With a population of 30 million plus, spread across 16 regions, it’s safe to assume that Ghanaian food staples are as diverse as its people. From what’s considered foreign to African to strictly traditional, you’ll find various different popular foods in Ghana, whether you’re within a city or a cottage. While the best restaurants like to serve continental dishes, you can trust the corner food joints a.k.a “chop bars” to serve you sumptuous local meals.
Whether you’re planning a trip to Ghana or you’re a local folk in a hamlet somewhere in the Upper West or Volta region of Ghana, this list of popular foods in Ghana will give you a taste of its exquisite cuisine to try out. After all, variety is the spice of life, isn’t it?
As happens in many regions of the world, certain types of food are usually taken at certain times of the day and Ghana is no exception to this. Simply put, foods are usually categorized as breakfast, lunch, and supper.
In Ghana, however, this isn’t always the case in the strictest sense of the word. Don’t be surprised to walk into a Ghanain’s home to find a bowl of Hausa Koko (local porridge) on the dining table for supper, especially of the Muslim faith, or Kenkey on another’s.
That notwithstanding, we’re looking at the general situation of popular foods in Ghana and the categories they belong to.
Let’s dive in…
Popular Foods in Ghana for Breakfast
First, we take a look at some foods that are generally consumed in Ghana as breakfast.
1. Koko (Porridge)
Koko is one of Ghana’s main meals for breakfast. It can be prepared from fermented corn (corn dough), or millet. It’s best served with bread, Koose (beans cake), or peanuts. The preparation process differs slightly, depending on the region you are in. In fact, I once consumed a serving that had a preparation entirely unusual to me. The mixture was poured into boiled water, stirred for a few moments, and was ready to be served right away. And the taste? Great!
2. Rice Water
This is also another form of breakfast to expect in Ghana even though it’s less consumed than Koko. It’s made from rice, obviously. The preparation involves the use of plenty of water, stirring till it softens. Many prefer to take it with sugar and milk as well as bread to add some weight.
3. Tom Brown
Tom Brown remains another popular breakfast meal in Ghana consumed by both the young and the old. It’s made of yellow corn, groundnuts(peanuts), and soybeans among other cereals.
Like others, its preparation takes just about 20 minutes and can be taken with or without sugar and milk. It’s also heavily consumed by babies and infants due to its nutritional nature. It can also be taken together with bread or biscuit.
This appears to be the favorite of the middle class and the elite society of Ghana, probably because it comes at a higher price tag compared with the others. It’s made of Milo, a popular cocoa product or coffee. Again, it’s served with sugar and milk. Diabetics and others can freely consume it without the addition of sugar and still be fine.
Popular Foods in Ghana for Launch
Wondering what Ghanaian foods are best taken at launch? Here are some fantastic meals that will make your afternoon complete. Launch is life, isn’t it? Let’s get going…
Yes, Waakye may have come from the Northern part of Ghana but has successfully touched the heart and souls of food lovers across the length and breadth of the country. It’s made of rice and beans, carefully prepared with some special leaves that give it a special sweet-scented brownish color.
What used to be widely sold in the street has found its way into some of the best restaurants in town. It’s considered very healthy because of the beans component. Try it out the next time you’re in town.
Jolof rice tastes so good and is consumed beyond the shores of Ghana. In fact, it’s so good that there’s currently a “war” among some West African countries, particularly, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Ghana claiming ownership or having the tastiest of the dish.
Of course, there are different versions depending on the nationality doing the cooking.
The meal is best taken in the afternoon even though it largely depends on who’s hungry. It’s best served with fried chicken, fish, and veggies, with “shito” (hot black pepper) in the mix.
7. Rice with Stew
Rice is perhaps the most consumed food in Ghana. Plain rice is simply as the name suggests – cooked rice with no color or taste-changing ingredients as in the case of Waakye and Jolof. Ghanaians take it with no restriction but can be considered more as food for launch. It’s mainly consumed with tomato stew or soup. Fried fish or chicken or egg come together to make it complete for the afternoon.
8. Gari and Beans
Gari and Beans a.k.a “Gorbe” is another food to check out for your launch. It tastes good and is well patronized because it costs less, compared to foods like Jolof. It’s best served with “Kokor” (Riped Plantain) or egg. Again, the beans component makes it healthy. What was once considered food for the hassler is now being consumed by the middle class because of its good taste and many health benefits.
Kenkey is made of fermented white corn and is well consumed at launch. Various types of Kenkey can be found in a stall
on a street near you in Ghana. However, the main types are the Ga and Fante Kenkey, named after the ethnic groupings
considered to be the originators of these foods.
While the Ga version is best served hot, it isn’t necessarily the case for the Fante version. In fact, unlike the Ga type, the latter can last up to a week and still taste good. Both are best served with hot pepper, sliced onion, and fish.
This is a boiled yam, plantain, or cocoyam eaten mainly in the afternoon. It can be mixed together and best served with palaver source. Those who do it with palm nut soup give a good account of it. It’s all about what works for you. Ampesi with a good stew or its best combo, kontomire (cocoyam leaves) stew with boiled egg will make your day.
Popular Foods in Ghana for Supper
After a hard day’s work, you need good food to crown the day. The body needs it for energy. The soul needs it for a happier tomorrow. Let’s take a look at some popular foods in Ghana you can’t miss for supper.
There’s no doubt that fufu has been one of the popular foods in Ghana for centuries. Fufu is the delicacy of Akans, mainly in the Ashanti region of Ghana. However, this food staple is no longer the preserve of Ashantis. Walk to any part of the country and you’re likely to find a local bar or restaurant serving this meal. Fufu is made of boiled cassava mixed with plantain or cocoyam and is usually consumed at supper.
It goes with various kinds of soup, including light soup, palm nut soup, and groundnut soup among others. Apart from this, some form of fufu, made of yam is found in the northern part of Ghana as well.
Banku, made of fermented corn and cassava dough can be taken almost any time of the day even though many Ghanaians
prefer to do so at launch. It’s consumed at literally all parts of Ghana but the people of the Volta region are credited with it. Different versions of it exist among the Ashanti and Fantes.
At first bite, you get a sour taste. However, the combination of “shito” (hot pepper), okro stew, or groundnut soup instantly changes the narrative to a perfect meal on any day.
Kokonte is a Ghanaian food with lots of interesting nicknames including “Faced the Wall”, “KKT”, and brown fufu among
others. It’s largely consumed by locals and considered less expensive, hence, the favorite of the Average Joe.
It’s consumed with okra soup, groundnut, or palm oil soup and is heavily patronized by people in Muslim communities too.
A well-prepared Konkonte will keep you coming back for more.
14. Tuo Zaafi
Tuo Zaafi, simply, Tuo or T.Z is made of millet or cornflour and specially prepared to produce a sticky feel. It’s mainly consumed by the people of the Northern extraction in Ghana. In recent years, its popularity has soared. Many food joints include them in their menu. It’s best served with special green leaf soup or okro soup and best taken at supper.
15. Omo Tuo
This is also among the popular foods in Ghana and I saved the best for the last. Why? Well, Omotuo or rice ball is my personal favorite. It’s made of boiled plain rice shaped in a ball form. Northers are credited with this meal but widely consumed in Ghana and other West African regions. It’s best consumed with groundnut or palm nut soup with some good meat to match.
It’s not only inviting for its white-colored, rounded mold but also very sumptuous. My family likes to mix in a little flour to give it a sticky feel and that little gesture takes the taste to the next level. Give it a shot and you’ll love it!
If you’ve come this far, you’ve got a sense of the popular foods in Ghana that’ll make you lick your fingers. We’ve done our best to give you different foods that are ideal for different times of the day to guide your choices. Visit any decent restaurant or food joint for a good meal today. Remember to visit us again for more on Ghana’s culture, people, vacation guides, and more!