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Origin of Nigerian Foods: Nkwobi

The Igbos are one of the largest ethnic groups in Nigeria. One distinct characteristic of this people is their enterprising nature. The typical Igbo man is a hustler. Igba mbo which literally translates to hard work is not just an ideology, it is a way of life for Ndi Igbo. Interestingly, reward for hard work is also an intricate aspect of their culture. This principle finds expression in the Igbo saying, onye ruo, o rie meaning that he who works, eats. The Igbo hold these principles close to their hearts; as such, they work hard and they play hard. When it comes to enjoyment, Igbo people no dey carry last. Once they sign out at work, they sign in to the bars and beer parlours where they basically chop their money on drinks and peppered meat of their choice. One of such peppered meat is Nkwobi.

Nkwobi has its origin in Igboland. I consider it an evening meal because it’s usually enjoyed at the end of the day’s work when you want to relax and whine mouth with something scrumptious. Nkwobi is basically a delicious meal of cow meat (especially leg, tail) prepared in spicy palm oil sauce and garnished with utazi or nchanwu (scent leaves). Nkwobi was initially a speciality in most bars and local restaurants in Igboland. Over time, this delicacy gained so much popularity that people from different parts of the country adopted it. Most lovers of this meal know nothing about its origin. Can’t say I blame them sha. Most people are uninterested in food history. They simply eat what is placed in front of them.

Nkwobi is traditionally served in okwa which is a mini mortar or wooden plate. This gives the meal a traditional appearance. Even though Nkwobi can be enjoyed with any chilled drink of choice, fresh raffia palm wine remains the original and best accompaniment to this mouthwatering delicacy. It is a rich and tasty meal. As your food doctor, I recommend this meal for you and your loved ones’ enjoyment this weekend.


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Featured image source: Foodnify

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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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