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Banga soup


Origin of Banga Soup

It is said that the best way to understand the traditions and cultures of a people is to eat their food. Cultural foods reflect the geography of a people and their rich agricultural products. The Niger-Delta region in Nigeria is the home of finger-licking delicacies. More often than not, their meals are stamped with their signature fresh catfish, prawns, shrimps, and periwinkles, all of which announce that they are from the riverine area.

On our food history segment, today, is the Niger-Delta delicacy, Banga Soup. This soup hails from the Urhobo ethnic group in Delta State. It is known as Oghwoamiedi in Urhobo language and Izuwoibiedi in Isoko.

Banga soup is basically palm fruit soup. Banga, the chief ingredient for this soup, is a type of palm fruit that is mostly found in the Niger Delta areas and in Igboland. Native spices like ataiko, oburunbebe stickaidan fruit, and irugege, give Banga Soup its unique flavour and aroma. These ingredients can be gotten from local markets in the country. Another distinct ingredient is the Banga spice leaf, known as beletientien. However, if this vegetable is not available, it can be substituted with thinly sliced bitter leaves or scent leaves.

Lest I forget, a well-prepared pot of Banga Soup is busy; different types of orishirishi like fresh fish, dry fish, kpomo, crayfish, fresh prawn, shrimps, and periwinkles go dey the soup. That way, each morsel of swallow dipped in a plate of this soup usually materializes with a delectable piece of protein for the consumer’s enjoyment. In Urhobo and other parts of Niger-Delta, Banga Soup is customarily served with Usi, a thick, yellow, starchy paste that is made from Cassava. However, a certain mastery is required to eat usi with Banga soup so Non-Deltans who are yet to acquire this special skill enjoy their soup with eba or semo.

Finally, banga soup is the Niger Delta variation of ofe akwu which is quite popular with the Igbo people of South-Eastern Nigeria. The manner of preparation is similar but the spices are different. Again, while Deltans serve banga soup with usi which is also known as starch, the Igbo enjoy their ofe akwu with boiled white rice or yam.  

Featured image source: YouTube

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Obiamaka Angela Udevi

Udevi, Obiamaka Angela holds a Master of Arts degree in History & International Studies. She's a freelance writer with a passion for food and healthy living. She can be contacted through her email address,



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