A Food Guide To Navigate Tubman Boulevard, Sinkor
When you get past the airline hassle to get into Liberia, the cultural food fare and the area’s vibe are so worth it. When I travelled to Liberia back in March, I was fortunate enough to lodge in a different part of Montserrado this time. This was Tubman boulevard, Sinkor Liberia. In this article, you will learn what vegetarian African food to expect when lodging at Corina Hotel, Monrovia, which brands itself as a true African hotel. You will also learn what to expect from the Liberia Farmington Hotel. Food in Liberia has expressive flavours and vibrant textures. However, if you are a vegetarian, you will want to apply certain strategies. These can include coal bowl food.
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Corina Hotel Monrovia – African Traveler Review
Firstly, Corina Hotel Monrovia is well staffed and runs professionally, similar to the ranks of Libassa Ecolodge, which I gave a review on, from my last visit. Here are the facts:
- The Front Desk is well-staffed Night & Day. This saved me when I needed lodging at 3 am.
- The Corina Hotel Monrovia has a daily cleaning crew to make sure your room and toiletries are fresh. They give bottled water and in-room breakfast items like a hot water kettle, coffee & tea packets. They also have a small fridge and a writing nook area.
- Their staff is professional all-round: From the cleaning crew to the servers and security guards.
- Breakfast is included, which is eaten in Sam’s Barbecue Cafe downstairs, a restaurant part of the hotel.
- Corina Hotel Monrovia offers Sunday brunch with meat-lovers fare. Sadly, not suitable for vegetarians.
- Corina Hotel Monrovia’s point of sale system accepts debit cards and Lonestar Mobile Money. You can also book online through third parties like Expedia or booking.com
- Corina Hotel Monrovia offers the best rate if you book on-site compared to if you book online.
How Corina Hotel Rank in Vegetarian African Food
I come bearing receipts in various forms after experiencing Vegetarian African food in Liberia, which is a narrow category of food in Monrovia. Firstly, it is refreshing to dine at a hotel that features native Liberian stews on its menu. These are popular options for food in Liberia. As you may know by now, I’m no stranger to navigating Food in Liberia to make it work nutritionally for my plant-based diet. Here is how Corina Hotel Monrovia performed in offering options that could work to provide nutrients that a vegetarian needs:
- They offer daily oatmeal as part of breakfast options. I was lucky enough to also get free slices of Liberian shortbread which is for sale in their Sam’s Barbecue Café restaurant. I don’t mind that the bread is made with real butter instead of plant butter.
- Included with the free breakfast was coffee with liquid milk (shocked), and it is served with orange juice.
- Sam’s Barbecue Café offers Liberian native stew daily. They have freshly made bread, pies, doughnuts, and cinnamon rolls.
NOTE: You must get food by 2-3 pm. Most cook shops and restaurants run out of food by this time. After 3 pm, Corina Hotel only serves fried or jollof rice, which has few vegetables. They will not charge you less if you remove the animal protein.
Elizabeth Sherman’s Cookshop- Coal Bowl
Yes, I’m team coal bowl all the way! Wondering why? Look at the price difference above! I’m also team coal bowl food because they give a wide variety of nutritious stews to choose from. Madam Sherman’s cookshop offers two types of soup daily, which most restaurants cannot or will not do! Again, look at the price difference! More so, Sherman’s cookshop is clean. It does however have child/teenage waiters so be sure to tip them big. In comparison to hotel restaurants, the food is delicious. I’d say more delicious actually because it is served in a homely atmosphere. And if you just buy a $500LD ($ 3 USD) coal bowl, they are happy.
Note, Madam Sherman is heavy-handed with her portions, unlike hotel restaurants. That means, if you are eating alone, best to order $300LD worth of food instead of $500LD. When you go, simply say, “I’m a vegetarian, please don’t include any meat, egg, or fish.” I ate there almost every day; they should remember vegetarian dietary preferences by now 😊. They will get to know vegetarian African food!
Did you know Madam Sherman offered to cook a separate stew for me? How sweet! She said I should tell her one day before and she would cook mine and put it aside before adding animal protein to the general soup. I ended up eating with the general soup though because I couldn’t guarantee I would go there to eat on time. I didn’t want her food or effort wasted.
How can you find Sherman’s Cookshop?
If you reach Stryker in Sinkor, you’ve gone too far. Pass Lean Miller high school and find Lolta House (Ministry of Tax Building). Right on that block where Lolta House is, ask for the Sherman Cookshop (the pictures below will help guide you).
Location is everything in this case. Since vegetarian African food is not popular, you must be willing to patrol and become familiar with the environment until you find an eating spot that pleases you. After that, you must be willing to remove meat and fish from the stew. And sometimes when you cannot find ready-made vegetarian meals, you have to create one yourself using different kinds of food you can buy on the streets. Outside of Sherman’s Cookshop along Tubman Boulevard, a lady sells Attieke (jackpot!). Also, if you walk further down the road from Sherman’s cookshop, at 3 pm a lady sells roasted cassava with coconut (double jackpot!). I know this because there were many days, I was late to get food and needed nutritious substitutes for what was left over.
If you are lucky, mango sellers will be close by. And there is a mute girl that sells Accra ground peas (Tiger nuts). From options of boiled peanuts (protein), cucumbers, apples, coconut, roasted cassava, and plantains, you can understand why any sane vegetarian person would travel to Liberia.
Re-visit trusted cooks with make-do vegetarian options
While I was in Liberia this year, I revisited Aunt Sophie’s coal bowl shop by Bostown junction, Margibi. I ate there many times during my two-month trip back in 2022. Happy to say, her coal bowl shop has grown, and I can’t wait to see what new developments she’s made when I visit next. I’m team coal bowl food, it’s my jam! It allows me to blend in and see the scenes in a new way you wouldn’t get from hotel-based restaurants. Elizbeth Sherman’s cookshop is now added to my list of nice cookshops to eat at. Live your best plant-based life! Comment below the name of your favourite restaurant or coal bowl shop in Liberia.
The Farmington Hotel Liberia- Vegetarian’s Review
This review of the Farmington Hotel Liberia is overdue. I’ve stayed there a few times now and dined at their bar and buffet. The Farmington Hotel Liberia is next to Liberia’s airport, so I’d highly advise staying here to avoid delays.
My review is about the food from a vegetarian’s view. Because food in Liberia is heavily reliant on meat and fish, dining at the Farmington Hotel Liberia is no exception. Last year in June 2022 when I stayed there, I ordered fried rice at night. Options of pizza, burgers, and fries are plenty on the menu. The fried rice tasted alright; it didn’t have enough vegetables, which is what I wanted. I told them to keep the fried chicken and only give me the vegetable fried rice with plenty of vegetables. They charged me $ 15 USD but were still stingy with the veggies. Yes, such eateries will charge you the same rate even if you force them to remove the meat/fish. This year, I checked in early so I was fortunate to experience their buffet, or whatever was left of it. The buffet has different types of traditional Liberian rice and stews, a fruit bar, and a dessert bar.
This was nice because I simply picked the meat or fish out of the stew and got the plain stew & rice. They ran out of food by the time I went there so I couldn’t sample all the dishes. Note, their fried rice has many fresh vegetables. You will see how I added the veggies to the Attieke in the image above. The fruit bar has a lovely selection which you will want, instead of the dessert which was stale. Overall, you pay $ 30 USD for the buffet and you will have nutritious choices. It can be worth it.
Finally, what restaurants or cook shops around Monrovia would you recommend? Based on your experience, which community or area has good (clean place & fair-priced) food in Liberia? Let us know in the comments below.
Thumpy Rose is either not a Liberian or has not lived in Liberia for an extremely long time. The food referred to as COAL BOWL is actually named COLD BOWL. It is so named because it was cooked a day or more earlier and it is the leftovers that is reheated and served. Second, it is not BITTER BOLE, but BITTERBALL. Even though Bitterball and Eggplant are from the same family, they are very different. Togborgee is made with Bitterball and not Eggplant.
🙂 This is funny. Will give you a hint, which school near ashmun street dusty road is called “CCS.” Respecting that Liberians love good fresh food regardless of income class, I have seen shops go out of business because the cook tried to pull that stunt of selling day old soup. Local patrons call it out and will not stand for it so such eateries loose customers. Secondly, that must have been the way it was back then but today, most ole ma dem wakeup 4am or 5am to cook their fresh soup; the people that raised me used to sell food so that’s how I know. Now, you know there are creative Liberians who cooks nice torborgee made out of eggplant (aka garden eggs).