If you only eat in restaurants during your Ghana trip, you miss out on a lot…. After all, you can get to know the locals by eating with them. But what do they sell on the street? And what can you eat? Is it safe? Is there vegetarian food?
In this blog, I will list for you what kind of food is sold on the streets of Ghana. The list will not be complete, I can write a whole book about food in Ghana. Please let me know in the comments if I forgot your favorite dish!
What food is sold on the street in Ghana?
Snacks (Most snacks are sold from wooden/glass boxes that the vendors carry on their heads)
- Bofrot – A kind of pastry ball (vegetarian)
- Doughnut- A round fried ball that tastes slightly different from bofrot (vegetarian)
- Sweetpie – A crispy version of the doughnut (vegetarian)
- Meatpie – A savory cake filled with meat, fish, or egg, sometimes fried and sometimes baked in the oven. It is quite dry and not vegetarian
- Koose – A kind of cake made from beans (gluten-free), you can buy it from the porridge sellers
- Kele wele – Small pieces of plantain that are spicy seasoned
- Bankye krakro – Deep fried balls made of cassava (bankye) and onion
- Spring roll – A spring roll, sometimes filled with fish and cabbage and sometimes with beans
- Fanice, fan yoghurt, fanchoco – ice creams in bags
- Plantain chips, watermelon, bananas with peanuts
Various local drinks are also sold on the street. A few examples are sobolo (red-colored ginger drink), cold tea (cold chocolate milk) and brukina (made from milk and millet)
Breakfast in Ghana
- Rice porridge, oatmeal, and corn porridge are sold at stalls in the morning. They cook the porridge without sugar and milk. This is added when you buy it, so you can also buy this porridge when you eat vegan. Unless you bring a container, they sell it in plastic bags.
- Bread with omelet and coffee, chocolate, or tea. I really think this is a delicious breakfast. For example, you order 1 Cedi bread and they bake the egg while you wait. Pay attention when you order coffee or tea, before you know it there is a lot of sugar and milk in it!
Meals – rice dishes
- Rice with stew, you can buy this with various additives such as macaroni/spaghetti, salad, egg and chicken, fish and meat. The meat is often cooked along with the stew, and they also use maggi cubes with prawns. This applies to all rice dishes that you can buy from the street.
- Jollof rice, tomato rice that you can buy with chicken, egg, meat or fish and salad if desired
- Fried rice with chicken, a kind of fried rice served with some salad and shito
- Waakye, a dish of beans and rice, served stew and shito (pepper sauce with fish). If desired, you can buy macaroni/spaghetti, meat, fish, egg, salad, and gari (ground roasted cassava).
Bring a tray when you buy food from the street in Ghana
I really love waakye, I order my waakye without shito (often very spicy), with gari, spaghetti, salad, egg/fish, and avocado.
As you can see from the photo, plastic is used a lot in Ghana to wrap food.
In the past, people used mostly natural materials to wrap and serve food. Mostly leaves as you can see on the picture above this article.
There are many voices in Ghana trying to convince the vendors to go back to using these natural packaging materials. But while that is not happening yet, as a traveller you can of course just take a storage container with you when you buy food.
Meals – Ghanaian lunch and dinner
- Fried yam, plantain, or sweet potato, you can order it individually and they serve it with a pepper sauce, you can order chicken /fish separately. Yam is a bit like a potato in taste
- Beans, you buy this with fried plantain, gari, sometimes with fried onion and stew
- Kenkey, a ball of fermented corn flour wrapped in corn leaves. The taste is slightly sour and it is sold with pepper sauce, shito, and okra sauce, usually with fish. There is also a kenkey type that is packed in banana leaf, this variant is fermented longer.
- Cooked yam and plantain with stew and fish, meat, or chicken
- Banku with peanut soup and meat or fish. Banku is a (light) sourdough ball of corn and cassava flour
- Rice ball (omo tuo) with peanut, palm nut soup or okra stew and meat or fish
- Indomie, noodles with vegetables and egg
Chopbars and local restaurants in Ghana
In the chopbars and local restaurants you can buy many of the above dishes and sometimes also the frequently eaten dish fufu. In the north of Ghana you can see more Tuo Zafi (TZ), made from cassava flour.
Vegetarian and vegan food in Ghana
When you don’t have your own kitchen at your disposal or are in a place like Moon&Star guesthouse, where we are used to dietary requirements and adapted cooking, it is quite difficult to eat vegetarian. Vegan food is almost impossible. I do have some tips, because almost impossible is not completely impossible!
In Ghana there are not many people who eat vegetarian, in cities like Kumasi and Accra you can find some vegetarian restaurants/shops and in the big supermarkets they sell meat substitutes and the like. Jennifer from The Ghana traveller wrote a blog about vegetarian restaurants in Accra.
Some tips on vegetarian and vegan food from the ‘street’, this is a bit friendlier for your budget
Most food vendors think food is vegetarian when there is no meat left in it. But as written, most stew (sauce) is cooked with meat/fish in it and one uses broth cubes based on meat / fish.
Fruit is available almost everywhere in Ghana, pay attention to eating a lot of mangoes, these can affect the intestines quite a bit.
There are a number of food items that you can buy ready-made that are vegetarian/ vegan;
- Bread (note a lot of bread in Ghana contains milk, butter and egg)
- Fried yam/plantain (They mostly fry it in the same oil the fish is usually fried)
- Koose is a tasty and healthy vegan bean snack
- Some spring rolls are vegan, ask the seller if they are filled with beans
- Rice and waakye, buy this without the stew when you are very strict. Maybe you can buy (vegan) ketchup or another sauce in the city. You can also add (raw) vegetables yourself or ask for the salad.
- Fried rice without the meat and shito, note there is egg in fried rice.
- Beans, you can also buy the beans from someone and add them to the rice you bought from another seller.
- Kenkey, but not with the shito or okra sauce. You can only order the pepper.
- You can buy gari and mix it with vegetable milk (powder), water and sugar or fruit.
Is street food in Ghana safe?
I’m the first to admit that I’ve gotten sick from street food in Ghana. But I have also been sick of restaurant food in both Ghana and Europe. If you choose not to eat from the local stalls, you miss out a lot. Traveling and getting to know, experience, and experience a country is so good through meals.
A few years ago, the local chefs often used ‘wrong’ water during cooking. But now they use treated water (pure water) and salt to wash the vegetables.
A very old tip, which still works is to see if there are many people buying from the stall you want to buy from as well.
Are you coming to Ghana soon and want to know more about this beautiful country? In the blog, ‘Effective Ghana preparation; Well begun is half done!’ I share 5 useful facts about Ghana that will definitely come in handy for you during your Ghana adventure!