Suya - A West African Street Food Delight
Suya is an irresistible spicy peanut meat kebab sold on the streets of western parts of Africa.
It is a popular street food traditionally prepared by Hausa people of northern Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Sudan. It originates from nomads or travelling cattlemen who sit around camp fires to dine on grilled meat using wooden skewers and their swords. In Hausa language Suya means grilling hot. A literal translation for spicy piping hot food.
In Ghana, Suya is affectionately called “Chinchinga” or Kebab. However, this savoury delight is generally known among Africans as Suya.
The word Kebab brings nostalgic memories of the sounds and bustling sights of night life along township roadsides in the cities of Ghana. Some kebab sellers open their stalls as early as mid-afternoon but the majority start from late afternoon to the early hours of the next day.
Kebab is normally prepared on sight and barbecued over hot open charcoal fire using rustic locally crafted barbecue stands. The open fire constantly creates a delightful smell of burning meat fat and swirly smoke which always have the tendency of drawing customers over. Locals are always good at knowing where the favourite Kebab spot can be found.
Kebab stalls are usually based next to local drink pubs or food and drink bars. That is because kebab is normally snacked on alongside with chilled drinks, or eaten as a starter or a side to a main meal.
In Ghana “Chinchinga” or kebabs are cut into cube shape sizes and alternatively threaded unto wooden skewers with onions and sometimes sweet peppers. Ghanaian kebab ranges from skewered meat i.e. beef, goat, pork, liver, sausages, or cut pieces of guinea fowl, or chicken covered in Suya spice mix.
Suya spice is almost never made in homes across Ghana and other African countries. It can be bought by placing orders from kebab sellers or by buying from the market.
KORKO, an African artisan food startup based in Kent, UK has come up with their very own three flavoured versions of Suya spice. The spice mixes contains no peanuts and are not chilli hot. They are;
Sweet and Smokey Chicken
Lemon and Herbs – (Can be used for Lemon Chicken or Fish)
The key ingredients for making KORKO's Suya seasonings are sourced from Africa, to ensure added authenticity. You can now from the comfort of your home try your hands at using Suya spice for;
Visit to find out interesting ways of making your very own Suya meal today.
Written by Hermina Lartey