A returning visitor to Liberia recently exclaimed “it’s amazing…no matter where I eat the food is great.” My response was, it’s in the spices and every restauranteur knows that he or she must meet the discriminating palette of the average Liberian. Why? Because almost every Liberian knows how to cook. So whether it’s that down home Liberian meal or choices from our gastronomical list of international cuisine…you just better do it right.
So to whet your palette with what you can expect in Liberia, here are a few of our top picks and some hot spots where you can find them.
It’s important we begin with Liberian cuisine. Though the choices are many, we’ll give you a sampling of a few of Liberia’s most popular dishes.
Palm Butter, they say, is a favorite of those from southeastern Liberia. Made from the palm fruit, palm butter is seasoned to taste using a variety of Liberian spices and stocked full with chicken, meat and/or seafood served on a bed of rice, fufu or dumboy.
Cassava Leaf, or Basajama, is a favorite of Cape Mountainians and is also served with rice or fufu. Cooked with the leaves of the cassava fruit and palm oil, and seasoned with a variety of spices; like most Liberian dishes, seafood, meat and/or chicken is added making for a hearty entree.
You cannot visit Grand Bassa County or Buchanan without being offered dumbboy, a favorite of the Bassa people found in almost any local dining spot. Made from breadfruit, cassava or plantain and pounded into a dough; dumboy is best served with hot pepper soup (similar to the Cajun gumbo) or palm soup, even though it can be eaten with other Liberian soups.
Dry rice and fried fish may sound like a simple enough dish, but when it comes to the Liberian styled dry rice and fried fish, it’s a whole other palette ‘changer.’ A Saturday pit stop at most local eateries will most likely include this delicious combo of spicy fish grilled to perfection, ripe fried plantain and seasoned rice with sides of tasty pepper sauce. To chase this mealy bowl down, order Liberian brewed Club Beer and some new Liberian friends for that down home feeling.
Acheke is really from Cote d’Ivoire, but has been adopted into the Liberian gastronomy by those living along the Maryland Coast. Achecke is made from Farina and served with plantains, sauces, and fabulously grilled fish.
All of these dishes can be found in most restaurants, whether local or international.
Let’s globetrot a bit to see what’s hot on the international food scene.
Sushi anyone? With 360 miles of Atlantic Ocean, plus rivers and lakes at every turn, you can imagine the sushi menu at Mamba Point and Royal Hotels. According to sushi connoisseurs, sushi in Liberia rivals those anywhere in the world. Bon appetite.
Lebanese cuisine is fast becoming a sub-culture in Liberia with many restaurants carrying a variety of Lebanese food on the menu. Enjoy a great variety of hummus and fresh baked Lebanese bread, kebbeh, and much more. Lebanese food is found in most restaurants in Monrovia.
Chinese with a twist of Liberia is found at various hotspots in Liberia.
For the best in Ethiopian food be sure to visit Bishopftu, owned and operated by Ethiopians. Sit out under their tropical deck or indoors. It’s the best of Ethiopia in Liberia from beyanetu to great coffee.
For those who love the taste of West Africa, there are some great Ghana spots where you can test out the Gold Coast in Liberia. Ghana dumboy or futu, made from a combination of cassava and green plantains is served with peanut sauce and found in Ghana dining spots throughout Liberia.
These are just a few of our palette teasers. Just like my friend said, every where you eat, you will surely appreciate flavors that will please your palette.