>> Ebe Ye Yie | Eat the World NYC

04 March 2017

Ebe Ye Yie


During the African Cup of Nations in January I made the trip here to check it off my list and hopefully catch a Ghana football game. After opening up the screen door, then the real door, it was immediately obvious this was not going to happen. CNN was on the television and the one man eating seemed to be surprised, and then pissed off, that Ghana was currently playing. No one told him! I retreated to Grand Concourse and more popular Papaye and enjoyed another meal and the game.

A few weeks later, a meal was on offer. At first the TV was on a soap opera in asante twi, the most used language in Ghana, but eventually it got back to CNN. The curtains are drawn and a lot of the light is provided by neon, keeping the small room dark even on bright sunny days.

Through bulletproof glass that may have been a remnant from a long ago Chinese takeout, take a look at the few options on the steam table and speak with the very friendly ladies. The daughter (or younger woman) has a better command of English if you really want to start asking questions, a good idea since many options might not be immediately apparent.

I asked about a couple and pointed to the egusi soup (below) to be combined with goat. She said she only had fried goat, then asked if I wanted fufu, to which there is no answer other than yes. The fried goat turns out to be only chunks of meat rather than the usual bits of offal that make up a big portion of the West African diet. This selection might be the way to go for the less adventurous.

Egusi soup is made from the seeds of gourds, melons, and squash, available in abundance in the West African region between Ghana and Cameroon. The soup here was thickened by some kind of bitter leaves or spinach and spiced with onions and mild chili peppers.

Eating soup with your hands can be a challenge for the uninitiated, but it is possible and worthy of the challenge. If you use the plastic utensils they automatically deliver to you, you will be the only one in the restaurant doing so. For the best step-by-step guide I have written, see this Nigerian restaurant post. The TLDR version is: 1) Take a bite-sized piece of fufu 2) Make an indention in the fufu 3) Push the soup and meat into the indention with your thumb.

A bowl of water also arrives with your meal when eating with your hands. This water is NOT for washing, it is for getting your fingers wet before grabbing hunks of fufu so that the starch doesn't stick to you like concrete.

In Ghana, what Nigerians call "suya" they describe as "kebab." A sign in the window said suya here, but comes off skewers as the plate seen below. Thankfully it is just as delicious. Whether the cooking style was different or not, this street beef holds up all around this and other regions of Africa, despite its roots in Nigeria.

The egusi soup and suya came to $15 total, I did not ask about the breakdown of this figure. With the TV turned up so high, it was hard not to avoid the CNN headlines, a fellow diner from Ghana was not pleased with all of Jeff Sessions and Trump's ties with Russia! I just shook my head in embarrassment.

In better news, a fun music video showing off the rivalry of cuisines (specifically jollof, a region-wide obsession) between Ghana and Nigeria is a good way to forget about orange men for three minutes:

Ebe Ye Yie Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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