Almost every home here has at least one grill. Grilled meats (chicken, pork, beef) are sold at night on the street near bars. But most times the grills are used for cooking like we’d use a stovetop. Charcoal or wood is lit and then a heavy pot is nestled directly in the coals. This woman sells fried yams (served with a dollop of finely chopped habanero-like hot peppers) each afternoon on the corner outside our host family’s house in Porto Novo.
Fried yams are a ubiquitous street food here and can be fantastic, crisp on the outside and creamy in the middle. Or they can be a little undercooked depending on the person selling them and the batch. They are sold in the afternoons and evenings, starting around 4 p.m. There are at least four women who sell fried yams within a quarter mile of our house.