Ghana Cuisines

Many restaurants in the larger towns and cities serve both European and Ghanaian dishes. For westerners the Ghanaian food is an interesting experience.

The basis of many Ghanaian dishes is something that looks like a thick porridge or puree. Certain foods that make up the Ghanaian diet vary according to which region of the country people live in. In the north, millet (a type of grain), yams, and corn are eaten most frequently, while the south and west enjoy plantains (similar to bananas), cassava, and cocoyam (a root vegetable).

Fufu is the best known and the most popular type of puree in the south and tuo-zafi mostly popular in the north. Fufu is made from a mix of cooked cassava and plantain, mashing the fufu is an extravagant ritual and hard work. Tuo-zafi is made out of millet flour. Other well known types of puree are kenkey and banku. The later is made from corn. Even rice is something turned into a kind of puree called omo tuo; this dish is considered to be a delicacy. When it comes to soup, foreigners will favour groundnut soup. Other popular dishes are red-red, which is fired plantain with beans, jollof rice (a kind of risotto), and grilled tilapia, a freshwater fish that shouldn’t be overlooked. All of these dishes are usually available in many chop bars (simple Ghanaian eating establishment).

These staple foods are accompanied by thick, well-seasoned stews. Stews come in a variety of flavours, the most popular being okra, fish, bean leaf (or other greens), forowe (a fishy tomato stew), palava sauce (spinach stew with either fish or chicken), and groundnut (peanut), one of the country’s national dishes. The local dishes are eaten without cutlery but with the hand. Food is eaten with the RIGHT hand. There are a number of different types of puree, each with its own name.

In Ghana, food and drink are offered for sale on the street, like roast goats meat, pieces of cleaned sugarcane, roast cobs of corn, coconut, bags and bottles of iced mineral water, oranges and plantain chips. The Ghanaian drink in a spot, an open air bars, usually walled by brightly coloured boards. All well-known soft drinks like Fanta, Sprite and Coca Cola are readily available, as are the local beers such as Star, Club, Stone, Castle, milk stout and Guinness. If you want something extra strong, you should try locally prepared drinks, akpeteshie, (local dry gin), distilled palm wine (a real delicacy that’s best when drunk fresh) and pito. The drink favoured at local ceremonies and presented to chiefs is schnapps.

SAFTY NOTE: Stay healthy by drinking bottled water or sachets, rather than tap water, and avoiding ice in drinks unless the source is known to be safe water. Bottled water for drinking is readily available throughout Ghana and is recommended. Fresh fruit is readily available. Food that is well cooked and kept hot is safest.