We are happy to report that there is a new pan-African grocery store in Cleveland, Koulou’s Marketplace, which opened in 2020 in the Ohio City neighborhood (4700 Bridge Ave., Cleveland OH 44102). You can find dry, frozen and fresh foods from all across Africa at Koulou’s, alongside an assortment of American, European and Middle Eastern goods. The shop is run by Siba and Kolou Beavogui a Liberian/Senegalese couple who usually preside over the shop’s daily operation.
Koulou’s is a relatively small store with a few rows of dry goods, fresh vegetables in the back of the store, and a particularly exhaustive frozen goods section: including hard-to-find Egyptian molokhialeaves and Nigerian ugu leaves. Though there is a focus on African goods, the selection is wide-ranging: we went in looking for a few specific items that we figured would likely be available: fufu (fermented cassava) and palm oil. Not only did we find those items, we ended up getting a ton more interesting stuff, which is really to best part of visiting any grocery store. Fortunately, Koulou’s is very organized and easy to navigate, making browsing easy.
On our latest visit, we bought a bag of Cameroonian groundnut sweets (nuts covered in caramelized sugar), one of the most popular street snacks in Cameroon (groundnuts are related to, but distinct from peanuts) to snack on at the beach. Other recent finds include the incredibly umami Shito pepper sauce from Ghana (which M now puts on everything), and Hawaij spice seasoning, a East African spice mix we plan to utilize when making recipes from In Bibi’s Kitchen. Among the other ingredients we spied were Egusi seeds – from a gourd- used to make the iconic Nigerian dish, Egusi stew, giant bags of cassava flour and rice, various types of tahini, international canned beans, teas from around the world, and bulk spices. We are excited to visit Koulou’s again soon and unearth some more treasures.
We’ve been back to Philadelphia twice in the past year – after having not visited since 2008! It’s good to be back to try all of our old classic haunts like Jim’s and Isgro’s – but we also like to branch out and try new things too. We knew that West Philly has a strong West African food scene, and though we were familiar with the East African stalwarts we were intrigued to try something new. There are actually a handful of Liberian restaurants in Philly, but we decided to give Kings and Queens(4830 Woodland Ave Philadelphia, PA 19143) a shot after reading its positive reviews.
Know before you go: Kings and Queens is cash only and takeout only. The menu is handwritten, and there are only a few things to choose from (all with either the option of fried fish or chicken for between $10-12) : Acheke/Attiéké, Kenkey or Jellof/Jolloff rice. Other options include Fufu and Pepper Soup, and a side order of plantains. You can get a ginger drink or Vimto soft drink to wash it down – but that’s the entire menu! We asked the cashier what his favorites were and he heartily recommended the acheke, which is a fermented cassava couscous, with a great sourdough flavor.
We ordered the acheke and peanut stew (which seemed to be a special – above), both with chicken, along with a side of plantains. The acheke itself was topped with a big helping of fresh-out-of-the-fryer fried chicken. The chicken stew came in a separate container, and was a combination of a rich peanut and tomato sauce, a bit of palm oil, and grilled on-the-bone chicken. We ended up pouring most of the peanut stew over the acheke. Along with the main courses and the delectable side order of fried plantains, we also received pickled veggies and super hot habanero sauce. The food only took about 20 minutes to come out, and as you can see above – we got a ton (and that’s only half).
We took our big platter of food to go and ended up eating on a bench on Penn’s nearby campus. When we saw the amount of food that came in a single portion, we can’t really imagine how much food was in a party platter. Everything, by the way, was totally delicious. The flavors were similar to Senegalese food, but a bit spicier. If you are up for some adventurous eats definitely try Kings and Queens. It’s a no-frills place, but the food is great and they couldn’t have been friendlier.
We’re two Midwestern omnivores, L and M, who are trying to eat food from every country in the world (at restaurants in both the US and abroad). Eating the World is where we update our global restaurant and food adventures. We are based in Cleveland, Chicago and beyond.
To contact us for partnerships or just to say hi, email us at eating the world (at) gmail.com
Eating The World · We're two Midwestern omnivores, L and M, who are trying to eat food from every country in the world (at restaurants in both the US and abroad). Eating the World is where we update our global restaurant and food adventures. We are based in Cleveland, Chicago and beyond.