“Pull up a chair. Take a taste. Come join us. Life is so endlessly delicious.” – Ruth Reichl
Estimated time to read: 6 minutes
During my first conversation with the team at Calabash in Alexandria, Virginia, I thought it was a Nigerian-inspired restaurant. So much to my surprise, when I pulled up and saw the red, yellow, and green picture of Africa, I figured out it was a Ghanian restaurant. That was a great spin on things.
My [college] friend turned sister Nadia joined me for the day, over the amazing lunch we had at Calabash (I bet you can guess my rating will be good).
We were served:
- Suya: three mildly spiced skewers of beef kebab topped with peppers and onions
- Fish pepper soup: catfish in a moderately spiced stew
- Red red: black-eyed beans cooked in palm oil topped with fried plantain #beesesfavoritethings
- Jollof with fried fish: white rice cooked in a tomato based sauce served with a side of stew and fried fish
- Waakye: read the description below #beesesfavoritethings
- Gari: powdery mix made of maize flour
When I first had Waakye, I was just given the black-eyed beans and rice. I mean – it was good, but I was so duped. When our host, Kafui, came out with the rice with black eyed beans, stew, noodles, gari (yes, I wrote that correctly – G A R I), Nadia and I just looked at each other when he left and debated who should try it first (of course, guinea pig me – after all this is Beese Eats … aaand she told me to respect my elders). We both were extremely skeptical at how to eat it so we just stuck with eating each part separately. Kafui literally walked past us and asked what we were doing; simple answer: eating the Waakye. His instructions: mix it all together.
Yeeeah, we are Nigerian and Salone girls. We don’t mix rice, beans, noodles, and gari together in the parts of our countries where we are from. But now, we were in Ghanaland, sitting in Calabash with the Waakye staring back at us.
Nadia and I looked at each other again. I reminded her we were there for a reason and that was to find authentic African – and now more specifically Ghanian – food. And boooy did we get it there at Calabash with that Waakye! OHMYGOODNESS yall … it was so GOOD! When I tell you I was NOT expecting that, literally I was not expecting it.
I mean we are literally talking about adding gari to rice, beans, and noodles. To the average mind, that’s a total no no. But now that I’ve been introduced to proper Waakye, it will hands down be my go to Ghanian food … because that jollof still is not hittin (I am slightly kidding).
To be honest, the(ir) Ghana jollof was good (not Waakye good, but good in its own right). It was a little “dry” in texture for me, so when I added the stew that accompanied it, it was more my flavor.
Nadia liked the Suya; she said it was tender and juicy. I will say that caught me by surprise because I am used to Nigerian Suya which I would never categorize as tender lol. But again, when in Ghanaland, do as the Ghanians.
The fish in the pepper soup was rocking – very succulent. The soup that it was served in was more stewy (thick) than soupy (thin), in my opinion. With the texture of that soup, I believe you could add rice and it will be good.
The red red was gone gone by the time we had our first bit. I will leave you with the before and after so you can understand my sentiments of its yumminess.
To say, the food was good is an understatement. You just know when you have authentic, homecooked (style) food. That we definitely got at Calabash. I’m still so happy I was introduced to proper Waakye.
Would you eat rice, beans, noodles, stew and gari all in one dish? Let me know in the comments.
Here I am wearing this super dope jumpsuit Mrs. Kate brought to life for me. I didn’t even think I’d love it this much when I gave her the design, but this outfit is so fun.
Hey – have you entered my Beese’s Pieces Wakanda Month-long Birthday Giveaway yet? OK listen, the stuff you could win, trust me, you do not want to miss out on. November is literally around the corner. So simply click here to enter. You will not be disappointed.