The Country Food Similarity Index is a statistically-based attempt to quantify how similar the food in one country is relative to another. By comparing the weight of raw food ingredients used in each country, a score is assigned that reflects the degree of similarity between the respective countries. The methodology is exactly the same for each country studied.
The Most Similar Cuisines to Ghanaian Food
Ghana’s cuisine reflects its rich history and culture. The five nations with the most similar food all border the Atlantic Coast. These West African countries all have a tropical climate. Their cuisines rely on a variety of starchy staples such as such as rice, yams, cassava, and plantains.
- Ivory Coast is on Ghana’s western border. The Ghanaian dish “Waakye,” is made with rice and beans. It is similar to Ivory Coast’s “Riz Gras,” which combines rice and meat in a flavorful stew. Both nations also celebrate the use of plantains, evident in Ghana’s “Kelewele” (spicy fried plantains) and Ivory Coast’s “Alloco.” The abundance of seafood and bold spices further highlights the parallels between their cuisines.
- Nigeria and Ghana are two nations in West Africa that were once colonized by Great Britain. Both countries boast a fondness for spicy, flavorful dishes, and staples like jollof rice, which is a beloved dish in both regions. Nigerian cuisine, like Ghana’s, features a variety of soups and stews served with fufu or pounded yam. The prevalence of cassava and plantains in both countries contributes to the striking food similarities.
- Benin is another nation that shares some culinary similarities with Ghana. Both nations consume many yams, cassava, and corn. Dishes like amassa (corn and black-eyed pea pancakes) and kedjenou (a spicy chicken stew) mirror cuisine in Ghana. Furthermore, fish is the most commonly eaten meat in these countries. However, pineapples are more widely consumed in Benin.
- Togo is located in between Ghana and Benin. Cassava, corn, and yams are three of these nations favorite staples. Both countries enjoy grilled and spiced meats, often served with piquant sauces and garnishes. Tilapia, Mackerel, Catfish, and Sardines are popular in both countries. Like many West African countries, fufu is often served with a variety of flavorful soups and sauces.
- Guinea‘s people tend to consume more rice than people in Ghana. Still, their cuisines have many similarities. Groundnut sauce or soup is a common feature in both Ghanaian and Guinean cuisines. Attieke, the fermented cassava dish in Guinea, is similar to Ghana’s kenkey or banku. They also use ginger, garlic, hot peppers, and local herbs to create aromatic and spicy flavor profiles.
The Least Similar Cuisines to Ghanaian Food
The four of the five countries with the least similar food to Ghana are landlocked countries in Asia. As a result, seafood is a significantly smaller portion of their diets. Furthermore, their climates are much cooler and drier than Ghana’s. Their people tend to consume a greater amount of wheat and potatoes than Ghanaians
- Mongolia is a sparsely populated country between Russia and China. Its cold, dry climate makes it difficult to grow crops. As a result, the country relies on animal husbandry for a large portion of its food. Mongolians tend to eat much more meat from cattle, sheep, and goats than Ghanaians. They also eat more dairy products, especially yogurt.
- Turkmenistan is a Central Asian country that was once part of the Soviet Union. Wheat, potatoes, and lamb are key ingredients in Turkmen cuisine. The country’s culinary traditions reflect the rich nomadic heritage of the Turkmen people, with an emphasis on hearty and filling meals.
- Uzbekistan‘s cuisine is quite similar to Turkmenistan’s. Grapes and apples are two of the most popular commonly consumed fruits in Uzbekistan, unlike in Ghana where bananas and oranges are more prevalent.
- Poland‘s diet is heavy in pork products. In contrast, pork is not as commonly eaten in Ghana. Polish cuisine uses a range of condiments like sour cream, mustard, and horseradish to enhance the flavors of dishes. Ghanaian cuisine uses more peanut-based sauces, palm nut sauces, and tomato-based sauces.
- Tajikistan is a mountainous country in Central Asia. Tajik cuisine features stews, dumplings, and bread, and the extensive use of lamb and beef, in stark contrast to Ghana. The Tajik people incorporate spices such as cumin, coriander, dill, and parsley, which are not as commonly eaten in Ghana.
Ghana’s Most Common Food Ingredients
Protein: Saltwater Fish, Chicken
Fruit: Banana, Orange
Vegetable: Tomato, Onion
Starch: Cassava, Yam
Primarily based on 2020 data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N.