The Ghana food scene is a captivating world of vibrant and diverse flavors. From the bustling streets of Accra to the tranquil coastal villages, Ghanaian cuisine offers a delectable array of traditional dishes that will leave you wanting more.
Every bite takes you on a mouthwatering adventure, from the iconic jollof rice, bursting with aromatic flavors, to the velvety smoothness of Banku and the succulent grilled tilapia.
Join us as we discover the essence of Ghana through its gastronomic delights, discovering hidden gems and savoring the unforgettable flavors of Ghanaian food.
What’s Special About Ghana Food
Ghanaian cuisine is distinguished by its extraordinary ability to tantalize your senses with a delectable blend of rich spices, exotic ingredients, and heartwarming hospitality.
Each dish tells a story, reflecting the country’s rich cultural heritage and the diverse influences that have shaped its flavors.
One of the interesting facts about Ghana and its food culture is the passion and pride that goes into each meal. It is not just about the food but also the communal spirit that pervades each meal. Ghanaians are known for generosity; sharing a meal with friends and family is a treasured tradition. It’s a chance to connect, bond, and celebrate life with others.
Prepare your taste buds for an extraordinary journey through Ghana’s flavors. Discover the magic hidden within each dish, and allow this remarkable country’s rich culinary heritage to leave an indelible mark on your palate.
Most Famous Food In Ghana
Banku (Cassava-Fermented Corn Dough)
Banku is a popular Ghanaian dish consisting of fermented corn and cassava dough served with soup or stew. The dish, which originated in the Volta region, is attributed to Ewe citizens and gets its name from the GaDangme language, which refers to the fermented mixture. Banku is particularly popular along the Southeastern Ghanaian coast.
Portuguese explorers documented the consumption of steamed millet and sorghum bread in the 17th century, drawing parallels between this bread and Banku. Therefore, it is widely believed that Banku emerged during this period.
From the first bite, your taste buds will be captivated by the distinctively tangy flavor of the fermentation process. You can pair it with other traditional Ghanaian food such as Shito, Okra stew, or Shitor Din to round out the perfect Banku experience.
Ghana Food – Main Dishes
Waakye (Rice And Beans)
Waakye, a Northern Ghanaian specialty, is a delectable combination of cooked rice and beans typically served with stew or salad. Because preparing this dish at home takes time due to the processing of dry beans, many people prefer to buy it from street vendors.
Chefs use millet leaves to give the dish its distinctive deep burgundy color, occasionally substituting sorghum leaves when millet leaves are in short supply.
Waakye was traditionally served in Thaumatococcus Danielli leaves, which were abundant in Ghana until the widespread use of polyethylene in the 1900s caused a decline in their use. These leaves are a platform for arranging traditional Waakye ingredients such as Kelewele, Talia, Shitor, and boiled eggs.
Ghanaian Jollof Rice
Jollof Rice is a beloved West African culinary treasure that consists of rice cooked in a delectable tomato-based sauce. As they compete for the title of best Jollof rice, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone form a friendly rivalry. Surprisingly, this iconic dish did not originate in West Africa but rather in the 1300s with the Wolof Empire.
Ghana Jollof rice, formerly known as Thieboudienne, was introduced and adapted by the Wolof people as they spread across West Africa.
Ghanaian Jollof rice, made with fragrant basmati rice, has an attractive aroma, fluffy texture, and flavor. Locals combine it with meats or seafood like beef and fish, vegetables, and the iconic shito for a wholesome dish during festive gatherings and special occasions.
Wasawasa (Local Yam Flour Meal)
Wasawasa demonstrates Yam’s versatility in preparing unique and tasty dishes from simple ingredients. The mixture is a straightforward blend of yam-peeling flour, salt, pepper, and water. Wasawasa’s flavor is truly addictive, despite its darkened appearance after cooking.
People in Ghana’s northern regions and other West African countries simply love this dish. Wasawasa comes with various common accompaniments, including spicy sauces, fried fish, vegetables, raw groundnut oil, shea butter, and onions.
The selection of side dishes is tailored to individual preferences, making each serving a memorable experience.
Fufu (Fermented Cassava)
Ghanaian Fufu is a beloved culinary treat made by laboriously pounding fermented cassava. This starchy staple goes well with a variety of flavorful soups and stews.
Fufu’s smooth and dough-like texture, achieved through meticulous pounding, provides a comforting texture that perfectly complements the rich flavors of Ghanaian cuisine. Fufu embodies the essence of traditional Ghana food, offering a satisfying and authentic dining experience when served with light soup, groundnut soup, or palm nut soup.
Tuo Zaafi (Maize/ Millet Flour)
Northern Ghana welcomes you with Tuo Zaafi, a maize or millet flour dish cooked in soup or stew. As its popularity grew, some restaurants began to include it on their menus. This dish is found in Northern Ghana, Nigeria, Mali, and other West African countries.
Tuo Zaafi is a Hausa word that means “very hot paddling/stirring.” The basic ingredients of millet, cornflour, and water create a sticky and tender texture. This savory morsel goes well with Okra soup, typically served for dinner.
Angwamu (Ghanaian Fried Rice)
If you’re intrigued by Ghanaian rice dishes and want to learn more, we like to introduce you to Angwa Mo, also known as Angwamu. This classic dish is easy to make and delicious to eat. Angwa Mo, loosely translated as “oiled rice,” is prepared with a unique cooking method.
While the traditional Jollof rice uses basmati rice, Angwa Mo instead taps on the aromatic jasmine rice, giving it a different fragrance and a lighter texture.
When chefs experiment with different oils or rice types, variations of oiled rice emerge. Prepare for a delightful adventure as you savor the various versions of this delectable dish.
Ghana Food – Light Dishes, Snacks, And Street Food
Breakfast in Ghana is incomplete without bread, a staple that extends beyond Ghana into other West African countries. Walking into a typical bakery in Ghana, you’ll notice different types of bread.
Tea bread resembles a baguette, whereas sugar bread is a popular choice among Ghanaians due to its sweet flavor and chewy, dense texture. Surprisingly, sugar bread contains a lot of vitamin C.
On the other hand, Brown bread has a distinct color due to the use of whole wheat in the making process. In addition, you may also find other varieties such as butter bread, oat bread, rye bread, and malt bread.
Ghanaians get creative by incorporating cassava flour alongside wheat flour to improve the texture and characteristics of the bread.
Kelewele (Spicy Fried Plantains)
Kelewele, or “hot crispy plantain,” is not your typical fried plantain. This popular Ghanaian food is infused with various spices, enticing taste buds with its irresistible flavors. Kelewele’s popularity extends beyond Ghana, garnering attention in the American and African culinary scenes since its inclusion in Recipezaar in 2009.
Kelewele can be served as a dessert or with peanut or bean stews for a filling meal. While the traditional Kelewele is made with cayenne pepper, salt, and ginger, locals often add anise, nutmeg, and cinnamon to enhance the taste.
Yele Kakro (Fried Ghanaian Yam Balls)
Yele Kakro, Ghanaian yam balls, have a special place in the locals’ hearts, much like potato balls in Western countries. These deep-fried balls get their name from the Ga language and are made from Yam, a popular and beloved starchy crop in Ghana.
You can eat Yele Kakro without other vegetables or flavors, making it a simple dish but with a captivating flavor. While this dish originated in Ghana, it has gained popularity throughout West Africa and Nigeria.
Dipping these vibrant yellow balls in a spicy sauce like Shito is highly recommended to enhance the flavor. This also allows you to savor two Ghanaian delicacies simultaneously for a truly local culinary experience.
Boflot/ Buffloaf (Puff-Puff)
Boflot is a tasty sweet treat popular in Ghana and throughout West Africa. This traditional African snack is made with flour, sugar, yeast (or baking powder), and butter, which results in a fluffy and irresistible texture.
These deep-fried balls, similar to French Beignets and Italian Zeppole, can be rolled in sugar or flavored with vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, and other spices.
In Rwandan cuisine, Boflot is known by various names in different countries, including Legemat, Vetkoek, Amagwinya, and Mandazi. Dip it in strawberry or raspberry sauces, or pair it with coffee, beans, or other beverages for a quick morning meal, as the Cameroonians do.
Tubaani (Steamed Black-Eyed Pea’Peas Pudding)
Tubaani is one of many dishes incorporating peas, demonstrating Ghana’s love for this ingredient.
This steamed pudding is made from black-eyed peas blended with water to form a paste-like consistency. The dough is then wrapped in fragrant Marantaceous herb, and Thaumatococcus daniellii leaves, adding a delightful aroma and sweet flavor.
Tubaani is especially popular in Zongo communities and certain Northern regions of Ghana. It is frequently served with stir-fried pepper and onion or gravy, which adds a savory complement to this unique and flavorful dish.
Kenkey (Fermented White Corn)
Kenkey demonstrates the versatility of corn in Ghanaian cuisine. This dish varies according to the region in Ghana but its base is fermented white ground corn, which gives the delightful sourness.
Kenkey is made in large batches and consumed annually, making it a staple in Ghanaian cuisine. Kenkey is so popular that it has a festival where you can sample fried, salad, and stewed versions.
This dish also celebrates West Africa’s abundant fish sources as it is often served with fried fish. Discover the delectable pairing of Kenkey and fish for a truly delicious experience.
Ghana Food – Stews And Soups
Okra stew, a dish that revitalizes your palate, will introduce you to a new Ghanaian culinary experience.
The crop, also called ladies finger, is thought to have originated in Southern Ethiopia or South Asia and has a long history. The term “okra” first appeared in West African regions in the 1670s, solidifying its status as a traditional ingredient.
The typical Ghanaian okra stew is a vibrant red stew enriched with tomato-based soup and palm fruit oil. When served with quinoa or steamed millet, its texture can range from slim to thick, perfectly complementing Ghanaian cuisine.
Depending on where you are in Ghana, you can try dried or fresh okra soup; either way, you will enjoy it.
Ebunu Ebunu (Kontomire Stew)
This Ghanaian food, known as Ebunu Ebunu or “green green,” originated in a meeting between Elminans and Europeans before Ghana’s independence.
The stew is made with cocoyam leaves and various other ingredients. It is also considered a traditional Akan-tribe dish, commonly served with boiled ripe plantains, rice, and fufu for a complete meal.
Kontomire stew is popular not only in Ghana but also in other West African countries.
Ghanaian Palaver Sauce
Palaver Sauce is a local Ghanaian dish that pairs well with starchy staples such as fufu, yams, potatoes, or even rice. The sauce is a tasty blend of leafy green veggies, dried meat or fish, and spices.
The ingredients are cooked together to make a rich, aromatic sauce that complements the starchy accompaniments’ hearty and filling nature. Palaver Sauce is well-known for its distinct flavor and is a traditional delicacy in Ghanaian cuisine.
Ghanaian Light Soup
This is a delicious tomato-based soup you should try when visiting Ghana or dining in a Ghanaian restaurant. The soup is famous for its slightly spicy broth, balanced with a medley of vegetables, including carrots, onions, okra, and, occasionally, potatoes.
The fresh ingredients combine to make a vibrant and hearty soup that pairs perfectly with fufu, a popular Ghanaian staple. Whether you enjoy tomato soups or want to try something new, this dish offers a delicious and satisfying taste of Ghanaian food.
Groundnut soup is a delicious and filling dish that you should try, especially if you like vegetarian food. This thick soup has a base of ground peanuts and various vegetables. As a result, the soup is flavorful and aromatic, with a unique blend of nuttiness and tanginess.
Groundnut soup is one of the local dishes in Ghana, and it is frequently served with rice, fufu, or bank to make a filling and comforting meal. The rich flavor and cultural significance make this an interesting dish to sample, whether you follow a vegetarian diet or enjoy bold flavors.
Palm Nut Soup
Palm Nut Soup is a rather decadent dish in Ghanaian cuisine. This thick soup has a rich base of palm nuts combined with tomatoes and various vegetables that creates a flavorful and aromatic delight.
While traditionally made with meat or fish, vegetarian versions of Palm Nut Soup are popular and provide a filling plant-based alternative. The soup is well-known for its creamy texture and distinct flavor, making it an excellent meal that highlights the many flavors of Ghanaian cuisine.
Ayoyo soup (Jute Leaf Soup)
It’s one of the tasty Ghanaian soups that reflect the country’s culture. This flavorful soup is made with jute leaves as a base, combined with tomatoes and other vegetables, to create a rich culinary experience.
Ayoyo soup is especially popular among vegetarians because it is both nourishing and filling. The vibrant green jute leaves and vegetable broth combine to make a hearty and nutritious soup that showcases the diversity in Ghanaian food.
It is worth a try, especially if you enjoy vegetarian meals with a Ghanaian twist.
Sweets, Desserts, And Pastries In Ghanaian Food
Nkatie Cake (Peanut Cake)
Nkatie Cake is a Ghanaian snack known for its sweet and nutty flavors. This delicious confection combines crushed groundnuts or peanuts with melted sugar. Nkatie Cake is typically enjoyed as a dessert or as a sweet treat.
Its distinct combination of crunchy peanuts and sweet caramelized sugar creates a delectable texture and flavor that is difficult to resist. Nkatie Cake is a Ghanaian dessert that offers a delightful balance of sweetness and nuttiness, whether you have a sweet tooth or enjoy the flavors of peanuts.
Chocolate Ganache Cake
Chocolate Ganache cake is a popular modern Ghanaian dessert that has captured the hearts of chocolate lovers. This decadent dessert is topped with a luscious chocolate ganache, velvety and creamy chocolate, and cream sauce.
The heavenly delight is created by layering or coating the cake with this rich ganache. Its smooth texture and intense chocolate flavor make it an irresistible choice for special occasions or to satisfy a sweet tooth.
Ghanaian chocolate ganache cake exemplifies the country’s love of fine chocolate and represents a harmonious blend of local and international dessert flavors.
Akwaaba (Coconut Creamy Dessert)
Akwaaba is one of the delicious Ghanaian desserts that combines the flavors of coconut milk, sugar, and eggs. The mixture of these ingredients makes this creamy custard a rich and luscious treat. Akwaaba is frequently served with accompaniments such as fresh fruit or nuts, which add a pleasurable burst of flavors and textures to the dessert.
The creamy custard combined with the contrasting elements creates a harmonious balance that will surely please the palate. Akwaaba is not only a delicious dessert but also a warm welcome to Ghana’s rich and diverse culinary traditions.
Ghanaian Chocolate Coconut Balls
Ghanaian Chocolate Coconut Balls incorporate the richness of chocolate, coconut’s tropical flavor, and sugar’s sweetness to create a delectable treat. Melted chocolate, shredded coconut, and sugar are combined to make a sweet and indulgent mixture that serves as the base of this sweet dessert.
After forming the mixture into bite-sized balls, they are usually chilled to firm up. Ghanaian Chocolate Coconut Balls are a popular Ghanaian snack for special occasions. They are particularly adored by chocolate and coconut lovers for obvious reasons.
Ghanaian Bread Pudding
Ghanaian Bread Pudding is a delicious dessert that combines the flavors of Ghanaian bread, sugar, and eggs. This comforting and creamy treat is made by soaking Ghanaian bread in an egg, sugar, milk, or cream mixture. The mixture is then baked until it reaches the consistency of a soft and luscious pudding with a golden crust.
Ghanaian Bread Pudding is frequently served with custard or ice cream on the side, adding another layer of richness and decadence to the dessert. It is a classic and satisfying dish that will surely please dessert lovers, whether served warm or cold.
Popular Grilled Ghanaian Food
Ghanaian Grilled Tilapia is a culinary delight from the country’s coastal regions, where fresh tilapia fish is plentiful. This dish is well-known in Ghanaian cuisine for its delicious flavor and cooking techniques. The fish is marinated with a blend of spices, herbs, and occasionally a touch of citrus, giving it an intriguing flavor.
The fish’s crispy skin and tender flesh make for a delightful sensory experience when grilled to perfection. It transforms into a satisfying meal when paired with spicy pepper sauce, Banku (fermented corn and cassava dough), or fried plantains.
Grilled kebabs are a popular culinary treat in Ghana and throughout the world. Small pieces of meat, such as beef, chicken, or lamb, are marinated in a mixture of herbs, spices, and oils to make these flavorful skewers. The marinated meat is then skewered with vegetables such as bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes.
Grilling the kebabs over an open flame gives the tender meat and vegetables a smoky and charred flavor, creating a mouthwatering combination. The grilling process also gives the kebabs a delicious caramelization and juiciness, making them simply irresistible.
Iconic Drinks In Ghana Food Scene
Rice Water is a refreshing and hydrating Ghanaian drink made from boiled rice water. This simple but satisfying beverage is prepared by boiling rice in water until the grains release their starch, yielding a nourishing liquid.
Ghanaian Rice Water is often lightly sweetened and flavored with ingredients such as vanilla or cinnamon, providing a refreshing and comforting experience. It is prized for its ability to quench thirst and provide a gentle respite, making it a popular addition to Ghana’s culinary repertoire.
Sobolo (Bissap Drink)
Sobolo, a delicious traditional Ghanaian beverage, is known internationally as Hibiscus tea. This flavorful concoction is known as “Sorrel” in Caribbean cuisine and “Agua de Jamaica” in Mexico. Despite its name, West Africans enjoy Sobolo as a refreshing cold drink.
It is possible to make Sobolo with either roselle flowers or leaves. The process includes steeping them in hot water, sweetening the infusion with sugar, and allowing it to cool before serving.
Bartenders frequently use orange essence, pineapple juice, or other complementary ingredients to add a twist to this beverage. Sobolo will enchant you from the first sip with its deep purple-red hue and irresistible blend of fruity flavors.
Brukina/ Burkina (Millet Smoothie)
Burkina is a delicious millet smoothie ideal as a quick and nutritious breakfast in Ghana. This energizing beverage is made from ground millet and pasteurized milk, yielding a creamy and nutritious drink. Like many other beverages in the warm Ghanaian climate, Burkina, also known as “Deger,” is popular among residents of Northern Ghana.
This Ghanaian drink provides a wealth of nutritional benefits due to its abundance of calcium, magnesium, and vitamins B and D, making it a worthwhile investment for your taste buds and health. During your Ghanaian adventure, indulge in this refreshing drink and let the flavors and nourishment of Burkina invigorate your experience.
FLAVORS AROUND THE WORLD
Discovering Delicious Food In Ghana
Embark on an exciting culinary journey filled with traditional Ghanaian foods during your visit. The country offers a rich tapestry of tastes and flavors, from the iconic Ghana Jollof rice to the flavorful Banku and the tantalizing Waakye. Ghanaian cuisine reflects the country’s diverse cultural heritage, influenced by various ethnic groups.
Exploring the lively markets, street food stalls, and local eateries can lead to very interesting discoveries. You can experience the warmth of Ghanaian hospitality and the authentic flavors of this remarkable country. Don’t miss the chance to sample the mouthwatering traditional dishes that define Ghana’s culinary landscape.