Friday, June 17, 2011

You are Invited!

In Ghana, when you are eating something and wish to share it with someone else, you say, "You are invited." Actually, anytime you are eating in front of someone that has no food, you should "invite" them. One of the fun things about this trip so far is I've experienced or seen several new foods. I have photos of some, but not of others. You'll have to take my word for it!

Lots of people probably know what these are. Palm Nuts. You can use them to make palm nut oil, you can make palm nut soup, or lots of other things. The oil is bright red and is used in a lot of Ghanaian cooking. "Red Red" is my favorite Ghanaian meal, and it uses red palm oil in the fish/bean stew and the fried plantains.
Yesterday in Togo I saw this green fruit hanging on a tree outside of Great Mission International Orphanage. Nobody around me could remember the name, but they all said it was very sweet and good for you. Through a quick google search I have found that it is called "Soursop" or "Gayabana" and is supposed to be VERY good for you.
On the Ghana side of the border we ate at "The Canteen" two days in a row. Below is groundnut soup with "meat" (aka Goat) and fish. I wish you could see how huge this bowl of food was! I could have put a double batch of cookie dough in this bowl! In the bowl below you can see a lovely chunk of goat. I love it prepared that way. The next day my friend got the same meal, but this time, instead of the chunk of meat, he got the jaw/tongue of the goat (complete with teeth) and the goat testicles! Can't believe I didn't get a pic of that one! This was my meal at "The Canteen." Check out the salad with pork and beans on top! LOL! I know some people don't like thinking about eating the fish head, but I rather like it. There is some really good meat in the head. The eyeballs--that's a different story. I'll leave that one to my Ghanaian friends. Snail Kebab anyone? These were being sold in the Eastern Region when we visited the other day. Actually, they looked quite beautiful, don't you think? I asked about the consistency and was told it would be like eating a person's ear. Yum! ;-) These kebabs were layered with onion and VERY hot peppers that even the Ghanaians couldn't eat.

On the way back from Togo lots of folks were selling bush meat. I'm used to seeing grass cutter and monkey as bush meat, but these folks were selling squirrels (seriously just like American squirrels) and humongous snakes. I'm told that the squirrels are really highly valued here. As far as snake goes, I don't mine the thought of eating snake. What haunts me is that you see so many of them. How many more are in the bush ALIVE?! We see lots of cases where one parent or the other has been killed by snake bite. I don't have any problem believing it.

Yesterday I tried Ghanaian cheese for the first time. Did you even know there was such a thing?! Evidently it's more of a northern thing (the Muslims making it) but someone was selling it in Tema. My friend got some and had me taste it. They fry it before they give it to you. It was SUPER yummy. I would definitely buy it again if I saw it. It was very mild. Tasted a lot like a mozzarella cheese stick.

One of my favorite street foods here is bofrot (sounds like "boe frute). These are sweetened balls of dough that are then deep fried. It's like a Ghanaian donut. You can buy two of them for 30 pesewas and one will fill you up like a meal. They are quite dense and filling. When I'm on the run and don't have time to eat, this is my go to food. [BTW, I'm not sure about the spelling. We discussed it yesterday and the spelling above is the best we could come up with--a french word.]

I mentioned that I got to hang out with a village chief the other day. We were driving for quite a while and we were all hungry. However, I was told we definitely could NOT go out to eat somewhere with the chief. Chiefs do not eat outside of their own homes here---something about them not being on the same level as commoners. I really felt bad for the Chief because I'm sure he had to be VERY hungry like the rest of us. At least we could buy street food to contain us until a real meal could be had!

If you know me in real life, you know that I am a pretty picky eater. I am not adventurous in the least (in America). But here in Ghana I find that I really like most foods, as long as it's not too spicy. The exception to this is Banku, Fufu, or Kenke. I've never eaten better bananas or pineapples than what they have here. It's ruined me for the American version of these fruits! The breads are right up my alley, as are the bean-based foods. In lots of ways, the foods here remind me of American Southern food. You can definitely see the commonalities between southern food and West African food in many areas.

Bon Appetite!



Adoption Advocates International 3:48 PM  

Guyabana is a popular fruit in Central America, where I lived for about 18 mos. a long time ago. I LOVE it! Looks strange--white pulp with black seeds but it is so so so delicious when ripe.

Adoption Advocates International 3:49 PM  

Guyabana is a very popular fruit in Central America where I lived about 20 years's delicious. White pulp with black seeds so it looks a bit odd but it is really good! I don't think it travels well so be sure you try it there sometime Anita.

Heather 4:39 PM  

Testicles, eyeballs and snails shall forever remain OFF of my menue planning! Although I still giggle when I think about the eyeballs on our plates at Eban House! Blech!

Jess 4:40 PM  

oh anita.... i am drooling thinking about the 'donuts' :) Those were my favorite! We found syrup at the accra mall and they taste good with that!

The Last Crusade 10:23 PM  

Mmm... It all looks pretty good!! I couldn't find too much other than fufuo & banku in Offinso! Thanks for the pictures!

Deborah 8:22 AM  

I noticed the similarities between Southern foods and foods at Eban House, too :) That made me very happy. I am able to make a bread and soup that look a lot like a meal I had in Ghana. We eat lots of black eyed peas, love family fish fries, and eat lots of soup with a red base and lots of beans. J and J have grown so much - each has gained 15 pounds and grown over 8" since August 2, 2009 :) Yay for God!!

fullplatemom 6:22 AM  

Boe Frute! I miss that. I would ask you to bring me back some Fan Ice, but I think it might be a little hard to transport. There isn't a whole lot my kids will willingly admit to missing about Ghana, but the food is a definite longing for them.

When we were walking into Target one morning, AJ told me that you could find all these things in Ghana and buy them "right off of some guy's head". My American kids were stunned,'s true.

Have fun!

bbqdaisy 9:44 PM  

What a FUN post! I loved all of the pictures of the foods too! I had never heard about some of them! I'm going to share the pics with my kiddos! I do have to say though, that I'm SAD for you that you don't like fu-fu =) Even with that food more likely being the food that made me get typhoid I still LOOOOOOOOOVE it!!! Blessings on the rest of your trip!!
Maria =)