Tag Archives: Africa

Whole Fish and Banku, Ghanaian Style

They say it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. As I dug into the whole tilapia’s succulent flesh, I couldn’t have agreed more.


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Delicious as it is, Ghanaian food is little known in the United States. Even in the New York City area, a Google search reveals just a couple of options.

“Ghanaian food is a whole process.”

Anonymous pal

Fortunately, I had a connection. A Ghanaian friend of mine buys homecooked meals from a woman who runs a restaurant out of her house.

Turns out Travis Kalanick didn’t invent ghost kitchens!

We popped open the warm clamshell containers to reveal a massive, whole fish. The tilapia was marinated and served with two spicy sauces.

The flesh was moist and succulent. I always thought I hated tilapia, but cooked whole like this, it’s wonderful!

Alongside our plates: a massive and scrumptious-looking dumpling. These are called banku.

Banku are a staple of Ghanaian food. They’re made of fermented corn.

Banku’s mild flavor is a perfect match for spicy sauces. It’s kind of like chips and salsa.

The only downside: they’re sticky! My friend dug in with her hand, but I soon switched to a fork.

I guess I can only become so Ghanaian in one day. 🙂

Cooking fish whole as they do in Ghana yields a more tender and flavorful flesh. And never forget to eat the meat from the head — it’s the best part!

I saved the fish bones for a stock I’ll be making soon. Never let anything go to waste!

If you haven’t tried Ghanaian food, I strongly recommend it! It’s flavorful and relatively healthy — mostly protein and vegetables with a modest amount of starch.

What were your most interesting meals this year? Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know!

More on food:

Korean Noodle Heaven at Food Gallery 32

The Best Mexican Food Is In…New Jersey?

NYC’s King of Sugar: Posh Pop Bakeshop

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When the Suez Canal Was Blocked for Eight Years

As the Suez Canal, chokepoint for 15% of world shipping, was cleared today, I thought of another time it was blocked. Not for a week, but for 8 years.

Following the Six Day War in 1967 between Egypt and Israel, Egypt blocked the canal to prevent Israel from using it. They placed old ships, debris, and even explosives in the canal. And it stayed that way, for eight years.

Thousands of workers rotated on and off the ships over the years to protect these valuable pieces of equipment. They organized joint social events and even created their own postage stamps, which have since become hot items for collectors.

The closure also had a serious effect on world trade, especially for countries that relied heavily on the canal. Seventy-nine country pairs saw the effective distance between them increase by 50% or more:

For these pairs, the closure caused an average fall in trade of over 20% with a three to four year adjustment period. Trade between these pairs recovered completely after the canal reopened eight years later with a similar adjustment period.

By the time the canal reopened, most of the ships in the Yellow Fleet could no longer make the trip:

The canal had remained closed so long that most of the Yellow Fleet ships had decayed and needed to be towed. But two of them—the German ships Münsterland and Nordwind—made it out on their own steam.

We had the benefit of peace this time, so the canal could be unblocked quickly. These episodes really emphasized to me the importance of peace and the free flow of goods to our prosperity.

For more on current events and the world economy, check out these posts:

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Photo: “File:Israeli Tanks Cross the Suez Canal – Flickr – Israel Defense Forces.jpg” by Israel Defense Forces is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0