If you travel to Monrovia, food in Liberia makes up popular street foods that will test your healthy eating habits for adults. Liberia foods are delicious, but knowing which types to avoid is helpful. We all have different reasons for loving West African food recipes. This insight is not meant to take anything away from Liberian recipes’ popularity, food tourists generally appreciate types of street food to avoid. You may find these tips to be practical and useful even if you eat meat. And we do not share a bias or conversion agenda. Instead, we shall provide general awareness to meat eaters and plant-based people alike.
1-Roasted meat & sausage: popular street foods in Liberia
You might want to skip this popular street food during your tour of Monrovia. Liberia foods generally consist of meat. But we advise against this for these reasons: Do you know the type of animal meat the vendor is serving? Can you confidently identify and confirm if the meat is what they claim it to be? I don’t eat meat anymore, so I don’t have any steak to gain other than to warn you from emotional and stomach hurt.
West Africa food recipes list chicken ingredients and we all can identify the smell of chicken, which is a scarce food in Liberia. Did you know the average local cannot confidently identify beef, goat or lamb meat? To be fair, you will see the limbs of animal meat at the butcher shop but popular street foods vendors that sell roasted meat with pepper sauce do not buy their products directly from the butcher shop.
On my way home, riding in the backseat of a taxi and listening to the radio, the news reported a tragedy that happened in Nimba. The incident was about an unwell cook who did despicable things to people and served unmentionable items to patrons at their eatery in Nimba. I listened as others chimed in “Ah! Some human beings are bad, oh! Why will they do that?” After 20 mins of our journey, the cabman stopped at ELWA junction to pick up more passengers. As if three people in the back seat is not enough! During this break, people usually buy small-small things to rock their jaw. A beautiful slim ju (lady) and most of the cab patrons called to a patrolling meat seller! The only people that did not order meat were myself and another lady.
The slim ju offered me some meat which is typical as most Liberians like to share food. I didn’t tell her I’m plant-based. I was more interested, confused and perplexed by what was unfolding in front of me! We just listened to a disgusting TRUE STORY related to meat and now people are eating what looks like meat?! I calmly asked her, “Ma, how do you know dah meat you eating?” She said “Ma sister, dah only god ooo.” As I watched this scene, it occurred to me to practice emotional buoyancy. Still in shock.
2-Sour milk kool aid
This street food might be somewhat familiar to you if you’ve ever eaten a popsicle. It is kind of like that, except the ingredients are as the name states; it is made of sour milk, water and sugar then frozen. I do not think there are any other West African food recipes like this. This is one of our popular Liberia foods. Sure, it might test your healthy eating habits for adults so does most food in Liberia. We caution you to avoid these popular street foods because you don’t want your stomach to run from here to Vonjama.
Insights: No Meat Food-Why Africans Don’t Bother
For starters, you do not know the quality of the water it is made with. Also, you cannot guarantee that food in Liberia was made by a skilled tradesperson, which is the Fula/Fullah people. They know more about food fermentation. Third, can you confirm what type of milk it is? There are not that many cows in central Monrovia. Most people and I included, have experienced running stomachs (go catch it 🤣) when they eat sour milk. There are many foods in Liberia so we advise you to skip this one and practice healthy eating habits for adults.
Suggested: Easy One Pot Meal-Liberian Fry Rice
3-Patrolling “coal” bowl
Do you want your chanchulu? Fast food vendors are plentiful with regard to Liberia foods. Most people need fast fresh food so this option meets their needs. West African food recipes showcase fast affordable easy meals but nowhere do we suggest that your restaurant should be “patrolling.” You do not want to eat from popup shops, aka patrolling coal bowl vendors. You cannot hold the cook accountable if something happens to you after you eat.
Related: How to light your coal pot
Most locals will buy coal bowls from established eateries. That way, if someone becomes ill, the cook is held accountable. Do not buy from patrolling coal bowl vendors, instead seek static shops and ask the locals. They will tell you who has good food. Most locals will honestly tell you if you ask about the establishment’s cleanliness. They like fast, fresh, good food in a clean environment and they do not suggest places that don’t meet those standards. More so, patrolling vendors is not best especially if you want to adopt healthy eating habits for adults.
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We hope you enjoy your trip to Liberia, or better yet, pick from our list of West African food recipes to sample food in Liberia without going there. And when you do go, good popular street foods are plentiful, don’t worry.