This new eatery is serving up plantain-based tacos, desserts, and more!
This month, a new vegan vendor has opened at Brooklyn’s DeKalb Market. Kelewele—which is the Ghanian word for the street food dish that blends plantains, spices, and ground nuts—made its debut on Thursday, July 1. The founder of Kelewele, Rachel Laryea, uses plantains as a base for most of the items she serves at the eatery, such as plantain tacos or “placos,” brownies, cookies, and ice cream.
Plantains as an Alternative to Meat and Dairy Products
Laryea is a first-generation American whose parents immigrated to the United States from Ghana. As a child, plantains were the staple dish in many of the meals her family prepared, and when Laryea switched to a vegan diet, she continued to use plantains as an alternative to meat and dairy products. Prior to opening Kelewele, Laryea also examined how plantains are relevant to culture and African diasporic foodways while studying for her PhD at Yale University.
“Following my initial introduction to plantains as a child growing up in a Ghanaian home, there were several inflection points that deepened my love for plantains—namely their affordability and accessibility, vegan friendliness, and cultural relevance for communities across the African diaspora. All of this considered, I launched Kelewele as a way to provide familiar yet innovative, healthy, and sustainable plant(ain) food products to our community,” Laryea told VegOut.
Kelewele’s Munchies and Big Bites
The menu at Kelewele features munchies like Kelewele (spiced plantains) and Phishcakes (seasoned plantain balls that taste like fish served with spicy house sauce and shito mayo), as well as big bites such as the Planana Boat (plantain canoe filled with Red Red, a spicy Ghanian bean stew) and the Chichinga Burger (sweet plantain and black bean patty wrapped in veggies with smashed green plantains as the “buns”). In addition, the sweets menu includes items like dark chocolate brownies, chocolate chip cookies, soft serve ice cream, and frozen roasted plantain pops.
Kelewele is located inside DeKalb Market Hall at 445 Albee Square W, Brooklyn, NY, 11201. For all of the latest updates on the eatery, check them out on Instagram (@kelewelenyc) or visit their website, kelewelenyc.com.