Food & Daily life

Modern and old ways of life

During the last 30 years, Ghanaians have migrated in a steady stream from rural to urban areas; over half now live in towns and cities. 


Many cities – such as Accra and Sekondi-Takoradi along the coast – are modern and bustling places, with Ghanaians adopting Westernised dress and eating habits.

Tamale in the northern region has a more traditional and distinctive feel. It has a mainly Muslim population and is known for its Sahel-style architecture and streets filled with bicycles.

City dwellers will often keep ties with extended family in rural villages and return for special occasions such as marriages and funerals.

Traditional events

  • Drummers
  • Girl dancing
  • Children having fun

One of the most unusual aspects of Akan society is the tradition of holding colourful funerals many months or even years after someone has died. Unlike the burial, the funeral is a time for dancing, drumming and music to celebrate the life and afterlife of the individual.

Social events of this kind will often involve the local chief of the area. Chieftaincies still operate throughout Ghana, with chiefs responsible for leading important occasions, including local festivals.


CookingIn this video…one SOS Children’s mother prepares some Ghanaian food.

A spicy cuisine

Many of Ghana’s most popular foods are traditional dishes which reflect the country’s long history and agriculture.

Cassava, yams and plantains are boiled, pounded and rolled into balls known as fufu. These are often served in a soup or stew, or with palm oil/groundnut sauce. Another staple is kenkey, a fermented cornmeal dumpling which is boiled or steamed in plantain leaves and served with a sauce.

Despite the starchy staples, food is rarely bland in Ghana. Many dishes are spicy. Ghanaians love using spices such as cinnamon and hot red peppers. (Chillies and red peppers are the fifth most important agricultural product for Ghana’s farmers in terms of revenue.)

Visitors can try local foods in small eating places known as chop bars. Alternatively, most towns have an area where street vendors sell a range of dishes, such as grilled meat, kebabs, fish and deep-fried plantain.