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General News of Thursday, 4 March 2021


Ghana Month: Find out how your favourite Waakye, Tuo-Zaafi and others got their unique names

Waakye is a delicacy in Ghana Waakye is a delicacy in Ghana

Food! Ghana is known for its delicious staples unique to various ethnic groups nationwide. We patronize our own and it is evident in many Ghanaian homes, the kind of dishes families prepare on a daily basis.

Every Ghanaian food has a name. While some names run through, others are named on a language basis.

Today, on our Ghana Month series, we look at how some of our Ghanaian staple dishes came to bear the names they have today:


Waakye is a favourite dish for most people in Ghana. It’s usually taken as breakfast or lunch considering the beans component of the food. The meal is made from the combination of beans and rice which is usually accompanied by hot pepper sauce (shito), stew, gari, spaghetti or salad/coleslaw.

WaaKye is actually the truncated version of the word ‘Chinkafa da wake’ which is the Hausa word for rice and beans. Over time though, it has been shortened and has now become known by the corrupted version of the ‘Wake’ which is beans.

Tuo Zaafi:

This is a Northern staple unique to the Ghanaians in the Northern part of Ghana but eaten very much by Ghanaians nationwide. It is made with maize or millet flour and water and usually eaten with ‘Ayoyo’ soup.

The name Tuo–Zaafi is a combination of two Hausa words. ‘Tuo’ meaning cooked flour and zaafi meaning ‘hot’.


This staple has a lot of names. G)b3, y) k3 Gari, borbor among others, but the most popular is red-red. It is simply beans or beans stew with palm oil, gari and fried plantain.

The red-red name is derived from the colour of the palm oil and sometimes red-pepper used to prepare the meal, as well as the fried plantain.

Depending on who is eating, sometimes, vegetable oil is used and some protein; fish, meat, or eggs added.

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