Weighing In On The Jollof War

There seems to be an outstanding battle of the Jollof rice between Nigeria and Ghana. Jollof rice is rice that is cooked in tomato, tomato sauce, onion, pepper, and oil/broth. Each grandmother and mother I am sure has her own secret recipe. The dish originated from Senegal.

I had the privilege of visiting both countries this trip to West Africa and I had jollof rice in both countries. I had it in popular, highly rated restaurants in both countries: The Yellow Chilli Restaurant and Bar in Victoria Island, Lagos and Buka Restaurant in Osu, Accra.

I prefer the Ghanaian jollof rice. I find it tastier and has more depth in flavor, however, it could be that I had the jollof rice with a Ghanaian beef stew. It also came with stir fried cabbage and Ghanaian chilli called Shito (yummy!).

Jollof Rice with Beef Stew and Shito Chilli in Buka Restaurant, Accra

In Lagos, I ordered special jollof rice which has the meat cooked together with the rice. I find it a little bit dry and not flavorful enough (until we requested the homemade chilli which is similar to Indonesian sambal oelek – seasoned ground chilli).

Nigerian Jollof Rice (Left) at The Yellow Chilli in Lagos

I am a foreigner. It is my first time in West Africa. You may argue I do not know enough to pass judgement, but it also can be that I have less bias because it was my very first jollofs. Whichever school of thought you follow, I just want to say that it has been fun and I have eaten well on my trip. I cannot wait to come back and try more of West African cuisines.

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