Top 25 Most Popular Foods in Ghana: from the Gulf to the North

 Ghana, though a relatively small country with a population of around 30 million, was at the forefront of the struggle for independence from colonialism and the first sub-Saharan country to achieve it. Not only is it famous for great leaders like Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, but its cuisine is also undoubtedly one of the best in West Africa.

It has made a name for itself in the culinary arts of the sub-region and is famous throughout the continent for its spicy soups, corn-based and cassava-based foods.Ghana’s food is as diverse as its people, with every ethnic group having a special dish of their own. From the coastal towns to the savannah regions, one can count about a thousand and one different foods littered across the tropical country. However, some foods are known for their delectability and are common with almost all Ghanaians. 

We bring you 25 of the most popular foods in Ghana, but before we begin, here’s a short guide to help you understand the food culture in The Star of Africa (one of Ghana’s numerous nicknames).

Ghanaians divide their foods into breakfast, lunch, and supper – just like Europeans. Though there’s a clear distinction between what food can be taken for breakfast, lunch and supper don’t have that. So, what can be taken as lunch can equally be taken as supper and vice versa. Rarely do you have Ghanaians take foods meant for breakfast as supper or lunch, but it does happen.

Most Popular Soups in Ghana

Most foods in Ghana are taken with soups or stew. So, here is a list of the major soups that are loved by all and sundry from the gulf to the north. 

Peanut/ Groundnut Butter Soup

Peanut/groundnut butter soup is made from, you guessed right, peanut butter. The creamy soup is made by mixing the peanut butter with water and stirred till the oil in the peanut butter rises to the top.

It is later added to a mixture of boiled and blended tomatoes, pepper, onions, ginger, and garlic and cooked to give it its unique taste. You can add any meat or seafood of your choice.

Light Soup (Tomato Soup)

Locally referred to as light soup because of its lightness/thinness as compared to the peanut butter soup, it is very easy to prepare and very spicy. Just boil pepper, tomatoes, and garden eggs together, then blend them. Sieve the chaff and add some blended onions, garlic, and ginger.

The meat is steamed separately with spices to ensure it is soft and delectable before adding it to the soup for its special aroma and flavor.

Okra Soup

The name of the soup is derived from the major ingredient which is okra. There are two variations to this soup – dry okra soup and fresh okra soup depending on the location. The southerners grow fresh okra so they use the fresh okra while the Northerners, due to their dry weather, grow dry okra. It is eaten along with several foods as we will soon discover.
Having gone through the major soups that are popular in Ghana let’s dive into the world of Ghanaian cuisine.
Numerous Ghanaian foods don’t have English names or their equivalents, neither do they have American or European ‘counterparts’ (Yes, they are that unique). Therefore, I’ll do my best to explain them.

Most Ghanaians prefer to take breakfast depending on their jobs and status in society. Those who work white-collar jobs will prefer light foods like tea, chocolate drink, or porridge accompanied with bread or biscuits. However, those whose work requires manual labor prefer to take what they term “heavy food” like plain rice or beans with sauce or stew.
1. Koko with Koose/Bread (Corn Meal Porridge and Bean Cake/Bread)

This food, though can be taken at any time of the day, is mostly eaten as breakfast. It is a common sight to see lots of buyers line up in a queue just to purchase this delicacy – queuing for food is very common in most African cities.
The food is prepared from corn dough which has been left to ferment for a few days (3 days approximately) to make it tastier. Unfermented corn dough normally leaves a biting and sour taste in the mouth. The cornmeal porridge is normally accompanied by bean cakes or bread. 
2. Hominy Corn Porridge

This widely popular breakfast is akin to European hominy grits. It is made from hominy corn, and that’s all you need to make this hearty breakfast. It is boiled in water for a few hours to soften the corn and then your meal is ready.
It is a very delicious breakfast loved by both parents and children alike because of its nutritional quality. Raw hominy corn porridge has a tangy taste, therefore, sugar and milk are added to sweeten it and make it more palatable.
3. Rice Water Porridge

Another plain but nutritious breakfast is the rice water porridge. Very popular in the Southern and Middle belts of Ghana, this simple but delightful breakfast only requires three ingredients – water, salt, and rice. Most people usually add sugar and milk to sweeten it, but unlike the hominy corn porridge, it can be taken raw as well
Lunch and dinner are the most important meals to a Ghanaian. As I mentioned earlier, there’s no difference between food prepared for lunch and food prepared for dinner; they are interchangeable.
4. Banku with Soup and Seafood

Banku is a combination of fermented corn dough with cassava dough which is mixed and stirred in hot water till it becomes solid.
It is a very common dish in the Southern, Eastern, and Western parts of Ghana. Banku is eaten along with different kinds of soups, stews, and sauces – from peanut-butter soup to pounded palm nut soup.
However, the most popular soup that resonates well with banku is okra stew or soup. Cowskin, locally called ‘wele’, is added along with any seafood of your choice.
5. Fufu and Soup
This is a popular dish across the country and its neighbors. It is called foufou or foutou in the Francophone countries while the English-speaking countries, like Nigeria, call it fufu.
Prepared from a combination of boiled tropical cassava and plantain or yam which is pounded to a pulp, it is eaten with mainly light soup. Fufu can also be eaten with peanut butter soup, pounded-palm nut soup, and vegetable soup made from either spinach or cocoyam leaves.

The most delicious fufu with soup dish features snails, mushrooms, and fish.
6. Waakye (Rice and Beans with Millet Leaves)

This is one of the most cherished dishes in most households in Ghana. As the name suggests, the main ingredients in this dish are rice and beans which are both boiled in water with millet leaves till they become soft.
The delicacy is named after the millet leaves which are locally referred to as waakye. It is normally accompanied by yellowish granulated cassava, tomato sauce, and a hot black pepper sauce referred to as ‘shito’. Waakye is eaten with mostly cow meat and eggs, but others also add chicken or guinea fowl.

7. Rice Balls (Omotuo) with Peanut-Butter Soup

The Southerners love this dish so much that they have dedicated a special day for the eating of this food – Sunday afternoons. Some local restaurants, popularly known as ‘Chop Bars,’ only serve this food on Sundays.
Omotuo is made from boiled rice which is stirred into small balls, thus the name rice balls. When stirred properly, the balls become soft and smooth, making it easy to gulp down with peanut butter soup. To top it all off, this food is served with a variety of offals.


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