>> Kenkey Hut | Eat the World NYC

24 September 2018

Kenkey Hut


For the better part of the last decade, this small storefront in Fordham Heights has been dedicated to making the not so well known (in New York) West African staple kenkey. The owners here are from Ghana, where kenkey is most enjoyed, but you might also find it in its close neighbors Cote d'Ivoire, Togo, and Benin.

When talked about in English, kenkey often seems to be translated with the word "dumpling," but it is served as a thick mass just like other more familiar West African starches. The main ingredient is corn flour, which is allowed to ferment creating a pungent sour aroma and taste.

No matter what time of year, swinging open the screen door and stepping inside is greeted with a wall of amazingly hot air. This hut almost feels like a sauna and the proprietor usually has beads of sweat running down her forehead. If there are no customers, you will often find her talking on the phone outside the shop, as it is just too hot in their for anyone. It is for this reason that it having no seating is probably a good thing. If you are coming from afar, there is a convenient park across the street, but either be prepared to eat with your hands as they would in Ghana or bring your own utensils because a fork will not be provided. This is a simple takeout operation and presumably 99% of their customers are headed home.

Kenkey is typically served with fried fish, of which there are three different sizes ($6, $8, $10, above) to choose from that have all been previously cooked. One kenkey is enough for a meal and only costs $1.25. No Ghanaian would eat this without the spicy pepper sauce ($2), so add that to your order and figure out a place to eat.

The $8 fish, kenkey, and pepper sauce in the park.

The fermented mass of corn flour is wrapped tightly in corn husks, which require a bit of time and plenty of mess to get open. Tear off chunks of it and fish and enjoy with the sauce as desired. Once you have everything out, the meal is quite simple but very enjoyable.

Make sure to ask if she has kelewele around, which is sometimes available. These are like plantain chips, spiced up as Ghanaians prefer, and round out the meal well.

Kenkey Hut Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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