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Bole and Fish: Port Harcourt’s Most Popular Food

Bole and fish is one of the popular traditional foods in Nigeria. A classic Nigerian street food said to have originated in Port Harcourt, the capital city of Rivers State, Nigeria. This city is known for a lot of great things but the most outstanding feature of this great oil city is its local dishes, more especially its popular street food called Bole (roasted plantain and fish). Port Harcourt bole and fish is a cuisine of roasted plantain and smoked/grilled fish (the plantain could be ripe, half-ripe or unripe). Is dish that could served with different accompaniment of choice usually a specially prepared stew and any protein of one’s choice (commonly fish or chicken). Bole is a hybrid of the western name Boli, which means roasted plantain. Bole is one of the Nigerian foods you should know and love – it has grown to become a popular Nigerian street food enjoyed by all at different levels of the society.

Bole has become a widespread street food in other parts of the country but Port Harcourt Bole continues to take the lead.

In the Western part of the country, this delicious chow is served with nicely fried groundnut but the Port Harcourt Bole is served with a specially prepared sauce, made of pepper, salt, onions, oil and seasonings. Another special thing about Port Harcourt Bole is the protein it is usually served with, it could be accompanied with finely seasoned roasted fish or chicken. I especially love to have my Bole with the head of fish, double dose of delicious combo!

Nigerian Street Food: Bole and Fish
Fresh unripe plantains when roasted becomes bole. © Dolphinregal Farms/Instagram

How to make bole (roast plantain and fish)


for 4 servings

  • 4 plantains, preferably unripe ones.
  • 4 whole fish, cleaned and gutted. Preferably mackerel or tilapia.
  • Palm oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 teaspoons ground pepper
  • 1 seasoning cube
  • 2 fresh hot pepper
  • 2 fresh tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, chop


  1. If not roasting with open fire, pre-heat oven grill at 170ºC until hot.
  2. In a bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of palm oil with the ground pepper, seasoning cube and salt to taste.
  3. Brush every side of the fish generously with mixture.
  4. Peel the plantains out of their coat and rub with little salt to taste.
  5. Place the plantains and fish on the grill rack and pop into the hot oven for about 50 minutes. Or till the plantains turns brown and fish done you take it down. Turn the plantains and fish over at intervals to make sure all side is well roasted
  6. Blend the fresh pepper and tomatoes together and set aside.
  7. For the bole sauce, heat the palm oil in a pot and add the chopped onions. Fry for a couple minutes then add the blended mixture. Add salt to taste.
  8. Fry for another 2 minutes while stirring, and then turn off heat.
  9. Serve hot bole with the sauce.
  10. Enjoy!

Bole can also be eaten with roasted yam or potato, this serves as a side dish to accompany this heart winning meal. Recently, a lot of bole vendors have revamped the meal by adding vegetables to compliment the meal, vegetables like sliced otazi leaf, uba, sliced onions, sliced fresh tomatoes etc.

Bole is best served hot and can be eaten at anytime of the day, although a lot of people prefer to have this meal during their lunch break.

The next time you visit the oil city of Port Harcourt; don’t forget to have a nice plate of hot Bole. You’ve not fully experienced Port Harcourt, if you leave the city without trying this epic street food.

We also recommend our guide to the top 10 traditional foods in Nigeria.


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