If it felt like every and their momma has been doing it up in Ghana this year, it’s because they have. When the country declared 2019 the “Year of the Return” for Black people around the diaspora, the call was heard loud and clear. All year people from across the globe have been flocking to the Gold Coast excited to experience their “home” away from home and all the exciting happenings around Ghana.
In a little more than a month, travelers will continue their journey to Ghana for the holidays and close out the momentous year living their best lives at vibrant festivals like Afrochella and the Full Circle Festival. While these events are great, if you’re anything like us, the thing you’re most looking forward to as soon as you touch down in Accra is the food! The culinary scene in Accra goes well beyond their famous Jollof rice battle with nearby Nigeria. Dishes like Banku and Ampesi will literally leave your mouth watering, and those are just two of the tantalizing eats the country has to offer.
But if this is your first time to Ghana, where do you even begin your search for all this delicious food? We knew just the person to help us with this mission. Cherae Robinson is literally changing people’s view of travel to the continent one epic experience at a time with her company Tastemakers Africa. From taking you through fishing villages in Senegal to clubs in Lagos, Nigeria where you can learn the newest dance craze, Robinson knows how to show the world the real Africa. As a foodie, Robinson uses Tastemakers to curate delicious tours such as seafood and honey- wine tasting trips to Morocco and food crawls through South Africa.
ESSENCE caught up with this cool girl to get the deets on what travelers should expect when they land in Ghana, where they should go to soak up the country’s flavor and why she thinks Accra is the foodie destination of our dreams. Welcome home!
What makes Accra such an amazing foodie destination?
Cherae Robinson: Accra is an amazing foodie destination because of the diversity of flavors you can explore and the talent in the food industry itself. Street food and traditional dishes like Waakye, Groundnut Soup, Fufu, and yes Jollof Rice, are different yet familiar enough to the African-American palette that they are immediately relatable and delicious to dive into.
Chefs like Fatmata Binta are taking traditional dishes to the next level with innovative food experiences like Fulani Dine On A Mat. Beyond traditional foods, you’re beginning to see more contemporary concepts take root in the city, the best restaurants for these experiences are Urban Grill and Bistro 22.
What’s your favorite Ghanaian dish to eat again and again?
I could eat Red Red, a dish of black-eyed peas, palm oil, and sweet plantains, for the rest of my life and be ok with it.
Is there a food tour we should have our eye on in Accra?
Yes! Beyond Fulani Dine on A Mat you must do Mukasechic’s Street Food Crawl. It’s bomb not because Jae, the host, knows all the spots for red red, waakye, and other roadside eats, but because she’s built a relationship with each food vendor, often women small business owners, so you get to go behind the scenes to see how these dishes are created from start to finish. It is one of my favorite things to do over and over in Accra.
What can visitors to Ghana expect when they touch down in Accra in December?
Traffic! I have to keep it real there, don’t think you’ll be doing a bunch of places in one day, govern your mindset accordingly. Beyond that expect “enjoyment” a phrase I picked up in Lagos and Accra that literally means the state of having a good time. December in West Africa is a time where everyone comes home to celebrate the year (and sometimes floss a bit!), the Year of Return is going to bring an even bigger celebratory spirit with parties and gatherings that will definitely be a once in a lifetime moment.
For more tips on how to experience the food scene in Accra, check out Cherae’s guide, 72 Hours of Accra in My Belly.