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With the combo of Aki and Ukwa, no Igbo pikin shall die of hunger!
Aki is coconut and Ukwa is breadfruit seed. The combo has been described as the smallest balanced food combo in Nigeria as it is believed that Ukwa contains all food nutrients except one (vitamins) which is found in coconut, hence a perfect complimentary combination.
Different segments of the Port-Harcourt – Enugu road is dotted with energetic Aki & Ukwa hawkers- young Igbo girls and boys proudly calling out to motorists to buy the packaged food.
"Ukwa, fifty naira! Aki, twenty twenty naira!", one called out to me across my open bus window, just as she pointed a bunch of conical-shaped transparent polythene packs of tiny ‘nuts’ while holding another transparent polythene bag full of coconut cuts. My Ibo friend nudged me and dared me to taste my first typical Igbo delicacy. The temptation was irresistible. I wanted to sample that ‘important staple food of the Igbo people’. We bought tens of Ukwa packs and plenty coconut cuts. I smiled as I chewed, and couldn’t stop chewing till I almost finished all the Ukwa and had to contend with my friend to share the last pack.
Ukwa is indeed a natural blessing to the Igbo people, as the Nigerian breadfruit is unique and has been noted to bear little or no similarity with those so-called bread fruits grown in the West Indies and some other parts of the world. It has also been said that the forests of South-Western Nigeria are filled with the species, yet the Yoruba man regards them with little or no agricultural significance. Nevertheless, this definitely depicts the rich and true cultural diversity our country, Nigeria is blessed with.
If you visited Eastern Nigeria and missed Aki and Ukwa, you might as well have stayed at home.
This article was written by Folarin Kolawole
Founder of Naijatreks, Nigerian-born Folarin Kolawole is a geologist, travel writer and researcher. When not at work, he travels the length and breadth of Nigeria, exploring, taking photos and writing about her numerous hidden tourist potentials. 'Naijatreks' is a product name registered under the Ntreks brand, which is also duly registered by Nigeria's Federal Corporate Affairs Commission. The contents on this blog are re-usable. However, it must be ensured that it is linked back to this blog, and correctly attributed to Naijatreks or the author. Please do not edit, rewrite or commercialize the original works on this blog without direct and written permission from the Founder (Folarin Kolawole). For inquiries and advert placement on the blog, kindly contact us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.