Traditional Ghanaian food is characterized by the distribution of food crops available to us. With a lot of tropical produce like corn, beans, millet, plantains, and cassava, most ethnic groups creatively use these foodstuffs to make mouth-watering dishes.
Being a Ghanaian and living the last 30 years plus of my life here, I write to introduce to you some of the best Ghanaian food you need to know and try.
Popular Traditional Ghanaian Food
Below are some dishes that are part of our everyday lives and can be found on our streets, in restaurants, hotels, and our homes.
Banku is a Ghanaian food cooked by boiling a mixture of fermented corn dough with or without cassava dough in hot water, stirred until a smooth, whitish paste-like form is stained. It can be eaten with soup, stew, or a pepper sauce with fish in any form; dried, fried, grilled or boiled.
The most popular Banku dish is Banku and Tilapia which is mostly associated with the rich in society.
It is mostly preferred by the people of the Southern Regions of Ghana; the Ewe tribe, the Fante, and the Ga tribe but also eaten across the other regions of Ghana. To learn more about Ghana Banku click the link below
Jollof Rice is a typical West African rice-based dish that got its name from the Djolof/Wolof people of Senegal and is a very popular Ghanaian dish that cannot be committed from this ultimate list of foods mostly eaten by Ghanaians.
The dish has, however, gained widespread prominence worldwide and in the African continent, of which Ghana has it as a popular meal usually call Ghana Jollof. It’s enjoyed throughout Ghana and can be found from wayside food vendors to big restaurants and hotels – it’s mostly served at every occasion from parties to funerals.
Jollof which is regularly referred to as a “reddish one-pot dish” recipe includes rice and tomato sauce in addition to other optional ingredients that vary by country and setting, with Ghana Jollof formula having its own special components that make the dish peculiar and it’s mostly enjoyed with fried chicken or Fish with Shito(hot black pepper sauce).
Kenkey is a typical Ghanaian dish made from fermented corn, grilled and mixed with water to get corn dough, its widely consumed throughout the country but popular with the Ga people in the Accra – Ghana Capital.
Ga’s calls it komi, and Th Akans call it Dokono. Kenkey is often eaten with fried or smoked fish throughout Ghana with Shito(hot black pepper sauce), raw blended or ground fresh pepper, and tomatoes, making a fairly complete dish.
Kenkey is so popular in Accra, the capital of Ghana, that there is even a kenkey festival held once a year where you can taste kenkey in various ways with fries, stews, and even salads.
Waakye is a Ghanaian dish/meal made from beans and rice with additional spices and herbs, which is a familiar and common food enjoyed by many Ghanaians.
This simple, nutritious food can be found on sale all over the country, from restaurants to street food vendors. Waakye can is commonly found in every corner of Muslim communities popularly known in Ghana as Zongo.
Per history, Waakye originated in northern Ghana, where rice and beans are common, and the truth of the matter is Northern makes the best Waakye in Ghana.
It’s often served with salads, spaghetti, fried plantains, gari, meat, and fish.
Fufu And Soup
Fufu is an essential food in most of West Africa and one of the local Ghanian food enjoyed throughout the country. It can be made with any of the starchy foodstuffs like plantains, cassava, yam, cocoyam, or a combination of two – the common one in Ghana is Fufu made with Cassava and plantain.
The traditional method of preparation is to boil the cassava and plantain, or any other foodstuff you choose, then pound them in a wooden mortar until they’re smooth and sticky like dough. They can be served with any type of soups found in Ghana, but mostly enjoyed with Light Soup with meat or fish.
To enjoy fufu to the fullest it’s customary to eat with hands, no spoon or folk.
Red Red is another popular food in Ghana, made from beans stew with red(palm) oil and fried ripe plantain. The red name originated from the colour given to the beans when the palm oil-based tomato stew is mixed in.
Red Red is very common in Ghana, especially in our schools, locally it’s called Gari & Beans or Gobe, you can get red-red from street food vendors, and restaurants throughout the country.
It can be eaten at any time here in Ghana but most people prefer to eat this tasty dish at lunch since it’s a bulky food and the digestion time takes longer.
Ampesi is a lovely Ghanian food made from either boiled yam, plantain, cocoyam, cassava, etc or a mix of any two or all of them it’s served with mostly stews; the popular one is palava sauce or it can be eaten with all types of Ghanian soups in it thickness form.
This Ghanian dish is common with the Akyems (eastern Ghana) and the Ashanti (Ashanti Region Of Ghana), this food has a touch of class so you’re not likely to find it with street food vendors, it’s mostly served at big restaurants and hotels.
Ampesi is a local dish and it’s mostly home-cooked and easy to prepare.
Omo Tuo(Rice Balls)
Rice balls or Omotuo as we affectionately call it in Ghana, is one of Ghanaian exotic food made with rice. The rice is usually cooked with more water than usual to make it softer
It is then beaten a little to make it smooth, and shaped into sizable balls. It is usually served with tasty Ghanaian soup made of groundnut or palm nuts. It’s a Ghanaian delicacy, enjoyed by all groups of people, most notably Akans, who coined its name.
It is usually an alternative for people who don’t eat our popular fufu. Although it is not as popular as fufu, it has gained a special place in the hearts of Ghanaians. It is so special that, most restaurants dedicate Sundays as Sunday Omotuo Special.
Tuo Zaafi is a popular food for the people of Ghana. It’s common in the country’s three northern regions: Northern Region, Upper East Region, and Upper West Region.
This amazing meal is usually eaten as dinner, yet some of people (for example farmers and manual workers) like to have it for breakfast or lunch.
The dish is made up of cooked Maize dough with a little dried cassava dough and water without salt. Traditionally, it is prepared with millet dough which is common in Northern Ghana where the food is mainly eaten.
It is mainly eaten with green vegetable soup made from Ayoyo (Corchorus Olitorious ) leaves, or sometimes freshly pounded cassava leaves. It can be accompanied, however, by various soups including okra and groundnut soup.
Konkonte is simple Ghanaian food made from dried and pounded Cassava flour and water. It is traditionally served hot with soups such as groundnut, palm nut, or okra soup and very popular food in Ghana and an alternative to our beloved fufu.
The appearance of the fully prepared Konkonte depends on the type of cassava used and to what extent it has been dried. It generally looks brownish in colour but can also be chocolate-brown. Its colour is similar to that of the top school uniform worn by basic students in most parts of Ghana.
Historically, Konkonte saved numerous lives during the drought and famine days in early 1980 – 1982. It also has a lot of nicknames including; Chris Brown, Face The Wall, Lapiiwa, and more.
The last Ghanaian food to mention in this article is Akple – a food that can be traced to the Volta Region Of Ghana.
Akple is prepared using cornflour with or without cassava dough, cooked in hot water, and stored until a smooth, whitish-grey paste-like form is stained. Apkle is similar to Banku but tastes entirely different due to the process of preparing the corn to make the corn dough or Corn Flour.
Akple is usually served with a flavorful Okra Soup known as fetri detsi or with any of Ghanian soup or Stew.
In conclusion, Ghanaians have a lot of good and clean food that tastes amazing as well, thanks for reading, don’t forget to leave your comment.