Been craving African food in Burlington? Good news: On July 1, Patience Bannerman and her son, Prince Awhaitey, will begin offering juices, smoothies and West African takeout at their Mawuhi African Market at 160 North Winooski Avenue.
Awhaitey, a Burlington High School grad and a vegan, holds a bachelor's degree in nutrition. He returned to Vermont in January to help Bannerman get her food business up and running.
"My mom has been a chef and caterer in Africa for years," he says. "Together we're working to bring health to the traditional African diet."
They'll do that with a build-your-own juice and smoothie menu, for which Awhaitey — a former bodybuilder — is creating special recipes. One is a beverage he first tried "back home in Ghana," made with ginger, lemon, garlic, coconut water and spices. "It's a very strong detox," he explains. His signature smoothie, which Awhaitey says he drinks whenever he works out, blends sunflower seeds, almond milk and bananas.
Everyday fare will include salads, cooked greens and tomato-based stews made with pungent herbs and served over rice. Fish will come with plantain or sweet-potato chips. Entrées will run about $10, other grab-and-go items closer to $5. Weekends will bring specialties, including okra stew and peanut butter soup.
Awhaitey notes that animal products — goat, oxtail, Jamaican patties and smoked fish — will be cooked separately to accommodate those who don't partake. Most of the meat, he says, is sourced from abroad — for instance, from Israel and Australia, where, he suggests, animals consume a "more natural" diet. Spices will come from Africa, because "the spices in America ... don't really have much flavor," Awhaitey says. "In Africa, they do everything with heirloom seeds. They don't do pesticides or GMOs."