Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Exploring Food (and Drink) IV

12 February to 2 March 2011
If one is really open to various types of foods, then Ghana offers a wide variety of foods. Many of this variety of foods is available on the streets and restaurants. In rural parts of India variety of food items available on streets or restaurants is limited. E.g. in rural areas of Maharashtra one has to limit himself to the usual affair of Misal and Wada Pav and usual Thali meals at the lunch and supper times. The comparative cheapness of street food and almost no excessive use of spices and artificial colours in the street food makes any average person to engage in eating out very easily. An interesting fact which I found here was that the cost which I am incurring on preparing my own food is more than what I would have spent by depending on the local food available outside at the vendors. Of course there are various factors involved in it e.g. my cooking involves use of various exotic ingredients and relatively expensive vegetables like carrots and cabbage.
In this post I am including some more local food preparations I tasted between my last post on foods and drinks and this one.
Fried balls of Mashed Plantains with Ginger: This was once randomly on sale on the eatery opposite to my office. These were ripe plantains mashed with ginger and then fried. The taste was really good.
Rice Balls in Groundnut Soup: This is something very commonly available and suits to my Indian taste buds. They prepare very soft and sticky rice, which is then formed into big balls by pressing with hands. While serving, it is put in a big bowl of groundnut soup. This soup is made by using groundnut paste, meat stock and various spices.
Tubaani: These are steamed cakes made from of soy bean flour. While serving, it is dressed with Shea oil, red chilli powder and salt.
Flour Water: It is not available on streets but it is the regular diet of the poor people in the northern part of Ghana. It has similarity with Ambil (Ambalee in the southern parts of India). It is made by adding Shea butter, red chilli powder and salt to the millet flour. This mixture is kneaded well and then water is added to it. It is stirred thoroughly and the mixture is served in bowls made from Calabash fruit rinds.
Dog Meat: It is considered as a delicacy in the Northern part of Ghana. Certainly majority of Indians will frown upon the fact that dog is eaten here and a person like me who has been born in Brahmin caste has eaten it. The meat is generally served in the steamed form and it is eaten with red chili powder and salt mixture. It has less fat and the taste is bland. The people here keep two types of dogs, one is a pet dog which has less chances of getting chopped and the other is meat dog which has more chances of getting chopped. However both the types of dogs have some chances of getting chopped.
Ice creams: Fan Ice is a local brand of ice creams which is sold by vendors moving on cycles provided to them by the company. It comes in sachets and you can eat really when it has melted to some extent so that you can suck it out from them. There are a number of flavours including one with yogurt.
Now some information about the drinks available here,
Malt: It is a non alcoholic drink made from beer mash. It is slightly bitter in taste and smells of beer. Many people take it as a health drink since it contains malt extracts and also has some vitamins in it.
Alvaro: It is also a malt based drink but it is clear, carbonated, sweetened and flavoured. It does not smells of any fermentation.
Beer: I tasted it first time in my life after coming to Ghana. All my knowledge about beers comes from the two local brands of beer found here. Star brand of beer has 7% alcohol and has slightly bitter taste. The another brand of beer called Shandy has lesser alcohol content i.e. only 2% and it is mixed with lemonade and has slightly sweeter taste. Since I have taken it only a number of times, the only thing that I can tell about these alcoholic drinks is that they loosen you a bit and you can enjoy that looseness only if you drink slowly.
Quinine: It is local brand of soda mixed with a bitter substance called quinine and lemon flavor. Since quinine is a drug for curing malaria, people claim that drinking quinine can cure your malaria. The taste is bitter and not so great at all.
Fresh Taste: This is common name for frozen, flavoured, coloured and sweetened water that is sold in plastic sachets. It is similar to the so called Pepsi in India. The name Fresh Taste is derived from a brand so ordering a Fresh Taste can end you in getting a frozen liquid of any other brand or sometimes even without a brand. The taste is sometimes really bad if the chemicals added to the water are not in the right proportion.
Other Soft drinks: Numerous local brands of soft drinks,with a variety of flavours, are available in the market. Their presence in the market and the fact that people are buying them means that they are popular. Many of them do not taste good to me. Coca Cola has dominant presence here over Pepsi. Their soft drinks like Coke, Fanta, and Sprite are commonly available in glass as well as plastic bottles.
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