Nicotine is one of the most heavily used addictive drugs in the world and the leading preventable cause of diseases. As any smoker would admit, nicotine is remarkably addictive and only about 7% of people who try to quit smoking their own last a year. Once one starts to smoke it’s difficult to break the habit. I have observed over a considerable length of time and come to the conclusion that there is a high dosage of nicotine in Ghanaian dishes. Let me explain.
It was the first time I joined a group tour and another first to Dubai for that matter. I did a lot of reading about the destination and knew my way around before I even got there. It was refreshing to know that several international food brands have a massive presence in Dubai so food was never going to be an issue. The first leg of the trip took us to Nairobi and we enjoyed the trip very much. I didn’t expect Nairobi to be that cold but at least it was manageable at 13 degrees Celsius. We checked out of the airport into Best Weston Hotel to freshen up and have breakfast. It was a buffet and we did treat ourselves well. We then headed out for a tour of selected attractions in Nairobi. After seeing much of Nairobi, we went to Carnivore Restaurant for lunch. What made the carnivore restaurant interesting was the variety of meat they served.
We were served lamb, beef, chicken, mutton, pork, ostrich and my very favourite crocodile alongside many
others I can’t recall. You need to taste crocodile meat to believe that it’s such a delicacy. My group did enjoy their food very much. We left for Dubai in the evening and arrived the next morning and we were taken to our hotel, the Millennium Airport Hotel (a four-star hotel). After checking into our rooms, we came down for breakfast and it was big. The variety was more than what a normal 4-star hotel offered. The shine and smiles on faces made me know that the group was more than satisfied with the buffet breakfast.
Not that our clients can’t afford such food back home in Ghana, but who would have all the time to prepare such variety so we made hay whilst sun shined and enjoyed to our full. Breakfast will normally begin by 6:30 am to 10 am so we would have enough time to sample more of what was available.
Our clients were very happy with the hotel choice and food so far and nothing could convince me that they lacked anything until one question challenged my opinion. After breakfast on the second day, one client approached and enquired ‘‘so where can I get to buy some Ghanaian dish?’’. He specifically requested for fufu and light soup with koobi in no other place than Dubai. In the abundance of all the delicacies of continental meals, I never imagined my group will miss the Ghanaian food. If it wasn’t for nicotine our mothers put in our food then it’s hard to understand. After that episode, I have led many groups across the world and the reaction is the same.
That reminded me back then and I’m sure we can all relate to it when that uncle or auntie of ours visited from abroad loaded with all the goodies and upon their return would want to carry along every ingredient to prepare their favourite local recipe. From dry fish and meat to tubers yam and plantain, even local spices were not left out. They would wrap it carefully so they won’t be spotted and their goodies confiscated at the airport. The fortunate ones who were able to carry their foods through were hailed and their Ghanaian friends would often pass by for a taste from home. Such is the Ghanaians devotion to his local meal that he will do anything to have it. I hope you will now understand why kenkey and kontomire flew all the way to Brazil for the world cup in 2014.
I managed to locate some African restaurants and although the taste was close to what we are used to, it could never compare in terms of authenticity. Should this have happened just once, I would have considered it as a mere wish to connect to home, however, I have handled several tours thereafter and the devotion to local cuisine hasn’t changed and it cuts across all age groups. Whenever clients arrive in Ghana from tours, the first pictures they celebrate is that of their favourite Ghanaian dish.
Yes, we miss nothing so much more than our food. Anytime you’re thinking of going on a vacation abroad and you begin to list the things you can’t do without, never forget the nicotine effect of the Ghanaian cuisine. You will yearn and cleave for it. I have seen some even cry for it. Ofie ne fie!!!. We will keep on discovering the world but at the end of the day we are Ghanaians and we will always be back to our food. If you doubt my assertion, kindly book yourself a holiday with Adansi Travels and give me feedback when you return.
By: Michael B. Dwomoh