As I wrote in The New York Times, a meal at Papaye often consists of a starch and a protein-enhanced sauce or soup; the first is used to scoop up the second. Perhaps the most infamous starch is fufu; above, the thick plantain-cassava paste is suspended in pepper soup with chewy chunks of goat meat. (In a departure for Eating In Translation, the fingers, and the sartorial accents at upper right, belong not to me but to Baron Ambrosia, my dining companion on one lunchtime visit.)
Shown below: tuo saafi (Sundays only), in which the starchy balls are made from rice, the beef is piled high, and the okra is more mucilaginous than usual; beef with palm-oil sauce; ginger sauce and peppers, add-ins for insufficiently fiery soups; suya-powder-rubbed goat kebabs; waakye (Wah-zhay), featuring the namesake blend of rice and black-eyed peas, plus fish, goat, gari (granular, mildly fermented cassava), shitor (hot sauce), and spaghetti (a now-typical Ghanaian accompaniment, origin unknown); and fried croaker with palaver sauce. This last is a delicious stew of spinach and the ground squash seed called egusi, and my favorite "utensils" to tackle it are pale chunks of boiled yam (not shown), wielded like French fries amid cheese curds and brown gravy. Like most entrees at Papaye, it runs about $12 for a large portion.
Cautionary notes: Papaye accommodates the preference of many West Africans for chewier cuts of meat. The menu (also shown below; click for a larger view) includes few attempts at an appetizer, nothing like a salad, and no dessert; for something sweet I turned to a bottle of the syrupy (and nonalcoholic) barley drink called Malta Guinness. There's a commercial ginger beverage, too, with bottle caps supposedly color-coded to indicate levels of spiciness; the uninitiated may find all of them more spicy than refreshing, which might be the occasion for another malta. Also shown: the newer location of Papaye (with the maroon awning) and its older sibling, some two miles to the south.
2300 Grand Concourse (at East 183rd St.), Fordham Heights, Bronx
Also at 196 McClellan St. (at Sherman Ave.), Fordham Heights, Bronx