The Country Food Similarity Index is a statistically-based attempt to quantify how similar the food in one country is relative to another. By comparing the weight of raw food ingredients used in each country, a score is assigned that reflects the degree of similarity between the respective countries. The methodology is exactly the same for each country studied.
The Most Similar Cuisines to Nigerian Food
Nigeria is a diverse country with a rich and flavorful cuisine that is influenced by its diverse ethnic groups and history. The country’s cuisine shares similarities with the food of some other West African countries. This countries all have tropical climates and border the Atlantic Ocean. Their diets tend to be heavily based in starchy foods, especially cassavas and yams. In fact, Nigeria produces the most yams of any country in the world.
- Benin borders Nigeria on its west side. For hundreds of years, both countries were once part of the Oyo Empire . Benin has a cuisine that is similar to that of Nigeria in many ways. Both cuisines use starchy staples such as yams, cassava, and plantains to make dishes like fufu and eba. They both rely heavily on stews and soups made with a variety of meats and vegetables. Additionally, both cuisines use spices like ginger, garlic, and chili peppers to add flavor to their dishes.
- Ghana is another former British colony in West Africa. There has also been some immigration between the two countries after their independence. Both cuisines make use of grilled and roasted meat. Both countries also make soups with melon seeds and palm oil in them. They also eat àmàlà, a dough made of cassava, yam, and plantain flour.
- Ivory Coast is even further to the west than Ghana. Both Nigeria and Ivory Coast have a mix of Muslims and Christians. Both countries use starchy staples like cassava and yams to make dishes like fufu, and both rely heavily on stews and soups made with a variety of meats and vegetables. The Ivorian side dish Attiéké is nearly the same as Nigerian garri. Both are made of fermented cassava. However, more rice is more commonly eaten in Ivory Coast than Nigeria.
- Cameroon borders Nigeria on its east side. The countries also share many of the same dishes. Grilled and roasted meat is also a common feature of both cuisines, as well as the use of spices such as ginger, garlic, and chili peppers. However, in Cameroon, corn and tomatoes are consumed more often than in Nigeria.
- Togo is yet another West African country that borders the Atlantic Ocean. Both countries have similar cuisine. Akoumé, a starchy swallow, similar to Nigerian eba. In addition, both countries have some spicy dishes, like Togolese Koklo meme and Nigerian pepper soup. However, corn tends to be consumed more often in Togo than Nigeria.
The Least Similar Cuisines to Nigerian Food
The countries with the least similar food to Nigeria are all located in Eurasia. Four of the five are landlocked. In addition, these nations all have historically had close ties with the Soviet Union and were once considered to be part of the “second world”. Moreover, the people in these countries are on average wealthier than Nigerians. Their people tend to consume a much greater amount of wheat and potatoes. They have more meat in their diets as well.
- Mongolia is the most sparsely populated country in the world. The country’s cold, dry climate makes it difficult to grow crops. As a result, they relied on animal husbandry for their survival. Their people tend to eat much more meat from cattle, sheep, and goats than Nigerians. They also eat more dairy products, especially yogurt.
- Belarus is another country that borders Russia on this list. Belarus is one of the few countries in the world where potatoes are the most commonly eaten starch. Pork and chicken are the two meats that are eaten most often in Belarus. Furthermore, unlike in Nigeria, butter and yogurt are two commonly consumed dairy products in the country.
- Syria is the only Middle Eastern country on this list. It borders the Mediterranean Sea. Syria has a much more arid climate than Nigeria, so their farms produce drastically different crops. Syrians tend to eat a lot of fruits, including oranges, lemons, watermelons, and apples, while Nigerians tend to eat more bananas.
- Slovakia‘s diet consists of far more pork and chicken than Nigeria’s. Slovakians also eat more dairy products. Cream, yogurt, and cheese are three ingredients commonly eaten in Slovakia that are rarely eaten in Nigeria. Furthermore, Slovakian cuisine tends to be milder and less spicy than Nigerian cuisine.
- Kazakhstan is a Central Asian country that was once part of the Soviet Union. As a result, the country’s cuisine features a mix of traditional Kazakh and Russian dishes. Cantelopes and watermelons are two of the most popular fruits in Kazakhstan. In addition, beef is the most commonly consumed meat, while in Nigeria pelagic fish are more often eaten.
Nigeria’s Most Common Food Ingredients
Protein: Pelagic Fish, Egg
Fruit: Banana, Pineapple
Vegetable: Tomato, Cowpea
Starch: Cassava, Yam
Primarily based on 2020 data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N.