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Exploring Delicious Street Food in Ghana

Article by GVI

GVI

Posted: April 24, 2023

Take a journey to Ghana, a West African nation that’s full of cultural history and vibrant flavours. The country has a treasure trove of street food options that will make your taste buds dance. 

History of Ghanaian Street Food

Street food has been part of Ghana’s culture for centuries. Traditional markets have long served as convenient spots for people to grab a quick, affordable bite while shopping or socialising. Over time, Ghanaian street food has become an integral part of daily life, offering sustenance and an opportunity for social connection. Like many global street food cultures, the Ghanaian street food scene has been influenced by climate, agricultural resources and societal factors. Ingredients like rice, maize, plantains and cassava have formed the basis of many popular dishes, while meats like chicken, goat and fish are commonly incorporated into meals.

Must-Try Street Foods in Ghana

Let’s look at some of the dishes you should order if you want to experience the best of Ghana’s street food scene.

Waakye: A Flavourful Rice and Beans Dish

Waakye is a dish that brings together the perfect marriage of rice and beans. This combination is cooked with aromatic spices and herbs, resulting in a vibrant and enticing dish. With its reddish-brown color and mouthwatering aroma, it’s served with a variety of sides like fried plantains, boiled eggs and a spicy tomato sauce. Enjoyed for breakfast, lunch or dinner, waakye is a delicious explosion of flavours and textures.

Kelewele: Spicy Fried Plantains

Made with ripe plantains, kelewele is a popular street food that packs a flavourful punch. The plantains are cut into small pieces and seasoned with a blend of spices like ginger, cloves, chili powder and a pinch of salt. The seasoned cubes are then deep-fried until they turn golden brown, creating a crispy exterior while retaining their tender interior. The result is a mouthwatering dish that offers a perfect balance of sweetness, spiciness and crunch. The combination of sweet, spicy and savoury flavors makes it a beloved snack or side dish.

Banku and Tilapia: A Classic Combo

Banku, a fermented corn and cassava dough mixture, is a staple in Ghanaian cuisine. The dough has a slightly sour flavour and a dense, elastic texture. Banku is often paired with grilled tilapia, a type of freshwater fish, which is marinated in spices and grilled to crispy-skinned perfection. This classic combination is typically served with a generous helping of spicy pepper sauce, creating a symphony of flavours and textures.

Shito: The Fiery Pepper Sauce

No discussion of Ghanaian street food would be complete without mentioning shito – a fiery pepper sauce that is a ubiquitous accompaniment to many dishes in Ghana. Made from a blend of chilli peppers, onions, garlic, ginger and other ingredients, shito adds heat and depth to a multitude of dishes. Whether used as a dipping sauce for kebabs or grilled meats, or as a condiment for rice and stews, shito is an essential element of Ghanaian cuisine. It’s also incredibly versatile – some Ghanaians even use it as a marinade for meat or fish. While there are many variations of shito throughout Ghana, one thing is certain – it packs a serious punch and is not for the faint of heart!

Navigating the Street Food Scene in Ghana

Now that we’ve explored the must-try dishes of street food in Ghana, let’s dive into some tips for navigating this exciting food scene.

  1. Don’t be afraid to try something new: With so many delicious options to choose from, it can be tempting to stick to what you know. However, one of the joys of street food is discovering new and unexpected flavour combinations. Be adventurous and try something you’ve never had before!
  2. Use your senses: Look for vendors with a steady stream of customers, which is usually a good sign of quality and freshness. Also, pay attention to the smells and sounds of the cooking, which can give you an idea of what to expect.
  3. Mind the spice: Ghanaian street food is known for its spicy flavours, so if you’re not accustomed to heat, start with milder options and work your way up. Also, be sure to have a refreshing drink on hand to help cool down any unexpected spice.

Ghana’s street food scene is a culinary adventure that should not be missed. With its diverse flavours, street food in Ghana is more than just a quick meal – it’s an experience. Whether you’re a seasoned foodie or just looking for a delicious meal on the go, the street food of Ghana is sure to tantalise your taste buds and leave you craving more.

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