Trying Ethnic Food, African And Caribbean Cuisine

By West Africa Cooks, 2 May, 2014

Trying A New Cuisine

So you are an adventurous eater you have eaten Chinese, Indian and Thai before and you love the flavours of the east. Now you are wondering whether you will like African and Caribbean food during New York African Restaurant Week.

Will I Like It,What Are The Ingredients In These Dishes?

We know that you care about the quality of your food, the ingredients and how spicy hot it will be and so do we and we understand that you would like to find out more before you try a full meal.

The first thing to point out is these dishes are authentic to the type of cuisine type. In general they are hot. You may therefore have a concern over the spiciness. Your level may not be able to handle it. Speak to our chefs, for everyone to enjoy the occasion it is a good idea to express your level of comfort for hot pepper.

Your concerns about allergens, these maybe listed below and whether the dishes are suitable for vegetarians are reasonable in our era of modern cooking. Again find out more about our ingredients ask the chef directly for information on these foods. Note that some dishes may contain gluten, dairy, and nuts.


  • Wheatflour
  • Gluten
  • Milk
  • Soybeans
  • Barley
  • Egg
  • Fish

Read West African Dishes For Lunch Or Dinner

Mild, Medium, Hot

We have a wide range of delicious entry meals suitable for the first time. We're committed to helping you choose the best meal, so whether you’re looking to try other dishes as an experience or want to understand more about your food, we’re here and our chefs are willing to help. If you would like to try smaller dishes rather than one main meal ask the chef before hand if they are willing to accommodate a buffet served for a small party.

Here is a quick guide to African and Caribbean cuisine and the New York restaurants participating in New York African Restaurant Week #NYARW.

1. MOYI MOYI (Sierra Leone)

Sierra Leoneans make a savoury steamed bean pudding made from black-eyed peas, onions, chilli peppers and fish like in Nigeria. This is where the comparison ends with Nigeria's Moyi Moyi. Sierra Leoneans do not add egg and/or corned beef to their dish. The Sierra Leone Moyi Moyi is an uncomplicated dish.

Read Sierra Leone Diet: Local Names

2. RICE AKARA (Sierra Leone)

Rice Akara is a sweet and savoury deep-fried fritter made of ripe bananas and rice flour. `Akara' means in Sierra Leone: from earth to table. (Isn't that beautiful) Bean (Binch) Akara is like Rice Akara but made with black-eyed peas instead of bananas. Both are served with spicy sauce (meat or fish).

Read Favourite Sierra Leone Recipes


Matoke is a popular Ugandan dish. Matoke is a very soft green banana dish steamed in green banana leaves which helps to bring out its flavour. The vegetables stew is a mixture of greens, eggs, carrots, aubergines, peppers, onions and tomatoes.

4. RED RED (Ghana)

Red Red is a traditional black eyed bean or red beans pea stew with plantains. The bean stew gets its name from the use of palm oil in its preparation not from the red bean. Red Red contains palm oil, onions, ginger, clove garlic, tomato puree, ripe tomatoes, chopped vegetable, fish or prawn, adzuki beans, black eye peas and scotch bonnet peppers.

5. CURRY GOAT & ROTI (Trinidad and Tobago)

Curry Goat and Roti is an example of the cultural diversity of Trinidad & Tobago. Over 80% of the former British Colony's population is made up of descendants of Indentured Indians (debt bondage) and enslaved Africans.
Curry Goat
Fresh goat meat, curry powder, seasonings (lemon, onions, thyme, garlic, ginger, black pepper, salt, scotch bonnet, cilantro) and water.
Flour, baking powder, salt, margarine or ghee, split peas, geera, garlic, vegetable or sunflower oil. The dish is served open or wrapped.

6. OIL DOWN (Grenada)

Oil Down is Grenada's national dish. Oil Down is a combined pot of meats, vegetables and Breadfruit. The traditional recipe includes smoked herring and salted Cod. Coconut milk is a key ingredient that binds this one-pot dish.

7. ZIGNI (Eritrea)

Zigni is a traditional Eritrean dish served with Injera (a type of pancake). Zigni is a spicy hot meat stew made from either beef or lamb.


Mackerel Rundown is a thick sauce made of coconut milk boiled down with seasoning. Mackerel Rundown contains salted mackerel, coconut milk, onions, tomatoes, and seasoning. You usually have boiled green bananas with it.

9. JOLLOF RICE (Nigeria)

Every state in West Africa claims that they invented Jollof Rice but more importantly every nation thinks that they make the best dish. Jollof Rice is an absolute must for any family or social occasion. Jollof Rice is made of long grain white rice, tomato stew, peppers, onions and seasoning.

Read West African Food: Meat, Fruit and Vegetables

10. CONKIES (Barbados)

Conkies are a cornmeal based Bajan delicacy which children love. They are usually made for special occasions like Barbados Independence Day (November 30). Conkies are made with corn flour, pumpkin, coconut, raisins and spices including nutmeg.

11. HALWA (Somali)

Halwa is served on special occasions like weddings or religious festivals. Halwa is often served with strong black coffee called qahwa. The bitterness of the coffee cuts the sweetness of the haiwa. Various forms of halwa exist in the Arab world and India. Making halwa is a laborious process. It is made with sugar, cornflour, ghee, water, spices including nutmeg with a pinch of saffon. Halwa can be preserved for several months and does not need to be refrigerated.

Read Trying Ethnic Food, African And Caribbean Part 2

Dishes For Every Celebration

New York African Restaurant Week runs from Sunday April 27th until Sunday May 4th. Share the experience. If you had a good meal and you enjoyed the service loved the venue please upload your photo #NYARW. Let all know, if the menu format was clear (level of spiciness indicated), what you ate and if the taste was to your liking?

Fried Plantain Above image from Maima’s the only Liberian restaurant in New York City 106-47 Guy R Brewer Blvd, Jamaica, NY 11433, United States


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