Celebrating Oguaa Fetu Afahye with sumptuous Fanti delicacies

Eating traditional foods, most often rare, from the good old city of Cape Coast is one of the most exciting ways to experience the rich culture associated with the celebration of Oguaa Fetu Afahye (festival).

The beautiful fishing port epitomises a crystal clear definition of sumptuous delicacies from exemplary ancient culinary.

This year’s festival is themed: ‘Making Cape Coast Great Again through Tourism, Education, and Development’.

Ahead of the festival, Cape Coast is fizzy with excitement as the chiefs and the people get ready to celebrate in grand style.

Rush-hour traffic in the usually quiet city is peaking as visitors have begun arriving, with patrons anticipating great excitement.

Nearly all the hotels have been fully reserved ahead of the culture-filled fiesta, celebrated yearly on the first Saturday of September.

The festival is named after the 17th Century Fetu or Effutu Kingdom located some 19 kilometers inland.

It is observed in the form of offering mashed yams to the gods, slaughtering of cow to pacify them, display of traditional priests, a procession by the Asafo companies and chiefs, and a grand durbar.

The delicious ‘Mpatoa ntsistee’

The privilege is mine to walk your eminence through the elaborate dishes in the historic city of crabs. Undoubtedly, Cape Coast is the only city in Ghana with elaborate tasty dishes.

The delicious ‘ampatoa’ (small tilapia) caught from the Fosu Lagoon and processed is so savoury. It is great for special treats for guests, and parties alike.

They are tender and the stew goes so well with Fante-kenkey. It may be eaten as small chops or as an aside to any main dish. For partying folks, it’s typically paired with alcoholic drinks to serve, an occasion always yearned for.

During festivals, the ‘boyz boyz’, and visitors alike take it to the next level with gari to simply enjoy its deliciousness.

Spicy dishes

The craving for spicy dishes is apparent in the town of beauty. There is also ‘apregyae’, a cuisine prepared with palmnut soup and powdered roasted corn (tom brown), well spiced with salted fish and garnished with crabs and tomato stew.

It’s an ancient delicacy found during occasions and eaten with other main dishes like plain rice and stew, jollof or waakye.

A ride from the Bakaano Police station through the Bakaano roundabout, the Friends Garden to the forecourt of the Adisadel School Park, the famous shrimp sauces on display reflect the distinct kinds of sauces. Trust me, they are just irresistible.

They are simply hot, colourful, and well-garnished, particularly on the Kings way and Castle drive. The delicacies are typical features of dishes cooked with the culinary style of the royal cuisine in Cape Coast.

The Fante kenkey is the main meal of the Fantes. It can be eaten with fried fish or octopus/squid, and hot pepper sauce or gravy, fresh fish stew (fante fante) or soup.

That is symbolic of the academic city largely endeared for its greenery, peaceful co-existence, and calmness. The people do not rush, they do their things at their own pace.

Crab City

From its older traditional names of Oguaa and Kotokuraba, meaning ‘River of Crabs’ or ‘Village of Crabs’, being a good cook in the city is one of the least achievements.

Mr Jeffry Baidoo, Manager of Crab City Pub near the Cape Coast Castle, told the Ghana News Agency that the crustacean was a toast of many during festivities.

It’s a succulent and versatile seafood delicacy cherished for its unique flavour, tender texture, and versatility in various culinary applications.

‘With their sweet and delicate taste, edible crabs are a beloved ingredient in many cuisines, from classic seafood dishes to innovative pleasure-loving creations.

Edible crabs, he said, were priced from five to 15 cedis, as they can be used in various culinary preparations, such as soups, salads, sandwiches, and pasta dishes.

Enjoying a crab pepper soup with a bottle of beer, Mr Darlington Amoah, an educationist, said. Their tender and flaky texture lends itself well to simple and complex recipes, and their distinct flavour adds a taste to any dish.

‘I love crabs for their highly valued unique taste and luxurious appeal.

‘Whether enjoyed on its own or combined with other ingredients, crab meat/marrow is a beloved ingredient that seafood lovers have savoured for generations.’

Red shrimps

For Mr Rudolf Dassler, a German businessman, visiting Cape Coast every two years for the festival was relieving as the people are happy and easy-going with their red shrimp making the rolls stand out.

He said the rolls could satisfy the pickiest diners, as the shallot leaves wrapped nicely to create a tempting look in various restaurants he visits.

A dish of hue-style rolls with shrimp together with a bowl of dipping sauce made carefully, he said, exhibited how subtle hue cuisine was at major restaurants such as Shipyard, Italian Pub and Countryside.

Makeshift structures

New eateries have sprung up in made-shift structures to serve various local and continental dishes.

Mr. Charles Tetteh Lamptey, Manager at WalkInn, one of the new food joints said major items on the menu include rice (plain, fried, jollof, waakye) with chicken or fish as well as fufu, banku, kenkey, red red, etc.

Other dishes include fante-dokon (Fante kenkey) with fish and gravy, fufu with different kinds of soup including palm nut, light, groundnut or green soup.

There is also Jollof rice, fried plantain (tatale), ampesi, and mashed yam (otor).

Prices range from 40 to 200 Ghana Cedis while cheaper options are available at the various campuses at the University of Cape Coast markets with a meal going for GHS15 to 45.

Welcome to Pork City

Mr Daniel Mensh, manager of PorkCity, said sales started peaking before Friday, August 25, and looking forward to leveraging the festival for good sales.

He was poised to serve tasty and crusty pork prepared under hygienic conditions to his patrons.

Cosmos Dadzie, Manager for Levels Bar and Restaurant, near Adisadel School Park, was optimistic about high sales before, during, and after the festivities.

He said one more familiar terrain, fried yam sticks, is the local equivalent of potato chips (also widely available), spicy beef kebabs, char-grilled chicken, guinea fowl, and tilapia are all popular bar staples.

Sunday Afternoon

Fried yam with turkey tail with hot spicy ground pepper, Khebabs are assured on Sunday afternoon. There is also succulent grilled meat or liver (kyinkyinga/kebab) dipped in spicy powdered groundnut mixed with pepper, served with drinks.

These are also served along the new resort that has sprung up along the coast, such as Hatchland, Touch of Africa Leisure Bar, Hayford Lounge and Bar, Summer yard Vegetarian Cafe, and Da Breeze.

Others include the Yellow Fin Restaurant, Castle Beach, He Hill Li, Darrons Grills and Bar, and Sankofa Square Jamaican and Restaurant.

With all these and more in the waiting, the people of Cape Coast are ready to welcome all guests and tourists to the Oguaa Fetu Afayhe, who are assured of the best treats they have ever experienced.

Source: Ghana News Agency