Welcome to Ghana.
‘Akwaaba’ is what you will hear as soon as you get to the boundaries of Ghana. You might hear that right in the plane whilst landing, or perhaps in the bus, ‘Akwaaba’ simply means Welcome.
Apart from some popular expressions and the hospitable nature of Ghanaians, you might be interested in some popular street foods to munch on. There are a number of them but let’s look at five very common ones today, shall we?
- Kelewele & Groundnut
Kelewele is a sizeable chops of fried plantain, deep-fried. Don’t be surprised by seeing long queues behind a kelewele seller only waiting to be served a few pieces of kelewele that would be wrapped in paper to drain excess oil that comes from it. The secret of kelewele and groundnut is the spices. These spices would make you drive miles away just to get to a joint for this food/ snack. The aroma can travel miles. There’s a myth that, when you’re lost on your way, the aroma will serve as your directional map/guide.
This personally, is best eaten at night as is mostly sold in the evenings.
- ‘Kofi Brokeman’
Moving from one plantain dish is another. (yes plantain is a favorite in this part of Africa) Kofi Brokeman is a food which means ‘even the brokest man (or woman) in Ghana could afford‘. Many would argue that that narrative is changing as is quite pricey especially when plantain is not in season and especially the location. It’s simply roasted plantain traditionally done over charcoal, with the right temperature, not too ripe and not too hard is a delight to die for. It is best accompanied by groundnuts and widely sold in the afternoon.
- ‘Nkosua ne meko’
Don’t be surprised when you see a woman with a child at her back carrying nicely arranged eggs (Nkosua) in a tray looking like white substance all over the eggs selling with a sweet voice calling out ‘nkosua ne meko’ (literally meaning egg and pepper). The white substance is just a salt that was added during cooking. Egg served with chili and sliced onions. This is like the Ghanaian version of deviled eggs.
Predominantly, you will find these hawkers at lorry station and big local events. This could make you go for more if you do not move away from the seller after buying. It is mostly sold in the day.
A ‘ga’ word traditionally, is roasted pork chopped and served with a sprinkle of dry chili mix but currently also fried and served with grounded spicy pepper, delicious. In Accra, you will find this commonly sold in Osu, Labadi and the gamashie townships. Goes as a snack on its own with sliced onions sprinkled with dried chili mix or eaten with kenkey or banku all very common Ghanaian dishes.
Last but not the least, this street food is very dear and at the heart of many Ghanaians nationwide. Even during the COVID-19 lockdown, the waakye seller was exempted from lockdown which shows the magnitude of love for this “essential” food. It is a rice and beans dish served with shito (black chili sauce). Many swear that it’s the taste of the shito that determines how good a vendor’s waakye will be. There is a whole range of side dishes/toppings that go along with waakye and that will be another post when we delve deep into it. This food is considered breakfast, lunch, dinner or all for many and sold any time of the day even at midnight.
There are many common dishes on the street that you will like to taste. Try visiting Adomi Bridge and you’ll be sorted out.