Nigeria’s #SoupWars: are all soups created equal?


So, there’s a war of Nigerian soups I just got to know about, ongoing in Naija’s cyberspace… #SoupWars, it has been tagged. Hahaha! Funny hashtag.

Abeg, make I quickly offer my tuppence.

I think it’ll NEVER be about the soup, regardless of type, ingredient or origin – eastern, southwestern, south-southern, niger-deltan, middle-belt or northern. Rather, I believe it’s ALWAYS down to the culinary skill of the cook, no matter how táshéré (little), to determine the fate of the taster’s throat or taste buds, whether they’ll be serenaded to soteria or smashed to smithereens.

I believe that if an Olówóoshíbí* is not involved, Oha soup can há e lófun (irritate your gut)! Truly, Afang can fang your gut; Eforiro can make your tummy rigmarole; and Edikaikong can barge as hard as it’s pronounced through your tongue to your rectum in a matter of seconds.

Afang soup pic courtesy: Nigerian Food TV

In short, an Olówóoshíbí can make “simple” Obe Ata, tastefully shame and outwit garnished Efo Elemi Meje.

I mean, our friend once had an Igbo girlfriend who came around all the way from Imo to meet us and mostly, our eye-popping desires to eat Ofe Owerri due to the rave reviews we’d heard about the Eastern soupicacy. We happily contributed money for all the ingredients with a mix of expectation and euphoria only a pack of hungry guys can understand. Cow meat, goat meat, towel (tripe), “rounBadout” (intestine), kidirin (liver), stock fish, veggies, etc. All of the ingredients sha.

Yet, at the end of the day, apart from the heartbreaking fact that the outcome smelt like a mega maggi factory and tasted like malted Oroki Herbal Mixture, it became damningly obvious that we had paid through our nose just to take hurried turns at the loo. Lord God, but our poo would testify! All nine of us, Ofe Owerri almost yà wá n wèrè (almost made us mad).

Egusi soup – Dobbys Signature

It was horrible, and all we could do in common courtesy, to at least repay her labour, was audible silence and feigned smiles. She still got the memo sha.

This is not an isolated example o, I’m sure almost all of us have our tales of woe as regards culinary wolves disguised in sheep’s clothing. And, e dey paaaain! Those moments when our noses and eyes deceive us until our tongues tell us the BITTER truth, literally….Chai!

Yes, I know these wars are about the standard versions of these soups in mention, not the bolekaja versions, but calm down all ye fighters! Can we just accept the honest truth that each soup is super  epic when made well? Especially by an Olówóoshíbí.

We Nigerians are blessed with these all-appealing variety of soups, and we should simply embrace it in appreciation.

I must say though, that the Igbos and Yorubas, and yes, the Akwa-Iboms/Calabars, are masterful with vegetable-based soups. The dynamic range is just so masterful. I give una tiri gbosas.

So, brethren of Naija, stop the fight. It’s the sniper, not the gun. The jockey, not the horse. It’s the Messi, not the Barca, (oya, dey come – haha). It’s the Dalung-ment, not the sports.

It is the cook, not the soup.

#SoupWars, funny hashtag.

My tuppence.

*olówóoshíbí – Yoruba panegyric for someone dexterous at cooking.

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