The cuisine of Niger is typically West African in flavor, although it reflects many traditional African cuisines. Grilled meat is always high on the menu, cooked in spicy sauces, and served with cooked vegetables or salad. The spices were first introduced to Niger centuries ago by Arabian travelers over the trans-Saharan route, and include ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, saffron, and cloves. The spices are used in the sauces, and also to marinate the meat to give extra flavor. A traditional dish of this variety is called efo which is a mixed stew with green vegetables, cooked with chicken, fish, or goat meat. The traditional vegetables eaten alongside dishes are yams or cassava, both starchy root vegetables. Stews are served with a base of rice, millet, or couscous. For snack food you will see beignets being sold, which are deep fried pastries of French origin, also found in some areas of the US.
Bars and Pubbing in Niger
The major nightlife to be enjoyed in Niger can only be found in the capital city, Niamey. Elsewhere in the country the lifestyle is much more rural, although the larger towns will provide some entertainment it will be nowhere near as accessible for a visitor as that found in Niamey. Some of the best and most popular establishments also double up as hotels, which also house restaurants. So generally, a night out in Niamey can be easy enough if you follow your nose, since all the entertainment facilities are grouped together.
For example, the Gaweye (Rond Point Kennedy, Niamey) is a four-star hotel in Niamey which houses a nightclub called El Rai. The nightclub is open every night of the week, playing a selection of electronic music. There is also a ‘jazz club’ in another venue of the hotel, which features performances on Thursday through to Sunday nights. Le Hippotame Bleu (Route de Goudel, Niamey) is another popular nightclub, known locally as a ‘discotheque’. There are several other discotheques in Niamey to choose from but many only open Friday and Saturday nights, when the city is at its liveliest.
Dining and Cuisine in Niger
The best dining experiences are to be had in Niamey, the capital city of Niger. Indeed, this city takes advantage of the Niger River that flows through it. At Niamey the river flows gently and pleasantly, and some of the best places to eat are on the river banks, or on a boat floating on the waters themselves. Le Diamangou (Corniche de Gamkalé, Niamey) is a boat restaurant open for lunch and dinner, daily. Close by on the banks of the river is La Flottile (Corniche de Yantala Plateau, Niamey), which specializes in fish dishes, to be enjoyed in a shady garden overlooking the river.
Since Niger was a French colony for the first half of the 20th century, a legacy of Gallic cooking has remained in the country. In Niamey, one of the best restaurants is Tabakady (Derriere le stade Seyni Kountche, Niamey), which offers traditional and modern French fare. Prices here are more expensive than other places in the city, but the food and service is known to be good. Another French restaurant to try is Le Café (Rue de la Cure Salee, Niamey), which offers simple food, complete with a range of tasty desserts, in a tranquil atmosphere. It is a popular place to drop by for lunch, although also open for dinner every day.