Eight (8) Nigerian Foods that are Double Double

Puff Puff. Chinchin. Garau Garau. Fio Fio. Moyin Moyin. ChukChuk. Kuli Kuli. Goody Goody. Double double. Or reduplication if you want to be proper and all linguistic. Because duplicated words, repeated words carry weight.

There are things you aren’t conscious of, till somehow you become conscious of them and the patterns emerge.

It all began with Deepa, my friend writing about Puff Puff and beignets

‘Dough demands its own vocabulary to bring it to life. And something about deep-fried dough seems to call for the sing-song language of repetition and emphasis that communicates experience and sensation, not merely fact. Things’re not just hot; they’re hot-hot. They’re not just yum; they’re yum-yum. They don’t just puff in hot oil; they puff-puff.’; Paticheri.com

And as Wikipedia sometimes does, it provides me with a definition that’s acceptable, quotable even

Reduplication in linguistics is a morphological process in which the root or stem of a word (or part of it) or even the whole word is repeated exactly or with a slight change.

Reduplication is used in inflections to convey a grammatical function, such as plurality, intensification, etc., and in lexical derivation to create new words. It is often used when a speaker adopts a tone more “expressive” or figurative than ordinary speech and is also often, but not exclusively, iconic in meaning. Reduplication is found in a wide range of languages and language groups, though its level of linguistic productivity varies.

Reduplication is the standard term for this phenomenon in the linguistics literature. Other terms that are occasionally used include cloning, doubling, duplication, repetition, and tautonym when it is used in biological taxonomies, such as “Bison bison”; Wikipedia

Here are 8 Nigerian Foods that are reduplicated:

Puff Puff

Golden balls of fried dough which do deserve the worship that’s taken up in its double names. Puff would not suffice for this goddess of Nigerian small chops.



Not to be confused with the Italian ‘Cheers’ used in toasts, Chin Chin is a happy cross between chew and crunch. Made from dough and fried to golden perfection, it is sometimes seasoned with nutmeg and may take any variety of shapes from chunks/ squares to ‘spaghetti or macaroni’, to flakes and diamonds and more. Regardless of its shape, it’s deliciousness is assured.


Garau Garau

A rice dish common in the north of Nigeria, Garau Garau is white rice topped with yaji, suya spice. It is sweet and spicy and easy to out together, now now


Fio Fio

We head over to the east of Nigeria where this dish of cowpeas with onions is a favourite. I haven’t tried it but at Global Foodbook has and it looks stunning!

Source: Global Foodbook


Of steamed pureed beans. Wonderful with garium sulphate aka, garri…soaked in ice cold water with some sweetener on a hot afternoon in Lagos. Bliss.



 A snack from peanuts, ground with the oil pressed out to prevent it from going rancid…and then deep fried (one day I’ll fully grasp the logic), Kulikuli is the base for yaji, suya spice.



or ShukShuk – a rounded crunchy coconut confection that’s halfway between cookie and candy, the preserve of Togolese women who make and sell them by the hundreds on Lagos Island.


Goody Goody

Chewy chocolatey candy popular in Nigeria in the 80s. Scarily, I could only find one photo on the internet of what it the box looked like. Where is our history? Our heritage? We need to work harder at documenting things! Please…for future generations.

Source: Nairaland

Anyway – there – 8 Nigerian foods that are double double.

I thought of Dodo, fried plantain but it isn’t really, is it?


Do you know any more?


  1. I smiled and my morning was happier just seeing the title of your post — then what a sweet surprise to find myself quoted therein! Thank you for that. The compilation is beautiful, as always. Sending you double double happy happiness from Manila! 😉

  2. Oh my! This is an interesting list. I lost it at Goody Goody. I remember these from the 90s and they were yummy chocolatey goodness. Also, I agree that we have very short term memories when it comes to documenting things in our country.

    Cous cous is a delicacy in the north and middle belt of Nigeria. I’m not sure if that is how it is spelt.

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