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.
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.