5 Unconventional Things Eaten in Nigeria

‘Unconventional’ is a matter of perception as you are all aware. One man’s normal is another man’s weird. Many will not consider the things on this unconventional but I’m sure the majority of you will.

Here we go!

1. Mopane (Mopani) Worms – (Imbrassia belina)

Mopane worms – touted as having 3 times as much protein as beef mopane worms are actually caterpillars not worms. They get their name from hanging out on mopane trees. Even though these are not very popular in main centers in Nigeria, large industries have been created around these worms in southern African countries like Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe .You can find the dry roasted black warms being sold in local village markets in Nigeria. They can be eaten roasted or used in soups and stews. Rumbie of zimbokitchen has a good recipe.


photo credit: goafrica.about.com


2. Alligator

You know how they say everything tastes like chicken? Well alligators do not; they are the most complex tasting animal protein I have ever had. The deliciousness from all that open pit fire roasting, I am nostalgic for some just thinking about it. I remember a particular trip to visit my grandmother; she saw a really big alligator and she was going to pay someone to kill it for her.

Alligator meat is not just eaten in Nigeria, it is a big part of the southern American Cajun food culture.


Image credit – Imgarcade.com


3. Frogs

5th day markets were a big deal in my grandmothers village, almost everything else revolved around the vendor expose. You will always see dried gutted frogs strung on long poles and displayed for sale. It was encourage that the consumer reconstitute the frogs in some war water and salt before use.  My grandma would stew them and serve with rice, they were delicious and kind of taste like textured chicken.


Google Image

Google Image

4. Winged termite and Crickets

I have memories of collecting these creatures as a kid. They are weirdly attracted to fluorescent lights and often congregate around the lights during nightfall. We would wet the concrete floor with some water and use big brooms to swat the flying termites down; we collect them and roast with some salt. Extremely delicious and crispy.

I also have memories of “hunting” crickets in the farm as kid; the local kids had a way of luring them out of hiding. We would collect them and roast them on sticks. Thinking about it now, it was so much work for such little reward. Roasted crickets are very similar in taste and texture to winged termites. Adaobi of dobby’s signature has an edible winged termite recipe.

esunsun - shenge - food - Nigerian - termites - raining - seasons

Winged Termite – dobbyssignature.com


5. Snakes

My goodness snakes! It was one of the things I was very hesitant to try growing up, they just looked very intimidating. I have memories of seeing freshly killed snakes held up for sale while doing the highway stretch from Lagos to Osun. The day I finally gave in to the pressure and tried it, I had the worst incident and I almost chocked. I promised God if I didn’t die, I would never eat snake again. Yes, it was that traumatic.  Snakes are a big part of Nigerian food culture; they are often roasted or stewed to serve.


Image credit- turtlinginthailand.wordpress.com


I will like to proudly mention that I have tasted every single item on this list, yes, my childhood was very interesting 😀

Here is a list of other unusual foods around the world

How many of the items listed above have you tried?


We asked this question on instagram.



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By |May 12th, 2015|22 Comments


  1. Grace October 2, 2015 at 1:07 am - Reply

    Everything on the list except snake. Never have and never will. Peppered worms are delicious.

    • 9jafoodie
      9jafoodie October 2, 2015 at 8:58 pm - Reply

      Hahahhahaha… no more snakes for me either (I THINK). Yes! the warms are delicious.

  2. Sharon Salu August 12, 2015 at 5:38 pm - Reply

    I haven’t tried anything on this list, but I know Nigerians eat them sha. Plus, frog legs are pretty common here in the South (America).

    • 9jafoodie
      9jafoodie August 14, 2015 at 11:44 am - Reply

      I haven’t had the deep fried southern version, i should.

  3. Omosewa August 12, 2015 at 2:57 pm - Reply

    Love this blog trust me, just came across it when I wanted to make chicken curry sauce yesterday, and I have been glued. I have tried Esunsun (termites) because I am ijebu and we used to eat it in my village when my grandfather was still alive. I have also eaten Aligator when we went to visit my dad in Buda Niger state when he was working there, they both taste good. Aligator is very nice and the meat lasted us well.

    • 9jafoodie
      9jafoodie August 14, 2015 at 11:53 am - Reply

      whoop!! you are definitely very adventurous. love it!

  4. Oluwatosin Adewoye June 22, 2015 at 10:50 am - Reply

    People eat grasshopper in Akoko Ikare to be precise

  5. Morzook June 11, 2015 at 2:11 pm - Reply

    we don’t have alligators in Nigeria or africa for that matter. what you are reffering to is the monitor lizard. lots of people mix them up

    • 9jafoodie
      9jafoodie June 13, 2015 at 6:26 am - Reply

      Ha!I am probably one of those people. hahah.

  6. Fola Ke (@Phlakie) May 29, 2015 at 2:05 pm - Reply

    Ha ha ha…Esunsun, Kooni (Termites and the worms). Hated them but in my household growing up,you don’t say no to anything offered in the name of food or snack. Memories

  7. tybeth May 26, 2015 at 7:13 pm - Reply

    Winged termites. Hmmmm! I loooved them. I remember how, when I was little, we used to put bowls of water under fluorescent lights outside the house just to trap them. They make a great snack when roasted with salt.

  8. Dee May 17, 2015 at 7:37 pm - Reply

    Ok! Alligators??? Never heard of that being eaten in Nigeria. Isnt that the younger brother of crocodile?

  9. Idy May 17, 2015 at 10:23 am - Reply

    I have eaten the termites and frog. They were quite tasty. It was way back when i was young.

    • 9jafoodie
      9jafoodie May 19, 2015 at 10:28 pm - Reply

      hahha… you are not too old to eat them again

  10. Lopè Ariyo May 16, 2015 at 3:06 pm - Reply

    I’m open to alligators, frogs and snakes but bugs i will never touch lool

  11. Kitchen Butterfly May 12, 2015 at 9:14 am - Reply

    And tortoise ☺.

    I’ve had the termites and ‘edible’ – the worms. In fact I have a book on edible bugs from around the world. So fascinating.

    Love this.

    • 9jafoodie
      9jafoodie May 14, 2015 at 9:30 pm - Reply

      What??? Tortoise? really? . lots of talks about edible bugs in the food communities of late, they are apparently the future of protein. yum!!

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