is also popular in Ghana and some parts of Africa, it is called Acheke and can be taken with smoked fish and stew. Atieke contains several good nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins and vitamin C. Vitamin C of course prevents scurvy.


Moi Moi

Moi moi - African street food
Image from yummy medley

Moi Moi is a popular street food popular among Nigerians. It is a bean pudding made from grounded beans mixed with pepper, crayfish, onion and other ingredients added to suit different tastes.

It is sold on the streets by hawkers and fast food joints and can be taken along with Jollof rice. For variety’s sake, most people use either fish or eggs to make their delicious Moi Moi. It can be taken alone as a breakfast or together with pap. Some add things like chopped liver, corned beef, timed sardines to enrich the dish.

Moi Moi has great health benefits such as promoting easy bowel movement and possessing antioxidant properties. Moi Moi also contributes to weight loss and helps diabetic patients.

Here is an easy Moi Moi recipe: Click this link to view the recipe.

Roasted or Boiled Corn

Roasted of boiled corn - African street food
Image from myincrediblerecipes

Corn is grown in most countries including South America and Europe. However, it is highly popular in African countries. Roasted or boiled corn can be taken with roasted pear, coconut or even palm kernel, which is also sold alongside the corn.

Corn is a tasty dish, and over time, there have been several tweaks as to the method of preparation. Some roast it together with the husk leaves. Corn is a good source of carbohydrates, fibre, protein, potassium, and vitamin C.

Here are the health benefits of eating corn: Click this link to view.

Potato Bhajia

Potato Bhajia - African street food
Image from Sanjanafeasts

This is a popular Kenyan street food also known as Aloo Pakodi Bhajia. Just like most Kenyan dishes, potato Bhajia has an Asian origin and was introduced by Indians who came to settle in the country.

Bhajia is made of sliced potatoes seasoned with spices such as turmeric, cumin, etc before they are deep-fried. Potatoes are a good source of energy and potato Bhajia is one of the street foods you should try the next time you visit Kenya.


Most of the street foods mentioned above can pass for a balanced diet if not that the proportion has to be taken into consideration. But then, what it offers is an opportunity to take most of these important nutrients into the body added to the fact that you also get to enjoy a premium taste that would pamper your tastebuds.

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Amarachi Irobi
Amarachi Irobihttp://@Amara_ii
My name is Amarachi Irobi, a content writer and food lover who loves to explore traditional African cuisine.

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