“Where do you want to eat this weekend?”
“How about a Ghanaian restaurant?”
This is how conversations go in our household. So after a few clicks on where to find Ghanaian food in NYC, we hop on the subway and an hour later we’re in Little Ghana in the Bronx – the Empire State Building a tiny Monopoly piece on the horizon. We get in line* at Papaye, filled with families and friends enjoying Sunday lunch together, women in colorful wax cotton dresses and men watching soccer on the big screen.
There’s a helpful menu with photos on the wall behind the counter, and a New York Times review framed for reference. Everything smells fantastic, and we opt for the chicken soup with fufuo, and jollof rice with goat (or chicken or beef, if you prefer).
Fufuo is a thick, chewy paste made from plantain and cassava, shaped into a grapefruit-sized ball, and served with almost everything on the menu. If you like mochi, you’ll love fufuo. It has the same smooth, glutinous texture, and is used as a utensil to mop up the tender chicken and spicy, aromatic broth. But no one will look twice if you use cutlery, like we do.
Jollof, the much-prized West African rice, is basmati cooked with tomato paste until it’s crimson red, the perfect accompaniment to bone-in goat. The goat is pleasantly chewy, a deep red from being cooked long and slow with tomato and spices. It’s messy, delicious work.
With drinks, our meal comes to $25. For a day trip to Ghana, it’s a steal. My kind of NYC staycation.
Papaye, 2300 Grand Concourse, Bronx, corner East 183rd St.
* The frustrating in line versus on line conundrum.