Patch brings you another unique ethnic market housed right here in Laurel. Accra, a tiny African market, sells unique and popular delicacies as well as traditional foods. Drop by and ask for Sally who'll help you put together one fine African cuisine.
Accra International Foods
10051 North 2nd St
Laurel, MD 20723
The moment you walk into Accra International Foods, curiosity sets in. Aromas of African food and uniquely packaged specialty items summon one to browse, to ask questions.
It’s a tiny store with just two aisles, mostly filled with canned vegetables, mackerel and assorted household goods. Packages of Sugar bread sit prominently on the top shelves of the first aisle. It is a huge African favorite served for breakfast or dinner, says Sally Obeng, whose family owns Accra.
Accra is named after the capital of Ghana, a West African nation, and is the country’s largest city with an estimated population of 40 million.
“Our name lets shoppers know that we sell African food and helps get the word out,” says Sally, who acknowledges their location is not the greatest. Accra is located at the end of a shopping center with a handful of stores.
Sally says they also have long hours to accommodate shoppers who may not live close by or have non-traditional work schedules.
“It’s a small store but we want to grow and let people know we’re here. You need expanded hours to do that,” says Sally.
Kenkey is a Ghanaian delicacy and sits visibly in front of the store in several large tubs. It’s similar to a sourdough dumpling and often served with stew or sauce, explained Sally.
“People do try to make it but it is a very long and difficult process, so most people prefer to come in here and just buy it,” she says.
Another staple of West and Central Africa is Fufu made from cassava yams and plantain. It’s often eaten with soup or vegetables. Some people eat it for lunch or as a cereal. There are many ways to eat it.
“An African saying is, if a woman wants an African man, all she has to do is be able to make good Fufu,” says Kwame, an Accra employee.
From time to time people come in and ask how to prepare certain meals that they’ve heard or read about, says Sally.
“One woman had a school project and was making an African dish and she came in to get the ingredients and I explained how to make the food. It was nice and I welcome customers to do that.”
On the far aisle of the store there’s packaged fried fish and shrimp and other packaged meats which can be blended with the various spices and canned vegetables. Just ask Sally. She’ll give you recipes for a great African feast.
“When you think about it, African meals are really simple and basic for the most part. Flour, water, stews, soups…nothing too complicated which is appealing to a lot of people,” says Kwame.
Accra also has a variety of drinks including Limongin, similar to a ginger beer.
It’s natural, strong and can be used for medicinal purposes as well a snack drink.