When it comes to eating a well balanced meal, Ghanaians have been ranked the 6th best among the top 10 countries by global study. The study which was based on 10 healthy food items – fruits, vegetables, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, fish, omega-3s, wholegrain, total polyunsaturated fatty acids and dietary fibre – are indeed some of the ingredients used in preparing most of the Ghanaian dishes.
From the Ashanti in the Ashanti region, to the Ga of the Greater Accra region and the Ewe of the Volta region, the Fanti in the central and western regions to the Northerners in the North, all have their own particular or favourite meals they are known for. The Ashanti from Kumasi are lovers of fufu and banku which they don’t mind taking three times daily. But unlike the Nigerian fufu that is made with just cassava in a pot on a cooking stove, the Ghanaian fufu is the pounding of boiled cassava and green(unripe) plantain in a mortal which takes a lot of time and energy to really make it smooth for consumption.
Topping Ghanaian menu is the popular dish known as banku, though this food is connected to the Ashantis as stated, over time it has become a general one taken by all. Banku is made with corn and cassava dough mixed in a pot on fire served either with okro soup ladened with lots of crabs, beef, smoked fish, and ponmo known as “wele” in Ghana. No wonder Nigerian popular artiste, the Star boy Wizkid couldn’t resist mentioning the delicious food in his hit song, Azonto.
Another Ghanaian food on the list regardless of tribe is the delicious kenkey made with corn and usually taken with freshly ground pepper, tomatoes, garlic and onions, with different types of fried sea food ranging from tilapia, salmon, prawns and the likes. Some prefer to add sardine to tone down the harsh taste of the corn or the hotness of the pepper, and not forgetting their local spice, shito to go with it. It’s so nutritious and delicious, I tell you. There is fante kenkey made by the Fantes from Cape Coast wrapped in banana leaves in the central region and Accra. Kenkey made by the Ga in Accra wrapped in corn leaves.
Also, for the lactating women in Ghana, it is believed that kenkey also helps with flow of breastmilk when it is mashed or blended with milk and sugar.
For the Northerners, Tuozaffi and ayoyo, known as “ewedu” among the Yoruba in Nigeria, is the order of the day. The ayoyo soup is sometimes mixed with okra and some tiny fishes known as School boy which is said to be very nutritional. In Ghana, Sundays are set aside for Tuozaafi by the posh and local restaurants alike, while they like to sit in large groups eating from one big bowl, to promote the spirit of friendship and togetherness which has been the norm since childhood. It also applies to other foods like Waakye, rice and beans cooked and served with stew and garri, a mixture of garri and palmoil or konkote, also known as ‘face the wall’ served with palm nut soups like the amala in Nigeria.
However, Miss Josphine Ofori , one of the key cooks at the Ashanti Home Touch (one of Ghana’s foremost eating joints) who spoke to Encomium Weekly said for all the foods mentioned comes the different types of soups that go with them, ranging from light soup, agushie stew known as melon, palaver sauce made with vegetables and dried fish, palmnut; and groundnut soup, kontomire made with cocoyam leaves, grass cutter soup made with garden eggs and cabbage stew are made with all sorts of stocks like chicken, goat meat, beef, dried fish, bush meat, and others. She added that she and her colleagues wake up as early as 2 am to prepare the foods because their customers start coming in as early as 8 am for a bowl of fufu, banku and the likes. While those that prefer to go light, take boiled plantain, rice or boiled yam with the cabbage stew or palava sauce. When she was asked why some consumers prefer to go heavy that early hours of the day, she added that the fufu and banku consist of carbohydrate which is a good source of energy enough to last through the day and it also allows for the intake of much water which helps to keep the body hydrated.
So, for those who love to go on adventures or try new food types, a trip to the land of the Black Stars might afford you the opportunity to do so.