Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Banku and Tilapia

It has been about 2 weekends since I have gone back to eat lunch with Madame Atta at the Ghanaian Restaurant here in Guangzhou. Since I found the place I went there practically every Saturday until my schedule went all haywire after the fair. As I have described in previous posts, my favorite Ghanaian food would have to be Fufu with Light soup. But having that every week got kind of monotonous so I had to throw something else into the mix. There is not that much to choose from on the menu so I ordered some Banku and Tilapia. Banku is another ball of starch, like fufu made of plantain I think with some corn. I am not really sure what it is made of too be honest but it is stickier and slightly more bitter than fufu. It is served in a bowl wrapped in a cellophane bag, or as some of us would call it, a ‘robba’. Come on KB, say it with me, ‘ROBBA’. Yests… Not to be confused with a ‘TEEF’. The banku is unbelievably hot and I have burned my fingers and the roof of my mouth numerous times because I was impatient. In fact it happened at this particular sitting too.

Banku is ideal with grilled tilapia fish although some people also eat it with stew or even beans. The cook at the Ghanaian Restaurant offered to fry me up some fresh tilapia but she warned me it would be a short wait. I did not mind at all because that would make it all the more fresh! I don’t know what a tilapia is called in English but it is a fantastic fish with bones, but not too many of the small irritating ones. When grilled or fried the flesh is always soft and fluffy and the skin is so thin, hard, and crispy.

So finally the Tilapia was served up with the fresh hot Banku after I had nursed down 2 cold beers and half a ball of fufu. Yes I had to eat some fufu too. The fried tilapia is presented on a plate garnished with fresh steamed onions, tomatoes, green bell peppers, and smothered in SHITTO and MOKO (an uncooked preparation of peppers and tomatoes with other stuff). Do you see the colors on this puppy? MY lord, my mouth is watering like the mighty river Nile as I write this. Each of those spices has their own very distinct and pungent tastes that compliment the fried tilapia in ways that defy explanation. Somehow they have captured the exact taste of Ghanaian PEPE! The Banku furthermore adds to the ensemble a flavor and texture that realizes a malevolent unity that could only have been forged in the depths of hell. I am telling you it is that fucking good! You will be sweating from the temperature of the chillis, every logical area of your brain begging you to stop, to put down the fire!!! But your instincts just keep driving you to eat and nourish that hunger, than desire that stems from deep in your soul to burn and be redeemed. BURN!!!

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