Six reasons why Ghanian street food is one of the most underrated cuisines in the world
If you find yourself hungry while out and about in Ghana, then the best thing you can do is find the nearest food stall. Street food is popular all over Africa, but in Ghana it’s an art form: a clash of rich flavors that is sure to get the tastebuds tingling.
The only downside is that if often gets overlooked in favor of other African cuisines. So, spread the word: here are six Ghanian street food dishes that everyone must try at least once in their life.
Expensive food is fine, if you know what you’re looking for. But sometimes a kebab costing about the same as a ticket for a lottery draw is all you need.
‘Chinchinga’ is a local word for kebab, and it comes in a variety of styles. You may find Chinchinga with beef, chicken, sausage or even guinea foals, but it always comes seasoned with a spice mix- known as ‘suya’- on a skewer. It’s best accompanied by Jollof rice – more about that later – and onions that act as counterweights to the spices.
Careful if you have a nut allergy, though. Suya is made with peanuts, ground spices and hot chili peppers – but its explosive taste makes it one of Ghana’s most popular street dishes.
The beauty of Kelewele is how versatile it is. Made up of deep-fried chunks of plantain, you can have it as a side dish, dessert or snack, depending on your mood.
Some people like it with just salt; others with nutmeg, ginger or some other spice that brings out the flavor. The sweetness of the fruit also reacts nicely with the spices to give that ‘sweet ‘n’ sour’ taste so adored by cosiness all around the world.
The lightness of Kelewele also makes it ideal to eat ‘on the go’, which many of Accra’s inhabitants choose to do as they go about life living in one of Africa’s busiest cities.
You may have heard of the Caribbean love of rice and beans, and dishes like Waakye may well have inspired it.
Often eaten for breakfast, this staple of Ghanian cuisine is just as likely to be found in homes across the country as in the street. It’s also incredibly simple to make: just boil the rice and beans together and serve it with fried fish, chicken, eggs or spaghetti (known as ‘talia’ in Ghana).
There’s even a special sauce that goes with Waakye perfectly: gari foto: a sauce made out of grated cassava. Put simply, this beautiful dish can be combined with many other offerings to make it one of the most common delicacies in the country.
Dumplings are a popular all over the world, with the Chinese cuisine famous for its different variations.
The Ghanian versions is just as delicious: made by rolling fermented corn dough into balls into corn leaves. These are then boiled and served with hot pepper sauce as well as seafood like octopus and fried crab.
Kenkey is particularly prominent in Accra, but you’ll find it most towns and cities all over the country – just ask a local vendor for it and the chances are that they’ll know somebody.
One thing to remember, though, is that they are extremely filling, but even if you order too many, they store very well for a snack later on.
If, like Homer Simpson, you love doughnuts, then you’ll love Bofrot, otherwise known as Puff-Puff.
These sweet delicacies are made up of flour, butter, salt, water and eggs which are deep fried in vegetable oil.
Once golden brown, they can then be sprinkled with sugar to give you a snack that would get Homer drooling.
Jollof is Ghana’s answer to Spain’s famous paella, a rice dish that can be served as a side-dish or as a meal on its own. Like paella, the key is flexibility: you can add ingredients to suit your own taste, whether it be onions, spices, or peppers.
Unlike paella’s yellow appearance, though, Jollof is normally a vivid red color, due to its tomato paste and palm oil, and stands out from the rest of the food on a busy street food stall.
Cheap, versatile and delicious, you haven’t had the true Ghanian food experience until you’ve eaten Jollof rice – a dish for all tastes.