The Ghana versus Nigeria Jollof Wars have been described as the most heated food debate amongst any Diaspora
The protracted ‘feud’ between Nigeria and Ghana over Jollof Rice should be settled once and for all at a West African Jollof Rice Shutdown that is slated for 28 August in Tlokweng where foodies will be treated to Ghanaian and Nigerian Jollof delicacies alongside alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
“A little brotherhood rivalry that is rooted in culture inspired this event that is also meant to share the culture of West Africa,” event organiser, Kwasi Darkwa, a Ghanaian, told Time Out.
“This is a hybrid event, which means while people will taste the food and experience the culture in person, voting for the better dish and experiential games on the day will be done online.”
How it started
It all started with Darkwa donning a T-shirt that read “Ghana Jollof is Better than Naija Jollof.” Before then, Malik Shehu, a Nigerian, had always insisted that Ghanaian Jollof was equivalent to food poisoning, prompting Darkwa to return the snide in equal force, all in good humour, of course.
When Darkwa donned the T-shirt with the provocative statement again, Nigerians came out in their numbers and called him out. Eventually Linford Seleke, a professional chef, suggested that a competition be held to settle the dispute.
Excite your taste buds
Said Darkwa: “There are so many other West African dishes with unique names and tastes. We selected Jollof because it is perhaps the most common dish between both countries but prepared differently in each. It is this difference that we want to showcase to people. At the end of the day, one country may win the competition but African cuisine will be the overall winner.”
The event is targeting young adults who have always been intrigued by the Jollof ‘feud’ between the two countries. It is also aimed at those who may have tasted a dish of the rice from one side of the Great Jollof Divide and not the other to put their taste buds on alert for a final settlement of the argument for themselves.
Neither Nigerian nor Ghanaian
Jollof rice is one of the strongest threads that runs through countries and regions in West Africa. Interestingly, Jollof rice is neither Nigerian nor Ghanaian in origin but is of Sene-Gambian provenance. However, according to Darkwa, most Nigerians and Ghanaians have adopted the dish as their own, giving rise to the monumental rice controversy that has reached far beyond West Africa.
“From Nigeria to Senegal, our shared fondness for this popular meal remains one of the forces that binds us,” he said. “But it is a source of a longstanding ‘discord’ among us. The Ghana versus Nigeria Jollof Wars have been described as the most heated food debates amongst any Diaspora.”
Due to different orientations and palates, Jollof rice is prepared differently in the two countries. The difference is mainly in the ingredients used, especially the vegetables and the spices, but sometimes also the meats and the strain of the rice itself. The meat used is beef, chicken or fish.
Darkwa: “For the competition, we have settled on beef. This cook-off is in acknowledgment of the power of Jollof rice and a celebration of the diversity of tastes. But above all else, we just want people to have fun while they enjoy different mouth-watering variations of this delicacy that we all love.”
Tlokweng near Senn Foods
Price tag: P120 for Standard Ticket.