If I had to eat Nigerian food every day for the rest of my life, my diet would look something like this:

Breakfast: akara and pap, boiled yam and egg sauce, or beans and dodo

Lunch: eba and egusi soup, or other Nigerian soups

Dinner: white rice and tomato stew with beef or fried chicken

Even though these dishes are amazing and tasty (I’d encourage everyone to try them), they’d soon become boring if I had to eat them daily for life. I wouldn’t be able to experiment or enhance them. I couldn’t have made them healthier, more modern or acceptable. My kids wouldn’t be enjoying the variety of food that comes from my kitchen. Simply put, it would be boring.

Cuisine of the world

When the Portuguese arrived in Nigeria, Nigerians were able to introduce Jollof rice from Senegal. Curry sauce was adapted from India. Every Nigerian child loves noodles, which of course hail from China. English breakfast came into play too, along with many other cuisines. Nigerians are smart, and we learned how to adapt and use flavours from all over the globe to produce our own unique Nigerian flavours, which everyone has come to love.

Discovering new flavours

If I had eaten the same Nigerian cuisine every day, I wouldn’t have discovered the wonderful flavours of Italian pasta, French pastries and Spanish paella. I would have been blind to what the rest of the world eats. My taste buds wouldn’t have been trained to taste and recognise good food, identifying bad-tasting food more easily as well.

This shows how important it is to try foods from other cuisines:

  • It helps us appreciate other cultures
  • We can learn how to make dishes from other cuisines, improving our own dishes in the process instead of letting them become boring
  • We become internationally aware of other cuisines
  • We can discover and differentiate more flavours
  • It helps us recognise we are all related through one food or another
  • It helps us respect others, especially when we come together to eat
  • It helps us discover many more spices we can use to enhance our food
  • We can make choices because of the variety of options that come from around the world