4 minutes read

There is no single dish that represents Kenya as  a whole however, staples food include maize and other cereals such as sorghum and millet.
Many people associate Kenya with ugali, sukuma wiki and nyama choma.

(Ugali and Sukuma Wiki)

Sukuma wiki, a Swahili phrase which when directly translated means “to push the week,” is a simple dish made with greens similar to kale or collards that can also be made with cassava leaves, sweet potato leaves, or pumpkin leaves. Its Swahili name comes from the fact that it is eaten to “get through the week” or “stretch the week.” Nyama choma is grilled meat – usually beef, goat, pork or sheep. It is grilled over an open fire. It is usually eaten with ugali and kachumbari.

(Nyama Choma and Kachumbari)

As you travel around the country distinct differences are noted mainly based on what foods are locally available around such areas. Here is a list of foods you should not miss out when you are in Kenya.

Kenyan Typical Dishes

  • Nyama Choma (meat) / Kuku Choma (chicken)

The meat is often served with ugali and dipped in more salt or accompanied by chilies and kachumbari.
Where To Eat It: Find recommendations depending on the city your in.

  • Ugali

Where To Eat It: Ugali is available anywhere and everywhere.

  • Sukuma Wiki

Served with ugali. It is normally sliced very thin, and fried in oil, along with onions. It is a standard meal for many Kenyans.
Where To Eat It: Sukuma wiki is available at all restaurants and street stalls.

  • Githeri

This is a mixture of beans and maize cooked together into a stew. Depending on individual preferences potatoes and beef can be to add flavor to it.

(Githeri served with avacado)

Where To Eat It: Everywhere in Kenya, in restaurants and hotels.

  • Chapatis

Originally from the influence of Indians, chapatis are popular in Kenya, and mostly loved by Kenyan men.They are eaten as a snack with tea, and other times along with stew or vegetables.
(Check post on chapatis and paratha post on this website and learn how to prepare)
Where To Eat It: Everywhere in Kenya.

  • Irio

Irio is a combination of potatoes, green peas and kernels of corn mashed up into a heavy nutritious starch. It’s often enjoyed with beans, meat or vegetables stew.

(Irio served with beef stew and veges)

Where To Eat It: Kenyan restaurants.

  • Maharagwe ya nazi (coconut beans)

Maharagwe ya nazi is a delicious Kenyan dish of kidney beans in a coconut curry soup. The bean stew is best served with rice or chapati.
Where To Eat It: Many Kenyan local restaurants will have variations of maharagwe. Closer to the coast is where you’ll find more food prepared using coconut milk and cream.

  • Stew

Kenyan stews are characterized by chunks of meat, potatoes, carrots and other small vegetables boiled down with a few spices to make stew. Stews go great with either ugali, rice or chapatis.
(Next post is how to make stew)
Where To Get It: Most Kenyan restaurants will serve some form of stew on the menu.

  • Pilau and Biryani

Popularity of this two meals has been influenced by the earlier settlement of the Arabs and Indians along the Coast.
(Check out my post on how to make pilau and biryani on the links below https://kulaafrika.wordpress.com/2015/05/07/pilaujollof-ricebenachinspiced-rice/                           https://wordpress.com/stats/day/kulaafrika.wordpress.com?startDate=2016-08-03)
Where To Eat It: Select restaurants in Coast for best pilau and biryani.

  • Roasted Maize

One of the most common snacks on the streets of Nairobi is hot roasted maize. It’s cheap, filling and when rubbed with a little lime chili sauce, it’s fantastic!
Where To Eat It: All over the streets of Kenya.

  • Smokies and mayai (eggs) boiled

Smokies are sausage like snacks that are sold in the streets. I find them more tasty after a night out. They are usually served with kachumbari, tomato or chili sauce.

(Mayai boiled served with Kachumbari )

Where To Eat It: Anywhere in the streets of Nairobi though hygiene should be considered before buying from the vendors.

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