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Eating Edikaikong & Afang in Calabar

So let me just confess, the first thing I did in Calabar was go looking for edikaikong. I hadn’t eaten edikaikong since I was about 8 years old so I was really excited to try it again.

I think my tour guide was afraid that bukka food might upset my stomach so he took me to a Nigerian restaurant in the Calabar mall. The place was okay but it lacked that local vibe that I love when I eat at bukkas.

After we sat down, the waitress brought us menus and I laughed saying, “I know why I’m here. I want a edikaikong” she responded with a smile. I went on to ask her what swallow the locals mostly eat with edikaikong. She responded saying people eat it with different swallows but mostly eba or pounded yam. I opted for eba because I don’t eat eba often and it’s always very nice with leafy soups.

About twenty minutes later, my edikaikong arrived. The first thing I noticed was how fresh the vegetables looked. It reminded me of the little pleasures of smaller cities like Calabar. The soup was hot and tasted so nice. The meal felt almost healthy because of the vegetables and the fact I was eating it with fresh seafood.

The Efik are a riverine people, it shows in almost every part of their culture and the food was no exception. The edikaikong had different seafood like fresh fish, dried fish and periwinkle. Periwinkle is something I’ve always associated with the peoples of this part of Nigeria because I had not seen it again since the first time I ate edikaikong.

Later in the day, we visited the Calabar River. The tour guide explained how so many aspects of Efik culture are tied to the river. He also explained that the locals catch fresh seafood every day from the Calabar River and sell it at the food market at the bank of the river. Leaving the river, we drove passed the food market. I was looking out the window to see all the different produce on display when I saw raw periwinkle for the first time. I was surprised to find out the color is black before cooking.

At the end of my trip, I decided to try Afang in the hotel. This time, I decided to eat the soup with pounded yam. However, the waitress said they only had poundo. I hate poundo lol but I ordered it anyway. I thought it was my first eating Afang until I dug in and it tasted so familiar. However, I loved it so much that I didn’t notice I was eating poundo anymore. The flavor was so rich and I enjoyed the fresh fish and ikpa-enang (pomo) in the soup. Now I have added Afang to my list of favorite Nigerian soups.

What other Efik foods do you think I should try in the future?



Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I am a writer and illustrator from Lagos, Nigeria.


In 2015, I started a company called IheartLagos with the aim of showcasing Lagos culture in a unique and fun way.


That journey took me down an exciting path, discovering and learning so much about Nigeria.

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