Whereas stunning sunsets, enchanting wildlife, fascinating landscapes, and pleasant individuals are its main points of interest, the meals in Kenya can be worthy of a visit to this East African nation.
The nation includes over 44 ethnic teams, and virtually each neighborhood has its personal distinctive conventional dish. If you mix that truth with worldwide cuisines and culinary variations, each traveler is certain to have an unforgettable expertise.
So, in the event you’re visiting Kenya quickly and questioning what to eat, learn on. On this article, I’ll introduce you to dishes from numerous areas in my residence nation. These embrace ugali, the staple meals; biryani, a Swahili meal from the coast; and irio, a conventional meals from the Mount Kenya area.
Under, are a few of my favourite dishes to attempt throughout your journey to Kenya.
15 Meals To Attempt in Kenya
As a Kenyan native, I’ve traveled to many components of the nation, sampling completely different meals. To provide you an thought of what to anticipate, I’ve ready this information on 15 must-try dishes in Kenya. It contains well-liked meals, foremost dishes, snacks, pastries, and avenue meals.
1. Ugali (Cornmeal) – The Most Widespread Meals in Kenya General
We start this checklist with ugali, undeniably the preferred meals in Kenya and plenty of components of Sub-Saharan Africa. It’s additionally the staple meals of Kenya and is normally a part of lunch and dinner in most households.
Ugali is made by including flour (maize, millet, or cassava) to boiling water and stirring to a dough-like consistency. The healthful meal is then loved with inexperienced greens, beef stew, or nyama choma (roasted meat – extra on that under!).
This well-liked meal is on the market in virtually each native restaurant. In the event you’re in Nairobi, Ok’Osewe Ranalo Meals is a good choice and a spot I’ve loved brown ugali (made from millet flour) many occasions. The restaurant additionally serves different conventional and must-try dishes in Kenya, like fried tilapia fish and beef stew.
Ok’Osewe Ranalo Meals Info
Deal with: Kimathi Street, Nairobi
Cellphone: +254 721 323238
Working Hours: 10:30 am-3:00 am (Mon-Solar)
Common Value of the dish: $7
Web site: N/A
2. Nyama Choma (Roasted Meat)
Translating to roasted or grilled meat in Swahili, nyama choma is essentially the most well-known dish in Kenya. This traditional barbecue is made by slowly roasting meat (goat, beef, or rooster) over sizzling coals till it’s tender.
As soon as grilled, nyama choma is positioned on a wood board and chopped into items, and served with ugali, greens, and kachumbari. In Kenya, we normally benefit from the well-known dish with buddies. It additionally goes properly with ice-cold beers or espresso.
You could find nyama choma on many sit-down restaurant menus throughout the county. It’s additionally accessible from roadside eateries (“choma zones”) and native meat retailers.
In the event you’re in Nairobi, go to the Carnivore Restaurant. It has all kinds of nyama choma to select from, and you’ll eat all you need at a set value. Char-Choma Restaurant is my favourite spot for the dish in Mombasa.
The Carnivore Restaurant Info
Deal with: Off Langata Road, Nairobi (near Wilson Airport)
Cellphone: +254 731 611606
Working Hours: 12:00 pm-11:00 pm (Mon-Solar)
Common Value of the dish: $50 (for a buffet)
Web site: tamarind.co.ke/carnivore
3. Samaki Fry (Fried Fish)
Samaki fry, Swahili for fried fish, is among the most scrumptious and well-liked meals in Kenya. The fish (normally tilapia or Nile perch) is deep-fried and served with ugali alongside kachumbari (normally recent tomato and onion salad). Aside from the dry fry (my favourite), it will also be wet-fried (with onions, tomatoes, and spices) which supplies it extra aroma.
Omena (silver cyprinid) is one other typical fish dish in Kenya, particularly amongst communities dwelling alongside the shores of Lake Victoria. The small fish are first dried within the solar earlier than being deep fried.
Probably the greatest locations to eat fish in Kenya is Mama Oliech Restaurant in Nairobi’s Kilimani space. In the event you’re visiting Nanyuki city, drop by the Trout Tree Restaurant. It’s my favourite fish restaurant in Kenya for its scrumptious farm-to-table trout and recent sukuma wiki (kale).
Trout Tree Restaurant Info
Deal with: Along Road A2 between Naro Moru and Nanyuki
Cellphone: +254 726 281704
Working Hours: 10:00 am-5:00 pm (Mon-Solar)
Common Value of the dish: $10
Web site: trout-tree.com
4. Karanga (Kenyan Beef Stew)
Karanga (an area stew) is a typical meal in Kenya and a favourite for many individuals. The dish is straightforward to arrange utilizing completely different meats and different components that give it an inviting aroma.
It’s made by frying chunks of meat with onions, tomatoes, potatoes, greens, and spices. When water is added, the result’s a thick, hearty meal finest loved with ugali, chapati, or rice.
My favourite restaurant in Kenya for karanga is K’Osewe Ranalo Foods. The eatery serves scrumptious beef stew, which I take pleasure in with ugali (millet flour) and managu (indigenous inexperienced greens).
The Talisman Restaurant could have a special title for the stew, however it’s undoubtedly well-known for making among the finest.
The Talisman Restaurant Info
Deal with: Off Ngong Road, Karen, Nairobi
Cellphone: +254 705 999997
Working Hours: 11:00 am-10:00 pm (Tue-Fri), 9:00 am-10:00 pm (Sat-Solar)
Common Value of the dish: $13
Web site: thetalismanrestaurant.com
5. Sukuma Wiki (Collard Greens or Kale)
Other than nyama choma and Kenyan stew, ugali is commonly accompanied by sukuma wiki (much like kale). This vegetable dish, which interprets to “push the week,” is inexpensive and customary in lots of Kenyan households.
Getting ready sukuma wiki includes washing the inexperienced leaves, slicing them into small items after which frying them with onions. In some circumstances, tomatoes and spices are added to deepen the flavour.
Apart from sukuma wiki, there are different inexperienced greens generally utilized in Kenya. These embrace spinach, mrenda (jute mallow), marenge (pumpkin leaves), and thabai (stinging nettle leaves).
Sukuma wiki is on the market in virtually all eating places throughout Kenya – together with the small eateries within the countryside. There are additionally some nice locations to do this dish in Nairobi, with my favourite being Cultiva Farm, an ideal farm-to-table restaurant in Karen.
Cultiva Farm Kenya Info
Deal with: Pofu Road, Karen, Nairobi
Cellphone: +254 701 579902
Working Hours: 8:00 am-11:00 pm (Mon-Solar)
Common Value of the dish: $5
Web site: cultivakenya.com
6. Kachumbari (Salsa or Salad)
Kachumbari, a recent vegetable salad, is Kenya’s hottest facet dish. The salad/salsa includes sliced recent tomatoes, onions, inexperienced/purple pepper, coriander, and generally avocado.
The refreshing salsa/salad is synonymous with nyama choma. It additionally goes properly with pilau, mutura (avenue meals), boiled eggs, and fried fish.
If you wish to attempt Kenya’s most scrumptious salad, go to a nyama choma restaurant or a avenue meals vendor. For first-time guests, I like to recommend Road House Grill in Nairobi or Char-Choma Restaurant in Mombasa. They’ve among the finest barbecue and kachumbari within the nation.
Char-Choma Restaurant Info
Deal with: Off Mombasa-Malindi Road, just before Whitesands Hotel
Cellphone: +254 794 673598
Working Hours: 6:00 am-12:00 am (Mon-Solar)
Common Value of the dish: $15 (served with nyama choma)
Web site: facebook.com
7. Hen Tikka Masala (Spiced Hen)
Kenya is a multicultural nation with a sizeable inhabitants of locals of Indian descent. This has led to the introduction of scrumptious Asian meals, together with rooster tikka masala.
The dish is made by tossing items of rooster (clay oven cooked) right into a spicy sauce. This sauce normally includes recent tomatoes, onion gravy, and quite a lot of unbelievable Indian spices.
There are a number of locations the place you may attempt rooster tikka masala in Kenya. My favourite is The Mayura Restaurant on the Nairobi SGR Terminus, which serves this tasty dish, amongst others. The restaurant additionally has branches in Karen and Westlands.
The Mayura Restaurant Info
Deal with: Nairobi SGR Terminus, Syokimau
Cellphone: +254 737 224422
Working Hours: 11:00 am-11:00 pm (Mon-Solar)
Common Value of the dish: $11
Web site: themayura.com
8. Biryani (Spiced Rice) – My Favourite Swahili Meals in Kenya
Biryani is a conventional meals in Kenya well-liked amongst communities alongside the coast. To make this dish, rice is normally cooked with meat (rooster or beef) and completely different spices. These spices embrace cardamom, coriander, cumin, black pepper, cinnamon, and cloves.
One other spiced rice and a well-known dish in Kenya is pilau. It’s cooked with fragrant spices and both beef or rooster and is served with greens and kachumbari.
The primary distinction between biryani and pilau is that with biryani, rice and different components (meat, sauce, and spices) are cooked collectively. However, pilau rice (and spices) are cooked in a separate pot from the sauce and meat.
I’ve had biryani rooster and pilau in lots of locations, however my favourite eatery is Jahazi Espresso Home. The small restaurant is situated in Mombasa Old Town and serves essentially the most scrumptious Swahili dishes within the metropolis.
With its outdated furnishings, flooring mats, and Arabic-style doorways, Jahazi is a real image of the traditional city.
Jahazi Espresso Home Info
Deal with: Thika Street, Off Ndia Kuu Rd, Mombasa
Cellphone: +254 742 917263
Working Hours: 9:00 am-6:00 pm (Mon-Solar)
Common Value of the dish: $8
Web site: N/A
9. Wali wa Nazi (Coconut Rice)
One in all my favourite dishes in Kenya is Wali. This dish can be well-liked among the many communities dwelling alongside the Kenyan coast. It’s sometimes made from white rice and numerous components and is normally loved with rooster, beef, or fish curry.
The preferred wali dishes are wali wa kukaanga and wali wa nazi. The latter includes rice boiled in coconut milk, whereas the previous include boiled rice that’s fried with components like onions, carrots, peas, turmeric, and greens.
The perfect locations I take pleasure in wali wa nazi are in Swahili eating places, and also you’ll discover them in virtually each city alongside the Kenyan coast. Whereas in Mombasa, check out Mombasa Dishes or Barka Restaurant in Mombasa Outdated City. Kilimanjaro Jamia in Nairobi can be the most effective locations to attempt wali.
Barka Restaurant Info
Deal with: Mji wa Kale, Makadara Road, Mvita
Cellphone: +254 722 881009
Working Hours: 7:30 am-10:30 pm (Mon-Solar)
Common Value of the dish: $4
Web site: N/A
10. Matoke (Plantain Banana Stew)
Matoke, a staple meals among the many Kisii individuals of the western area, ought to undoubtedly be in your checklist of must-try dishes in Kenya. The meal is ready by frying plantains and is finest loved with rice, chapati, or beef stew.
It’s frequent to search out completely different variations of matoke in numerous components of the nation. In central Kenya, for instance, the dish consists of plantains, potatoes, arrowroots, pumpkins, and generally candy potatoes.
Matoke is on the market in native eating places countrywide. Whether or not in Kisii, Mombasa, Nairobi, Nanyuki, or Nakuru, you’re certain to discover a place serving this superb dish. Whereas in Nairobi, take a look at Bridges Natural Restaurant.
Bridges Natural Restaurant Info
Deal with: Along Tubman Road, Nairobi
Cellphone: +254 711 575756
Working Hours: 6:00 am-6:00pm (Mon-Solar)
Common Value of the dish: $4
Web site: bridges-organics-shop.web.app
11. Irio (Mashed Peas)
Additionally indigenous to communities residing within the central area just like the Kikuyu, irio (that means meals) is my favourite conventional meals in Kenya. This wholesome dish is made from mashed potatoes, beans, peas, and conventional greens (like pumpkin leaves) and served with beef stew or nyama choma.
It’s price noting that, not like mukimo, irio doesn’t comprise githeri (corn and kidney beans).
Probably the greatest locations to style irio is at a nyama choma restaurant (though they primarily promote mukimo). In the event you’re visiting the central area (the world round Mount Kenya), drop by any native restaurant and also you’ll discover essentially the most genuine irio, githeri, and mukimo round.
My favourite place to eat the native dish is Betty’s Place in Nyeri; a country restaurant that serves tasty nyama choma accompanied by scrumptious irio or mukimo.
Betty’s Place Restaurant Info
Deal with: Kimathi Way, Nyeri
Cellphone: +254 711 666792
Working Hours: 7:30 am-12:00 am (Mon-Sat), 9:00 am-12:00 am (Solar)
Common Value of the dish: $5
Web site: N/A
12. Githeri (Corn/Maize and Beans)
Githeri is among the finest conventional dishes in Kenya. Initially, the dish was unique to communities dwelling round central Kenya, however now it’s widespread throughout the nation. This easy meal is made by mixing maize (corn) with beans and boiling them in a clay pot or sufuria.
As soon as it’s cooked, githeri is served alone or fried with onions, tomatoes, inexperienced greens, and potatoes. Typically, the dish is mashed with potatoes, and pumpkin leaves to make mukimo – one other typical meals in Kenya.
Githeri is on the market in most eating places in Kenya. In the event you’d wish to take pleasure in this meal in Nairobi, I reccomend you go to the Scorching Dishes Restaurant.
Scorching Dishes Restaurant Info
Deal with: Old Mutual Building along Kimathi Street, Nairobi
Cellphone: +254 782 333444
Working Hours: 6:00 am-9:00 pm (Mon-Fri), 6:00 am-8:00 pm (Sat-Solar)
Common Value of the dish: $3
Web site: hotdishes.co.ke
13. Samosas (Triangular Pastry)
No journey to Kenya can be full with out making an attempt a minimum of one samosa, a yummy triangular-shaped snack.
This well-liked snack might be loved any time of the day, particularly with a cup of chai. It’s made by filling cooked minced meat or peas in small triangular dough pockets which are deep fried. Substances like onions, garlic, pepper, and coriander are generally added to offer them further taste.
I wasn’t an enormous fan of samosas till a good friend recommended I attempt T Tot Restaurant in Machakos city. The restaurant is well-liked with locals, and their sizzling samosas will go away you craving extra.
In the event you’re in Nairobi, take a look at Cafe Deli Restaurant alongside Moi Avenue. It serves beef and rooster samosas which go properly with Kenyan chai.
Café Deli Restaurant Info
Deal with: Moi Avenue, Nairobi
Cellphone: +254 707 712287
Working Hours: 6:30 am-10:00 pm (Mon-Solar)
Common Value of the dish: $3 (with tea)
Web site: cafedeli.co.ke
14. Mutura (Kenyan Sausage) – Finest Road Meals in Kenya
Along with the normal dishes in Kenya, avenue meals is frequent, particularly in markets, neighborhoods, and alongside alleys. Among the well-liked choices embrace mahindi choma (roasted maize), mayai pasua (boiled eggs), and mutura (Kenyan sausage).
Mutura is essentially the most well-known of all Kenyan avenue meals. The sausage-like snack is scrumptious and wealthy in protein. It includes a mixture of various items of cow or goat meat and cooled blood encased in a wrapper (normally goat intestines).
To arrange mutura, items of meat are initially cooked with completely different components (like onions and spices) after which stuffed in small intestines. The sausage is then roasted on a charcoal grill to offer it a smoky taste. As soon as cooked, mutura is minimize into small ring-like items and loved alone or accompanied by kachumbari.
In the event you’re in search of a spot to style this wonderful and distinctive Kenyan avenue meals, take a night stroll in any small city or large metropolis within the nation, and maintain a eager eye out for it. You may as well go to a restaurant reminiscent of Betty’s Place in Nyeri or Ankole Grill in Nairobi.
Ankole Grill, Kilimani Info
Deal with: Senteu Plaza, Galana Road, Nairobi
Cellphone: +254 710 202020
Working Hours: 7:30 am-11:00 pm (Mon-Solar)
Common Value of the dish: $7 (for a small plate)
Web site: ankole.co.ke
15. Tusker (Kenyan Beer)
Though this text is about meals in Kenya, it might be incomplete with out a drink to clean down the meal. A chilly Tusker (the preferred native beer) goes completely properly with nyama choma or fried fish. You may as well take pleasure in sizzling drinks like chai (Kenyan tea) and kahawa (espresso).
Tusker (for round $4) is on the market in virtually any bar and restaurant within the nation. In the event you’re in Mombasa, go to Maasai Seashore Bar and Restaurant. It overlooks the magnificent Mombasa Seashore and serves scrumptious roasted meat and numerous drinks.
Downtown is my favourite place to hang around in Nanyuki, whereas K1 Klub House is among the finest nightlife spots in Nairobi.
Probably the greatest locations for espresso and tea in Kenya is Java Home. I frequent the Kimathi Street department for a full breakfast, which incorporates Kenyan chai, omelets, and bread.
Maasai Seashore Bar and Restaurant
Deal with: Mount Kenya Road, Mombasa
Cellphone: +254 717 310902
Working Hours: 6:00 am-2:00 am (Mon-Solar)
Common Value of the dish: $4 (for native beers)
Web site: N/A
Bonus (Different Should-Attempt Dishes in Kenya)
Under are different dishes in Kenya that you must attempt.
Ingoho: A stewed rooster frequent among the many Luhya neighborhood of Kenya. It’s normally served with ugali (constituted of millet, cassava, or whole-milled maize flour).
Chapati: This can be a smooth flatbread that’s usually served with different meals like sukuma wiki, beef stew, and matoke.
Chips Mwitu: Translating to “wild French fries”, chips mwitu is one other well-known and must-try avenue meals in Kenya. It’s merely fried potato chips bought by the roadside. Related meals embrace viazi karai (potato wedges – boiled after which deep-fried) and bhajias (potato fritters).
Smokie Pasua: That is normally a smoked sausage. Identical to mayai pasua (boiled eggs), smokie pasua is a avenue meals that goes completely properly with kachumbari.
Mahindi Choma: Also called makai, mahindi choma (grilled maize) is considered one of my favourite avenue meals in Kenya. It has a crunchy texture and a candy style (bitter in the event you spice it with lemon or chili).
Meals Excursions in Kenya
With quite a few eating places in Kenya to select from, it takes numerous work to know the place to eat native meals. Nevertheless, by becoming a member of a guided tour, your native host will take you to well-known locations in addition to some considerably secret spots the place you may eat and drink like an area.
Take a look at the next meals excursions in Kenya for an genuine native culinary expertise.
Nairobi Metropolis Meals Tour
In the event you’re able to style one of the best meals in Kenya, be a part of this thrilling tour. Your native information will take you to one of the best spots to take pleasure in conventional dishes alongside different Kenyans.
You’ll get to pattern well-known Kenyan delicacies, together with ugali, chapati, mukimo, nyama choma, kachumbari, fish, indigenous greens, and Swahili dishes.
The Carnivore Eating Expertise
To style various kinds of nyama choma, be a part of this native eating expertise. It takes you to Carnivore Restaurant – some of the well-known locations for roasted meat.
The eating expertise features a mouth-watering starter (soup), a tasty dessert, and an all-you-can-eat meat choice. After dinner, you’ll wash down the nyama choma with espresso or a chilly Tusker beer.
Mombasa Road Meals Expertise
The Kenyan Swahili delicacies is a stupendous mixture of components from completely different communities that dwell alongside the Indian Ocean shoreline. It combines native, European, Arabic, and Indian influences to provide among the most scrumptious dishes within the nation.
When visiting Mombasa, ensure you be a part of this street food tour to pattern completely different native delicacies. These embrace rooster biryani (my favourite), pilau (spiced rice), wali wa nazi (coconut rice), and mabuyu (baobab seeds coated with sugar and coloured flavors).
Make Kenyan Cuisines With a Native
Probably the greatest methods to understand the native meals scene is by studying learn how to put together and cook dinner conventional meals. On this tour, you’ll go to an area farmers’ market to purchase components after which discover ways to cook dinner them with an area information.
The journey to and from the market contains using in a matatu (an area minibus), the place you may work together with native Kenyans alongside the trip.
Study All the things About Espresso and Tea
Kenya will not be solely well-known for its dishes but additionally for its nice tea and occasional. Be a part of this tour to be taught all the pieces about espresso (from farm to cup).
In the event you’re extra concerned about tea, this experience is ideal for you. It features a scrumptious native meal constituted of recent farm produce.
Kenyan Meals: FAQs
Under are some solutions to generally requested questions on meals in Kenya.
Ugali is the staple meals of Kenya.
Nyama choma is essentially the most well-known dish in Kenya. The roasted meat is normally served with ugali, sukuma wiki, and kachumbari.
The commonest meals in Kenya are nyama choma, ugali, fish, kachumbari (salad), matoke, mukimo, and mutura.
There are many conventional meals in Kenya, together with ingoho (Luhya neighborhood), irio (Kikuyu neighborhood), and matoke (Kisii neighborhood).
Among the finest locations to eat in Kenya are The Carnivore for nyama choma, Ok’Osewe Ranalo Meals for beef stew, and Jahazi Espresso Home for inexpensive Swahili dishes.
The same old time for supper in Kenya is between 8 pm and 10 pm.
Lunch in Kenya is normally from 12 pm to 2 pm, primarily based on work schedules and the day of the week. Lunch hours throughout weekends and holidays are typically versatile.
A typical breakfast in Kenya contains chai (tea) and bread. It’s additionally frequent to have espresso, candy potatoes, and arrowroots. In large eating places, it might include omelets, bacon, recent juice, fruit servings, and cornflakes.
In Kenya, breakfast is normally served between 6 am and 9 am.
Though tipping will not be necessary in Kenya, it’s frequent so as to add 10% of the invoice as a tip primarily based on the standard of meals and the service.
Huge restaurant chains, native eateries, and avenue distributors depend on countryside farms for recent produce, greens, and components. In addition they supply one of the best fish, meat, and rooster with the intention to put together scrumptious dishes.
So, once you go to this stunning and hospitable nation, don’t confine your self solely to nationwide parks, seashores, and mountains. Head over to a restaurant and indulge your digestive juices with Kenyan delicacies.
Apart from the favored meals like ugali, nyama choma, and kachumbari, ensure you additionally attempt avenue meals like mutura and smokie pasua. I’m certain you’ll go away the nation with a stupendous meals expertise and plenty of completely satisfied reminiscences.
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