Here's The Difference Between Asaanaa and Nm3daa; Two Ghanaian Local Drinks.

Here's The Difference Between Asaanaa and Nm3daa; Two Ghanaian Local Drinks.

I was at the Ghana Garden & Flower Show last two weeks as a vendor for Storefoundry. Now, my strategy wasn’t to only pitch to prospective clients to sign up for their custom storefront but to also make some sales by selling Nm3daa. What is nm3daa, you ask?


This was the same question I got from many of the event visitors and buyers who came to my stand. I couldn’t believe my ears! And guess what they mistook nm3daa for. Asaanaa! 

“Is it Asaanaa?”

“No, it’s nm3daa,” came my reply. 

“Oh! I want Asaanaa.”

That was how the conversation went most of the time. It actually made me quite thirsty having to repeat the difference between Asaanaa and Nm3daa. 😅 Then there were those who were curious about what it was and donned on their adventurous palate caps to take a sip. 

“Hmmmmm…tastes like Malt.”

“Yep! It’s the African Malta Guiness. Asaanaa is the African Coca-Cola,” I responded and they would burst out with laughter!

Then there were those who knew the drink and bought 5 bottles to take home to family. 😍🖖🏾

At the end of my three-day nm3daa-selling project I couldn't wait to get some much-needed sleep and share about the difference between these two local drinks. The differences actually lies in their origin and the production process. 

Kuukuwa flexing with Nm3daa in a Mason Jar.

Asaana originates from the Volta Region and a few Ewe’s who came to the stand mentioned it to be Aliha but looking at comments on my Facebook post after posting this, it seems Aliha is also Nm3daa. So scratch the name Aliha. 

Asana is made from fermented corn dough water. According to my Nm3daa expert; the fermented corn dough is boiled and the water which rises above the mix is sieved off. Caramelised Sugar is then added to it. 

It is sold mostly in the markets which I guess is the reason why it’s more popular, by women who either carry huge calabashes which house the drink or sit behind knee-length tables with the same calabash placed atop. Giant ice cubes are placed in the drink to keep it chilled.


  Asaanaa can be drunk with ice-cubes. The one thing about Asaana which i recently heard is that; the vendors of the drink usually add sugar or caramel to the drink because of the unending melting of the ice. That’s why you can buy Asaanaa and feel it’s too sugary or have a bitter aftertaste at the back of your throat. Not very healthy is it? The vendors for some time now add evaporated milk as an option when one wants to buy one. Now that I think of it, it was probably to hide the aftertaste of the caramel. 😂The drink is poured into a mini-rubber bag which back in the day was used to sell water (pure water sachets came to change this bag).

Nm3daa is made traditionally by the Ga’s and is popularly served at traditional weddings, naming ceremonies and funerals. It’s a common sight to see traditional rulers drink Nm3daa in calabashes at these events. Most traditional Ghanaian local drinks are drank in calabashes, think of Palmwine, Pito, Ntsinshinu, etc 

So if you haven’t been to a Ga funeral for example, then that could be one of the reasons why you may be missing out on knowing and appreciating Nm3daa. The production process in question is basically the boiling of corn sprouts with added sugar and a bit of salt which gives an interesting sweet and sour taste with the sweet being more noticeable. 

This is a photo of the corn sprouts ready to be boiled.


Unlike Asaanaa, ice cubes cannot be added to Nm3daa. It waters the drink down to an unpleasant level. The best way to drink nm3daa is to bottle it and keep it on ice or in the fridge for hot sunny days in the city. It can be quite filling almost like Malta Guiness and has a more velvety feel on the tongue. 

So there you have it. Clearer now? 🤓Personally, I would choose Nm3daa any day over Asaanaa after hearing how more sugar is added in throughout the day. We served Nm3daa to our guests during our wedding and trust me, it was the most popular drink for the day. The soda’s were left languishing in the freezer. 

P.S- Nm3daa in Ga means 'nut drink'. Asaanaa in Ga also means 'It is Tasted'. 😂

Which is your favourite? Nm3daa or Asaana. Do share in the comments below 🙂


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