Everywhere around the world, the Black Stars are known to be strong and skilful footballers from Ghana.

It is also an undeniable fact that Ghana is the second largest cocoa producer in the world.

Unfortunately, our motherland, Ghana can’t proudly boost any meal on the international frontier.

A national dish, as many have termed is simply the country's culinary, and to a large extent, cultural identity. Suddenly, Ghana finds itself among the few countries which do not have an official national dish.

The significance of a national dish

We can’t possibly talk about our culture without delving into our local dishes. Food is an important element in the sustainability and survival of every country. It perfectly sums up a nation's culture and its history, its passions and aspirations. Music, fashion, football are secondary elements.

You can tell so much about a country just by eating its national dish. To understand the way people eat is to understand the way they live, whether that's a plate of waakye, fried fish and hot sauce served early morning by an ‘Amelia’ or a late afternoon fufu.

Why Ghana doesn’t have a national dish

You don’t have to be a food lover and food blogger to know that the best pizzas are made in Italy or for a mouthwatering hamburger, one has to fly to the United States.

Presumably, it has become impossible for Ghana to choose a single dish because of its diverse ethnic groups and cultures. Due to the reverence is given to each ethnic group, their festivals, traditions, chieftaincy amongst other things, conflict may arise when people in command tries to choose one dish over the others.

National dish serves as a form of identity for any country but Ghana's diversity in groups makes it difficult to choose a type of food as a national symbol.

Expert opinion

Kinorah Awini, a Ghanaian-based African food connoisseur and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of a culinary company called Telande Limited sums up Ghana’s lack of a world acclaimed dish.

For Awini, there's no specific food Ghana can claim for its identity.

“Ghana doesn’t have a food identity as a country. This is because most of the ingredients and meals are common in other West African countries," the CEO of Telande Limited said.

"When you mention pasta, you know it’s from Italy or sushi and you know it’s Japanese," she added.

On what makes Ghanaian meals distinct from other meals around the world, Kinorah Awini states the cooking process, the taste of food and ingredients as key factors.

“I think what makes our meals distinct from foreign meals will be the process of cooking eg. how we grind our pepper, pound our fufu, stir our banku etc.

"The taste and ingredients we use in cooking like momone (partially rotten and stinking fish popularly known in Ghana) makes us distinct.”

As part of improving food tourism in Ghana, people in the country need to send a message to the outside world which Awini thinks is an important part of food appreciation.

“I think food presentation is very important when it comes to the appreciation of food, not necessarily fine dining plating but it should be appealing," the food connoisseur disclosed.

"Also, portion control is very important, whereas adding a few greens to the meals could go a long way too."

On the state of Ghana's agriculture and how it affects the food and preparation methods available in the West African country, Ms Awini said:

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“The country’s agricultural state is a reflection of the reception of our food in the sense that, if I want to grill tomatoes on a vine I won’t be able to do that because most tomatoes don’t come with the vine in our local markets.

"The system is such that farmers don’t know the relevance of the taste of having the vine on the tomato than the tomato without the vine.”

The average Ghanaian has a role to play when it comes to promoting the local food. It may involve tweaking recipes for new revelations with a type of food.

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“We can promote our local food by being adventurous with our cooking, adding a few twists to our local recipes will put us on the spot. For instance, substituting tomatoes with beetroot for our stews or Jollof is definitely something to talk about," according to Kinorah Awini

The argument will continue to linger on as to what dish will be appropriate to be internationally recognised as Ghanaian. Fufu? Waakye? Tuozaafi? Banku? And to an extent Jollof?

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