My Top 7 Street Foods from Northern Nigeria- Jamila's Kitchen Diaries


Street foods are a major part of the life of any locality. Some of the richness of the culture of a people lies in their street foods. Northern snacks and street foods happen to be the most versatile delicacies ever. Once in a while when I’m out and about and I buy a particular snack from street food vendors and hawkers I find that before I’m done eating one snack I’m already craving another because their taste  and versatility is that awesome!

If you’re new to Northern Nigeria you might be caught wondering about the wide variety of foods sold by street vendors and hawkers.  You may be even more amazed at how much passersby and locals rush these street foods.

Here is your express guide to Northern street foods so you’d know just exactly what they are made of as well as how to eat and enjoy them for when you’re looking to explore the different states of the North. My Top 7 northern street foods are below.


These northern snacks combine the satisfying taste of peanuts with the filling nature of cornmeal moulded together to form energy balls that are tasty and filling. They can be seen sold by a few food vendors within the northern cities in majorly Hausa localities as well as plying the routes of interstate travellers hawking these energy balls in transparent buckets. Donkwa /Dakuwa is a snack that doesn't require cooking and as such it can be put together in about 30minutes or less.

Food points/ Why we like it: These street food can supply you with a good amount of energy for carrying out tasks.



Kilishi is another famous Northern Streetfood. It is made from deboned cow , sheep or goat meat to form a snack similar to beef  jerky. The most common forms are made with cow meat (beef)  A number of people say the taste is similar to that of suya. This is due to the way in which the two street foods are seasoned. It has been called the dried form of suya however the process of seasoning kilishi is even more delectable as it is made with a paste called labu which is a combination of peanuts,  spices,  salt,  honey (optional)  and ground onions. After coating with this paste it is allowed to air dry and then roasted over dry heat.

Food points / Why we like it :  The taste of kilishi is amazingly stimulating and can take your mood from zero to a 100. The high preservation value of this snack also makes it a favorite for travellers going to long distant locations. I personally buy several packs of kilishi to take with me on trips to Lagos and other states that are away from the North and as you can expect even friends from distant locations call me to say  "Jamila better bring kilishi when you're coming over. "


Suya is probably the most famous Northern Nigerian street food. When it comes to eating suya two things are most important,  The expertise of an "aboki" and the acclaimed flavour of the night. Yes!  Suya is commonly taken at nighttime to the point that a lot of people find it weird if you're seen taking suya when it's bright and early.  We better do some research into this theory.  Suya is be made out of skewered spicy beef or chicken. The meat used in making suya is typically marinated in a combination of spices oils and seasonings and then placed on a barbecue roast.The suya marinade is called Yaji. In the North meat used for suya must be halal I. E permissible (suya is not made out of meats that are considered as Haram like pork). Suya has its origin in the North but it can be found all across the country and even in parts of the African continent.

Food points /Why we like it : We all love suya because our taste buds love it too and that's perfect for us. Suya is also very affordable and filling.


Dambun nama is a fluffy meat snack made of finely shredded beef. It is an authentic part of Northern cuisine and is loved by all.

Food points /Why we love it: Dambun nama preserves for up to two weeks and can easily be reached for to satisfy cravings.

Peanut cake

Just as the name implies these are cakes made from ground peanuts. It combines the nutty flavour of peanuts with caramelized sugar. It can sometimes be made with a little bit of honey. Peanut cakes are easy to make and incredibly satisfying. These snacks are a favorite for kids.

I remember enjoying some myself while growing up.

Food points /Why we like it : Energy boosting and promotes satiety.

Kuli Kuli

Kuli kuli is another snack which has peanuts as its main ingredient. This Northern snack originating from the Nupe people of.. easily found its way into the homes of a lot of Nigerians and is commonly eaten with soaked garri (combination of garrison,  sugar and water). Kuli kuli is easy, nutritious, crunchy and satisfying. Kuli kuli is made by roasting peanut and making them into the labu paste (see kilishi) after which it is then stripped of excess oils,  moulded into shapes and fried. It is commonly sold by street vendors and hawkers to travellers and in marketplaces.

Food points / Why we like it : it is a crunchy snack somewhat similar to biscuits and it is nutritious when well prepared.


Gurasa is a Hausa local flat bread.These days it is not as commonly consumed as it used to be in the past in Northern states.  It however has a deeply satisfying taste that makes you feel It can be eaten with a proteinous accompaniment like beef or chicken consumed with soups, dips or even just yaji.

Food Points /why we like it: it brings back old memories of mama's cooking.

These are just seven of my best. I would be doing an in-depth guide to all Northern Street foods in a follow-up blog post so use the box below to subscribe to my newsletter so you don’t miss it.  

Are you on social media? What’s your favorite Northern Street food? Follow me on social media @jamilaolawal on Instagram or  Jamila Lawal on Facebook so we can interact and share our Northern food stories.

Subscribe Our Newsletter

Amazing Recipes, Tips & Freebies In Your Inbox

© 2019 Jamila Lawal. All Rights Reserved.