What does the typical Ghanaian dining experience look like? Basically, it looks like this:
Akwaaba (welcome) to the Palace Gate Restaurant, the illist Uptown spot reppin West Africa something propa…
First thing: unless Ghanaians know you or you speak the language, they will pay you little mind. During our first visit at the Palace, our table was ignored for 4-5 minutes while our waitress sat and talked to friends. Eventually the server came and told us that all the food “was finished.”
A foreign customer might wonder if these kats even WANT business. And it holds tru that a majority of patrons come to the Palace to watch various UEFA matches on the High Def flat screen. When there’s no food, at least there’s football.
To avert this situation happening to us again, we met at 11:30am to beat the famished Sunday church crowd.
Interior: Fake flowers lend ambiance and are set on tables covered in plastic dresses to downpress omnipresent soup spills. The walls of the restaurant are scant; displaying pix of baby and adult J.C. and Mama Ghana’s classic Adinkra Symbols. The silver fan in the corner blows like a Kansas City tornado straight outta Oz. Black Africans stare and giggle at “the obruni-squad” (a.k.a. foreigners) like they have three breasts.
Hungry yet? A bin wahaa (that means get some in Twi)….We get three dishes for three heads. First, the omo tuo (rice balls) come in a groundnut or peanut butter soup served with fresh red snapper and a bit of fresh pepper.
Yea, there’s some tripe in the soup, but its in all the dishes kid…eat the meat and just poke around the rest.
Next up, the fufu and light soup. A traditional staple for Ghanaians, the yellow “ball” is basically any kind of starch-potato, yam, or plantain-pounded until it gains the perfect elasticity. This is then served alongside a tomato soup and various proteins. Sound weird? Don’t think, don’t chew, just dunk and swallow it down.
Finally, jallof rice and kontumere stew. The rice starts off white, but is then marinated in tomatoes, onion and herbs. After some hours, it turns red. For the greens, think kale or collards. This vegetable is slow boiled and mixed with palm nut oil (red lard) for a matter of hours. The result is veggie heaven. Add some fried fish tale, and you’ll be throwing out Tiger Woods fist pumps.
The Palace is a ethnic restaurant that does not serve many foreigners. Don’t get your little feelings hurt when you walk in and are not pampered. Exercise patience and roll with it glutton.