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How to eat like a local in Calabar

Food.  It is literally everywhere in Calabar!

You can hardly walk down a street without finding at least one eating joint. However, getting original local options might require extra search. Native meals provide an avenue to dive into traditions that have been around for hundreds of years, as food in itself plays a central role in every culture, and if you get to know the food of a tribe, you get to know the entire culture itself on a very fundamental level.

If you are done with touring the cultural meccas of Calabar and are ready to go native and enjoy a  truly authentic indigenous meal that is a cultural experience in its own right, Jovago.com, Africa’s No. 1 hotel booking portal has selected 5 of the best options on the south-south culinary scene.


The Lake Side Resort at Tinapa houses a restaurant which puts a sophisticated spin on the cooking of the Efik. Dig into dishes like Abak Nmong Nmong Ikong (Water leaf Palm fruit juice soup), Unam Ntong, Seafood Coconut plantain porridge, steamed Cocoyam (Ayan Ekpang), Efik fisherman soup, baked mackerel fish with cassava chips (Edita iwa), unripe plantain in Abak Atama Soup and Ukwogho Etidot ( Efik Bitter leaf soup). Fridays are the best for savouring these meals at the restaurant.


One of the most popular restaurants in Calabar, Freddy’s offers really good food at great value. The location is not designed for lingering or frolicking but you can choose a single meal menu or mix and match a la carte from local meals filled with savory ingredients. Most popular dishes include Afang soup, Atama Soup and Ekpang Nkukwo.


Brunch at Calabar Museum restaurant will fuel you through a day of gallery-hopping at the Museum.  The airy, brasserie-style dining room serves original takes on classic Efik comfort food, like Iwuk Edesi (Native Jollof Rice) and Edikiankong. Main courses are as served from as low as N500.


People with a taste for fine dining will feel right at home at Channel View restaurant. Located within a hotel, the restaurant is serious about every meal it serves to its visitors. The dishes are rich with meat of choice, including beef, snails, cowleg and fish. This waiters in this restaurant do not just serve you a casual meal, you get anexperience, with beautifully executed local culinary delights like  Afang ,Ukang Ukom, Unam Ntong and Edesi Esip soups.


An informal local tavern Ekakoko makes a perfect late afternoon lunch spot, with affordable dishes lined up on the menu. It’s all about originality at this unassuming spot, where you’ll pay half of what a hotel dining room charges for the same meal. While it is not much for scenery, you will have a wonderful experience with the plethora of local food served.

Have you tried any of these restaurants? Share your experience in the comment box below. Also, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram@jovagotravel, Facebook @Jovago or Tweet us @JovagoTravel.


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