The chop bar business has been with us for as long as I can remember. The name chop bar coined from the words chop and bar. Chop is a local slang for the words ‘to eat’ and bar meaning an area that is meant for gathering. It used to serve as a place where bachelors could go to and they will be assured of a good home cooked meal.
Most chop bars have a bar stocked with local alcoholic drinks and a few foreign ones for the well to do. Even though the place is usually patronized by men, some women also buy from these places and the stares they get from people is enough to make you not to buy again. An encounter my friend had in one of these places made her vow not to buy food from these places again.
With the inception of restaurants across the length and breadth of this country, it seems that the chop bar has been regulated to the background. With most Ghanaians copying blindly and eating burgers, pizzas and chips to the detriment of their health and our economy and our national identity—chop bars have become victims. Most chop bars folded up due to low patronage but others have stood the test of time and are enjoying tremendous patronage. There have been subsequent upgrade in these chop bars—their operations, mode of cooking, their interior decorations, etc.
One remarkable thing about these chop bars is their services: these people know about better human relation than the so called restaurants. The euphoria in these places is warm and inviting and there’s the feeling of home and a sense of belonging. Until my recent visit to the Western Region precisely Takoradi, I always thought chop bars were a little behind in terms of edifice but that perception changed after I saw the “God is Love” chop bar.
This chop bar occupied a three storey building with magnificent decorations with that usual warm ambience that is noticeable in all chop bars. I was so amazed that I kept asking myself why the place was not a restaurant but then again it’s all good.
I decided to step inside and the service I got was great. Most of the customers were whites and mostly foreigners with a few Ghanaians but then again Ghanaians are known for not supporting their own.
There is a chop bar to suit every pocket. “Bush canteen” in East Legon where you will have to spend from ghs30 to ghs100 if you want to enjoy some fufu with some bush meat. But considering the recent outbreak of Ebola I wouldn’t advice that. That notwithstanding you can still enjoy a bowl of fufu with some good soup for as little as ghs5 and it will sustain you for the whole day.
One thing that characterizes chop bars in Ghana is their names, some very funny and others too very thought provoking. Some of these names include “don’t mind your wife chop bar, bush canteen, beεbia ne ha (literally meaning here too is someplace) and there are those chop bars that bear the names of their owner like Aunty Akos chop bar.
These bars are the only places where indigenous rich Ghanaian food are showcased from fufu to aparansa to yεkε yεkε etc. It’s about time the Ministry of Culture and Tourism look at the concept of chop bars in Ghana or are we waiting for the Chinese to take over that one too? Until that happens I will still be enjoying my chop bar experience, my regular bowl of fufu and ebunu nkwan can’t be missed.