Why noodles have become more popular than balanced meals in Nigerian homes
Story from Ibraheem Hamza MUHAMMAD, Lafia
Consumption of noodles is increasing daily among Nigerians because of diverse reasons.
Neptune Prime has uncovered that many people from different age brackets and backgrounds are consuming it throughout the day as breakfast, lunch and dinner.
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Almost all tea joints, eateries, restaurants in highbrow hotels have noodles on their menu.
There are different companies producing noodles with different brand names.
The conglomerate of the richest man in Africa, Dangote Group, owned by the President of the business empire, Alhaji Ali Dangote, was producing Dangote noodles before he sold it out to a competitor.
Many people have joined the venture of preparing the meal to earn a living. Most of the people who spoke to Neptune Prime said that the main demand for noodles is because it is very easy and fast to prepare as it takes just 5 minutes, except if one wants to add boiled or fried eggs and other condiments.
A tea consumer said that there are different types of tea sellers (commonly known as Mai Shayi). Some sell tea and bread in a given spot and others sell it while moving from one place to another with a big kettle.
Most of the tea joints use firewood to boil water which they buy from the vendors to serve their numerous customers; some have started using cooking gas.
A Maishayi identified as Isyaku said, “I am from Niger Republic; they consume noodles there. I have been to Benin, Togo and Nigeria and this is my means of livelihood.
“When people ask for tea, they order for Lipton or Nescafe, milk and Bournvita, with a teaspoon full or more of sugar and want their cups to be filled with hot water or halfway.
“Some customers, however, just demand noodles,” he said.
Similarly, the people in Nasarawa State are now consuming more noodles than any type of staple food.
An official of Nasarawa State Traders and Marketers Association, Alhaji Rabo Namama in Keffi said, “Recently, we have been experiencing an increase in the demand for different types of noodles in Keffi and the state.
“Traders of grains realised that they have been losing customers on daily basis. When we asked the reason for the increase in the rising demand for noodles, the people attributed it to its easy mode of preparation compared to other staples like rice, beans, among others.
“These changing trends have really affected the traders of grains. But to make ends meet, the traders of grains have now resorted to dealing in the trade of noodles”, he said.
Alhaji Rabo Namama said that the fall in the demand for grains in Keffi has led to a fall in the prices of grains.
According to him, many people have been patronising tea joints to buy noodles instead of main food as it is quick and easy to prepare.
Namama said that some who are buoyant add liver, fish, onion amongst others, while those who are on a diet add spinach in the noodles before they consume it.
Most of the traders said that they have to comply with the change of demand and supply from grains to noodles due to the falling income of households.
Some households said that they quickly make their children stop crying from hunger when they prepare noodles than other types of food supplements made from grains like rice, among others.
Neptune Prime observed that many youths have joined the venture of preparing noodles in any given space in Keffi, Nasarawa State and the country at large.
Youths, especially the males, have joined the trade and set up their stalls in front of their houses, at the roadside and most especially at construction sites where there are labourers who don’t have the privilege to spend one hour of break time.
Meanwhile, in a big electricity firm in Abuja, the staff who used to trek to a long distance to eat noodles decided to ask the Mai Shayi to introduce any of his friends to their office, due to the stress of the long walk. However, before he could answer the request, a shoe shiner said that he was interested in doing the business. They gave him a space, where he started selling noodles and when the rush hour is over, he goes back to repair and shine shoes with his free time.
Neptune Prime also observed, interestingly, that some people would come to the Mai Shayi joints with their spinach and request to be given a chance to prepare their noodles themselves.