Hot Take: Nigerian Soups Should Not Be Restricted to "Swallows"

Nigerian food is great. Not even up for debate.


And our soups? That’s a whole new level of deliciousness, especially the vegetable soups, which the Igbo people have mastered. As a Yoruba woman, though, my heart belongs to Egusi and Efo Riro. But that’s not why we’re here today. I have a bit of a “hot take” to share. A little unpopular food opinion, which you guys know I’m just teeming with.

Soups work better when not paired with “swallows”. Sizzling take, I know.

There’s an orthodoxy around these things that I just do not understand. Why is “soup & swallow” such a set-in-stone thing? There are a couple options that I think work better from my experience and I’ll run you through them so it’s not like I just pulled this take from nowhere.

White Rice

If you’ve never had white rice and Egusi, or Efo Riro, then you really haven’t lived at all. I can’t exactly recall the first time i had white rice and Egusi, but i remember feeling like Archimedes as he yelled ‘Eureka!’

At the risk of sounding pretentious, I felt like the woman who invented chocolate chip cookies by mistake. Yes, I know people have probably already tried it before me but please dear, I felt like Marie Curie.

It slaps. Seriously.

Jollof Rice

The other day, I was bored and hungry. Most times, that results in amazing things happening. I don’t like cooking though, so I decided to putter around the kitchen and see what I could come up with. My mom had just made this mad Efo Riro and there was jollof rice from the day before in the freezer. What did I do? I combined both and I genuinely think everyone should try this at least once. You can try it with your favourite vegetable soup.

One time I was at The Place and I saw a woman who was buying fried rice and chicken curry. Then, she finished it off them to add Efo Riro. I was a little shook, but I remembered that I eat Jollof rice with Efo. I can’t really be judging anyone at this point. I might even try it eventually if I’m feeling adventurous.


You know those times when you’re exhausted from work and Lagos traffic with all its madness, and you just want to collapse into bed, possibly get a massage and a glass of wine? Yeah, it was one of such days and what resulted out of it was a meal of spaghetti and Egusi soup.

I do not regret it, and I would do it again. It’s kind of like white rice and Efo, but with different textures because after all, rice isn’t pasta. 

Ok, maybe this one is a little bit wild but you get my point.