Boli And Fish, The Undisputed King Of Street Food In Rivers State


The city of Port Harcourt, the capital and the largest metropolis in Rivers State, lies along the Bonny River. City of Engineers,with estimated population of 1,865,000 million people occasioned by the discovery of oil in Oloibiri 1956 and oil was shipped through its port to other parts of the world since 1958. Oil has turned the fortunes of the Ikwerre farmlands into a city attracting oil companies and expats from all over the world.

That is the story you know but do you know that Port Harcourt is the home of the richest staple meal of Boli and Roast Fish, The king of Street foods?


Boli and Roast Fish is home here and if you have ever been to Port Harcourt and never had a taste of it then you  really were never here. Imagine sweet, ripe plantain, semi ripe plantains, huge pieces of fresh, Peppered Tilapia or briny Mackerel, smeared in the most delectable peppery, palm oil sauce. On the side is a combo of sauteed onions and crusty green, bitter-ish leafs called Utazi (Gongronema latifolium).  As an aside salad. It is a meal to relish and cherish. It comes sizzling hot and you don’t have to worry about food poison or eating cold putrid meal. For a first time inductee, boli and fish is eaten hot and with spicy hot palm oil stew sauce. That is the one and only way to avoid things that make go huh?


Every nook and cranny of Port Harcourt you will see the visible smoke bellowing into the wide skies do not be alarmed,  it is just pockets of Plantain pop-up bazaars that liter the city street corners from Elekahia, the the heart beat of Boli and roast fish to Rumuokoro, a bustling suburb of the city comparable to Oshodi in lagos in terms of human traffic.


You cannot miss a spot, wherever you see a buzz of humans in mini pop-up bazaars know that it is not Nairabet or Baba Ijebu mock up shops but the Boli and Roast Fish spot. Everyday these mini Meccas of local street foods gets busy like bee hives as faithful pilgrims troop like swarm of bumble bees to  fulfill a daily ritual to quench a burning appetite. Am hooked on this salacious meal myself to be honest and did I hear you say how much? Well, I have good news for your epicurious soul , this  nutritious, healthy meal will setback your pocket backwards for as little as N500.00 for a sizeable fish and a large sized finger of plantain. This King of Street food is only rivaled by Indomie stir fry. But in Pitakwa as we have come to know it ( Port Harcourt ) in local parlance, forget the Garden City toga, Boli and Fish gets the thumbs up and crown. Boli and roast fish is most strikingly, tantalizingly tasteful meal that will leave you wondering where the heck have you been.

In Port Harcourt, no party, picnic,or weekend get together is complete without Boli and Fish.You can roast or barbecue both ripe and unripe plantain or have both for good measure.

For those of you trying to keep up the stay healthy eat healthy fad, you cannot go wrong with Boli and Fish.

A sneak peek at the Nutritional statistics cannot be overemphasized:





Nutritional Fact:  Roasted Plantain

Calories 252 Sodium 0 mg
Total Fat 0 g Potassium 0 mg
Saturated 0 g Total Carbs 0 g
Polyunsaturated 0 g Dietary Fiber 0 g
Monounsaturated 0 g Sugars 0 g
Trans 0 g Protein 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Vitamin A 0% Calcium 0%
Vitamin C 0% Iron 0%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.








Calories 200 Sodium 490 mg
Total Fat 18 g Potassium 0 mg
Saturated 4 g Total Carbs 6 g
Polyunsaturated 0 g Dietary Fiber 0 g
Monounsaturated 0 g Sugars 1 g
Trans 0 g Protein 16 g
Cholesterol 80 mg
Vitamin A 12% Calcium 20%
Vitamin C 0% Iron 11%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.



How to make the King of Street Foods

 You too can have a taste of Port Harcourt anywhere you are on the globe by trying out our recipe for the king of street food, Pitakwa, Boli and Roast Fish.



  • one whole tilapia(cleaned and gutted)
  • One medium sized ripe plantain
  • one medium habanero pepper? Ata-rodo
  • one small red bell pepper or tatase
  • one small onion cut into two chuncks
  • One small garlic clove(optional)
  • one finger of red cayenne or chili pepper
  • one finger of green cayenne or chili pepper
  • 1plum tomatoes
  • salt to taste
  • Half of one whole knorr cube or a small bouillon
  • 1tbsp grinded crayfish or shrimp paste
  • 1½-2tbsps of cooking oil(for cooking)
  • ½tbsp olive oil for tomato puree
  • Fresh Utazi leaves

For pickled onion

  • one really small onion or shallots
  • one small finger of cayenne pepper or habanero pepper(if you can stand the heat)
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1tsp of vinegar


  1. wash and pat fish dry, score the sides with a sharp knife and set aside
  2. blend all your chilies and peppers, the Knorr cube, ½tbsp of oil and one of the onion chunks.
  3. pour out half of it then add the tomatoes to the remaining half in the blender and puree
  4. season the fish with salt; then using some of the puree you poured out of the blender, give the fish a nice rub making sure you get into the nooks and crannies of the fish
  5. Sit the fish in the refrigerator for an hour or more to marinate.
  6. Slice up the onion along with some chilies. Season with salt and vinegar and let it sit in the refrigerator to pickle until the food is ready
  7. Pre heat your oven to 350degrees
  8. Peel your plantain, by cutting through the skin with a knife. Score the sides of the plantain and sit it in a foil wrapper or non stick oven tray and spray with some oil(optional). Put the plantain into the oven and let it roast
  9. Remove the fish from the refrigerator and heat up a non stick pan(you may also spray the pan with some oil this is optional depending on you and your pan mostly). Carefully sear the fish on both sides and transfer into non stick oven tray or roasting pan(you may even sear it on a griddle or pan that is heat resistant and can go into the oven). But before you transfer the fish into the oven, use the remaining of the puree that you poured out or the blender and marinate the fish again; then into the oven it goes to roast alongside the plantain
  10. Once the plantain is nicely browned, remove it from the oven and let it cool before cutting it up(You want your plantain to be nicely browned and a little moist on the inside, No one wants a dry looking or tasting plantain
  11. While the fish is cooking, heat up 1½- 2tbsps of oil in a sauce pan, slice and throw in the other half of the onion and the garlic clove. Sauté for two minutes; then add the grinded crayfish or shrimp paste and sauté for another minute, making sure it does not burn(use medium to low heat for this process). Pour in the tomato and chili puree and let it cook. Check for seasonings and add salt if needed. Once the oil floats to the top and the stew looks a bit darker; then it is done
  12. Check on the fish, once it is done, quickly brush on some of the stew on it and let it sit and soak up the tomatoes. Cut the plantains into whatever sizes that you would prefer, pour some stew over it and toss. Serve with the picked onion and pepper mix
  13. Wash Fresh Utazi Leaves and dice into small strips to garnish with Sliced Onions.

So , there you go, you can become an authentic Port Harcourt visitor by diving into the ritual of eating the King of Street food in Pitakwa,Port Harcourt for the local. Enjoy and eat healthy.



Nutritional Facts,


To contact the author of this story:

Travis Kwentua,

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