Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What yo' Mamma never told you about ketchup in Ghana

True story.

I was craving some kenkey with all the "associated condiments": home ground pepper, ground pepper from the streets, fried fish, corned beef, shito, and ketchup. All these I already had at home or could get from the kenkey seller...except for the ketchup. So I walked around my neighborhood looking for ketchup to buy. The first three kiosks did not have ketchup. But I'm glad I did not relent because my persistence was rewarded ten-fold at the forth kiosk.

The shopkeeper was bossing (chatting) with 2 other women at the front of her kiosk when I asked.
Me pa wo kyɛw, wo wɔ ketchup? (do you have ketchup, please?)
Her response?
Hmmm...ketchup...ntos deɛ no nkoa na me wɔ (Hmmm, ketchup, i only have the tomato kind)
cracking a smile, I replied...
na ketchup yɛ wɔ mu bebree wehu? (Oh, so there are different kinds of ketchup, huh?)
Oh fitaa no. deɛ yɛ de gu salad so no (the creamy kind used for salads)
Of course, I thought. Silly me!
Got my tomato ketchup, and laughed all the way home.


  1. hahahaha...fitaa ne kokooo...na wo paa wo nnim se ketchup ye wo mu mienu? It very interesting.

  2. Great post Esi! I have never noticed that people call Salad Cream ketchup in Ghana!

    Also - isn't Maggi ketchup more popular here than Heinz??

    Love your posts! :)

  3. wo yare paa, how can u make me laugh like that? chale wetin dey go on? na so u dey? so so miss miss u like dat. show your face small p3.

  4. Hahahaha Esi. Nice little story

  5. How can you not love Ghana? Great story. Is there any difference between salad cream and mayonaise?

  6. I think anything in a ketchup-looking bottle can be termed as ketchup. Just like any tooth-paste is Pepsodent. And any newspaper is Graphic

  7. Now that's a funny short story lol.
    Bummer. Now I am craving Kenkey too :)

  8. @Nana F-Agyeman,na minnim o. adɛn na wo ankanyerɛ me?

    @The pale observer, did not know Maggi ketchup was more popular than Heinz. When i was growing up, Heinz was it and that's what the woman had yesterday. I'd never heard anyone call it ketchup either which is why it was surprising and funny.

    @Nii, it's not me o. You know how work gets. But i for do den come visit y'all soon.

    @Nana, i know, right? Gh. can be nice like that.if u appreciate the little things. I guess there's a way in which you could also be frustrated because the shopkeeper does not know frigging ketchup. it's a matter of attitude, i guess.

    @Edward. Sometin so. How've u been?

    @Maxine, neither did i. lol.

  9. very nice story,
    i like to read more please

    and thanks that I learn few twi words through your blog

    greetings from germany

  10. this is soo Ghana, i remember when people would go the grocery stores and tell the cashier 'Me pa wo kyɛw,me to coke. Mep3 fanta' lol. Any SUV is 'Pajaro' awww gotta love G.H.A.N.A. Now you got me homesick Miss Esi :)

  11. hahahaha...i have heard that one before. dats too funny.

  12. Ha! I just read this to a friend and she goes
    "Ah yea Ghana, that is where every hospital is Korle-Bu" LOL!

  13. HAHAHAHAHAHA..... the tomato kind... lol.. Esi, i have a mountain load of work to do before tomorrow and the stress meter was rather high. this has brought it down significantly! I LOVE being ghanaian!

  14. Thats a good one!
    Esi, do they sell laventa there too?

  15. Hahahahahaa. Thanks for the laugh!

  16. omg..this is too funny. but true

  17. this soo ghanaian. thanks for this. i had no idea