Images courtesy of Yendidi Restaurant
Coastal Virginia has become a melting pot for international fare. Adding some spice to our regional restaurant offerings is Yendidi Restaurant, serving flavorful, authentic Ghanaian and West African cuisine. Yendidi opened for takeout back in June but is now seating diners inside the restaurant.
Chef, owner and Ghana-native Josephine Oteng-Appiah, also known as “Abena,” describes Ghanaian food as “rich, organic, tasty flavors.”
“Yendidi” translates to “let’s eat” from Ghana’s Akan language. When you visit the Norfolk restaurant, experience both traditional and West African fusion eats with these five dishes recommended by Abena Oteng-Appiah. Yendidi!
Jollof rice is made with rich jasmine rice infused in a rosemary and herb sauce with tomatoes, spring onions and carrots. This rice can be served with grilled goat meat, grilled chicken or shrimp, or inside Yendidi’s black bean and veggie burrito.
“It’s a festive, celebratory dish,” says Oteng-Appiah. “No one celebrates a birthday or has an event without jollof rice.”
“The fried rice is not the typical fried rice that lots of people know in America,” Oteng-Appiah explains. “It’s a fusion of spices and coconut milk.”
This Ghana-style fried rice is cooked with vegetables, including bell pepper, spring onions and carrots, and eggs.
According to Oteng-Appiah, coconut rice is actually not a common dish in Ghana. “It’s something I kind of created myself, but I added a few spices that are common in Ghana to make it authentic to our culture.”
This aromatic coconut rice can be served at the base of any of Yendidi’s stews.
“Waakye is Ghana’s number one street food,” Oteng-Appiah noted. Waakye is Ghanaian rice and beans with sorghum leaves that give the dish its garnet color. Yendidi pairs its Waakye with tomato basil stew, a side of meat, fish or an egg, and a hot, black chili sauce.
Fufu, a cornerstone food in West Africa, is a stretchy dough served in soups and stews that you eat with your fingers—similar to an American dumpling. Oteng-Appiah prepares the traditional fufu by using cassava (the starchy root of a tropical tree) and plantains. Try fufu served in Yendidi’s peanut butter soup or a mildly spicy soup with chicken or goat.
Be sure to pair your meal with one of Yendidi’s juices. Sobolo is a hibiscus tea with many medicinal purposes. The pineapple and ginger juice is similar to a pineapple and ginger shot that Oteng-Appiah’s mother used to give her as a child. Both juices are made fresh daily at the restaurant.
Yendidi Restaurant is located at 5800 Chesapeake Blvd., Norfolk. YendidiRestaurant.com