Lydia Polgreen, writing about Ghanaian food in the New York Times, gets it RIGHT. Great food is one of the main reasons to come to Accra. And the way to eat in Ghana is not to go to restaurants, but to wander from stall to stall on the sidewalks, eating plantain, kebab, boiled eggs and yam chips. I’d add fresh pineapple and coconuts to her list of neccesary culinary experiences, but I suppose those aren’t uniquely Ghanaian. And I love the advice she gets from a fellow chop bar customer on choosing the right stall to shop at: “”You have to look at the whole person,” he said. “First, is her hair braided in neat rows, or does it go every which way? If it is neat, you are safe.”‘
Read any guide to travel in Africa and you’ll get caution after caution about eating street food. Follow this advice and you’ll never get beyond the buffets in the five star hotels. My experience eating my way around the world? I’ve gotten sick from five star meals many more times than I’ve gotten sick from street food. This doesn’t mean one should be stupid – eating meat that’s got flies crawling on it, or fresh veggies that have been washed in dirty water is dumb, dumb, dumb. But coming to Ghana and not eating kelewele (fried plantain with ginger and hot pepper) may well be dumber.
(The accompanying photo series is great, too. Way to go, NYT.)