Exploring gastronomic treasures: a comprehensive  look at Ghana’s vibrant food culture

Ghana’s culinary landscape is a delicious blend of traditional flavors, indigenous products and cultural influences that have defined the country’s past. From busy streets to sophisticated restaurants, Ghana’s gastronomic treasures captivate both locals and travelers alike, making it a sought-after destination for food connoisseurs worldwide.

The streets are lined up with food vendors, each offering their own unique dishes that are both delicious and affordable, and some of the best places to experience Ghana’s vibrant food culture are Kaneshie market and Labadi Beach Night Market or the Osu Night Market.


Yam, cassava, plantain and rice are basic foods in Ghanaian cuisine. These components are commonly offered alongside stews or soups as a foundation for numerous cuisines.

Kelewele is one of the most popular and most enjoyed foods in Ghana, and it is produced by deep-frying plantains that have been seasoned with a blend of spices, including ginger, pepper and onion powder. As a consequence, a sweet and spicy snack is produced that is ideal for a fast bite on the run.

Another popular street food dish in Ghana is ‘waakye,’ which is made by cooking rice and beans together with a variety of spices and seasonings. It is usually served with stew or shito, and a variety of accompaniments like plantain or pear. According to historians, Waakye first originated from the Northern parts of Ghana where their staple foods are rice and beans but it is unknown which tribe has exclusive ownership to the dish. In cities across Ghana, waakye is sold by Muslim women who are erroneously but affectionately called “Hajia” or “Amaria”.

‘Gob3’ which is a mixture of gari and beans is one other popular food that can be found on almost every street in Accra. Over the years, it has been named ‘y)k3 gari’ by the Ga and it is enjoyed by many, even by people from the Northern part of Ghana.

‘Fufu’ and ‘banku’ are round-like foods that are very popular in Ghana, eaten by both locals and travelers. Fufu is typically made by boiling cassava or yam and plantains and then pounding them with a wooden mortar and pestle until they form a smooth, dough-like consistency. It is then eaten with light soup, palm-nut soup and even groundnut soup.

Similarly, banku is eaten with groundnut soup, okro soup or stew, palm-nut soup and light soup. The banku is made by mixing cornmeal and cassava dough with water and then cooking it and stirring the mixture until it forms a smooth, sticky dough.

Other than these dishes which are popular among the Ghanaian populace, there are some other street foods like kebabs, fried plantains and boiled corn which can be eaten as light meals.


Ghana’s food culture is shaped by centuries of varied influences. The indigenous tribes such as the Akan, Ga and Ewe have contributed their unique culinary traditions. Trade with Arab and European merchants, as well as the Trans-Atlantic slave trade enriched Ghana’s cuisine legacy. These historical connections have left an indelible mark on the ingredients, cooking techniques and flavors used in Ghanaian cuisine today.


Ghana enjoys abundant seafood because of its coastline along the Gulf of Guinea. In coastal towns like Cape Coast and Elmina, it is common to find fresh fish, which is usually eaten with main dishes like banku and sometimes eaten with some vegetables.


Food culture in Ghana has a deep connection with festivals. During festivals like Homowo, where people come together to celebrate, traditional dishes like ‘kpokpoi,’ a corn-based dish are usually prepared and shared with family and friends. In the northern part of Ghana, during festivals like ‘Fao kuri,’- a festival celebrated by the people of Navrongo, the flesh of animals are cooked and eaten with rice, yam or tuo zaafi.

According to George, a student food vendor, Ghana’s food culture is really interesting because it is diverse and has a rich history. “I think it’s fascinating how different dishes have evolved over time and how they reflect the cultural influences that have shaped Ghanaian cuisine,” he added.

“I find it interesting how street food vendors often specialize in one type of food like kenkey or waakye. It’s so cool how street food is such an important part of daily life in Ghana, and how people from all walks of life enjoy it,” Isaac Sowah, a food vendor in Osu says.

“In an interview with Linda Mensah, a student who lives in Osu, she stated that she particularly likes kenkey, which is why she visits ‘katakumbe,’a popular Ga kenkey joint in Osu, almost every day to enjoy the kenkey there. That being said, I think it’s worth trying different types of food from different regions to know how rich Ghana’s food culture is.

According to the chief head at Katakumbe, people troop in and out of there every day to buy kenkey. The people there believe that kenkey is associated with family, community and tradition and for that, should be shared with others. In some places, it is even regarded as a national identity.

In view of this, it is important to know that despite the increasing popularity of international cuisines, Ghanaians remain strongly connected to their traditional food heritage as families continuously pass down old-age recipes to the younger generation.

Combined with the country’s warm hospitality, it has become an established destination for food connoisseurs as indigenous chefs tend to present traditional dishes to suit contemporary tastes and to keep the country’s gastronomic treasures intact for use in the not-too-distant-future.


The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect The Chronicle’s stance.


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