Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Trip to Ghana

I had my first experience eating Ghanian food this weekend after a trip to DC brought me to the Ghana Cafe in the northwest neighborhood.  And it was delicious, reminiscent of Ethiopian food but without the injera. 

Since being back home I've been doing some research and discovered two other Ghanian restaurants tucked into hidden corners of the same neighborhood.  One, Akosombo, is apparently known mostly to the locals, since there is no signage and the entrance is hidden from the street (ironically, "akosombo" means "welcome").  Word has it that this is the place to go for authentic Ghanian food, so on my return trip I'll be sure to get my detective gear together to sleuth out a visit.  For a first timer, though, Ghana Cafe was a good place to start.  In fact, I think it was my favorite meal of the entire trip.

It started with a hearty portion of fried plantain and peanut.  Even after a 15 minute walk back to the hotel, they held their heat and crispness, along with a smooth, sweet and creamy inside reminiscent of donuts.  Mmmm.... donuts....

Because of the cold (it was in the 30s our first night!) I ordered a traditional Nkatekwan (peanut soup) to warm me up.  This needed a little salt and peppery kick, and the accompanying spice mixture was unexpectedly sandy and unpalatable; nonetheless, it was still satisfying probably because of the peanut butter.

There was a fairly extensive Vegetarian selection on this menu, which though interesting to read, made it difficult to decide what to try.  I opted for the Sampler Platter and let the chef choose what to serve.  There was Spinach & Egusi (kind of a curried spinach/collard mixture), Red Red (fried plantains and bean stew in red sauce), Rice and Beans, and Cabbage and Beans.  (I think he pegged me for a timid American, since two of the items had rice, but they were still good.  I should've tried either the Banku (fermented corn made into balls and served with stew) or FuFu (dumplings made from yam & cassava starch), but I didn't want to offend my server.  Next time. 

Next up... my visit to all-vegan Sticky Fingers Bakery!

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