Face of Agulu

Face of Agulu

‘Sperm booster’ – how Nigerian snails became popular


Certain foods in Nigeria once considered as poor man’s fare are today favourites of the more wealthy too – mainly because of their health benefits.

Here are five foods whose fortunes have changed:

  • Cow hide, known as “ponmo”, is now often served as a peppered delicacy – and unlike beef is low in cholesterol. When an agriculture minister tried to ban it in 2014 to encourage the production of leather, there was a public outrage and he had to backtrack
    • Plantain is now out of reach for many people as it in such high demand from those on special diets for diabetes or hypertension making it quite expensive
    • Snails, once spurned by those who do not like the tedious process of getting them ready to cook, are also now popular because they are low in calories, considered a “sperm booster” and thought to help those recovering from malaria
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    • Garri, made from cassava flakes, is eaten as a cereal with water or as “eba”, a porridge ball. A growing awareness of the importance of consuming food high in fibre is making this indigenous staple a popular alternative to Western fare
    • Frozen fish was never considered in the same league as fresh fish, but it is no longer derogatorily referred to as “Ókù Ékò”, a Yoruba expression meaning “Lagos corpse”, or “Àkpa asuko nse” meaning “You are dead and yet you are staring at me” in Ibibio. Such is its appeal that today 80% of fish consumed in Nigeria is imported.