Staples: Cornmeal porridge, potatoes, rice, pulses & dried meat
Specialities: dough cakes & spicy finger food
National Dish: Ngayama Choma – barbequed meat
Don’t Miss: Zebra steak or antelope burger from Carnivore in Nairobi.
The Kenyan diet is a basic mixture of potatoes or rice with dried meat and pulses. Ugali, cornmeal porridge, is the national staple. There are also plenty of ‘Kenyan Tapas‘ that can be combined into a meal. These include mini kebabs, chapattis and samosas or sambususwhich represent the sub-continent influence here.
If you want something a little more authentic on the snack front then try Mandaazi, these are deep fried dough cakes, which are sweet and spongy. You will find that most of the food is deep-fried so Kenya’s not a great place to visit if you are dieting.
If there is one thing you would call the national dish then it is nyama choma. It is usually the only food available in a bar that will also have beer and music. This is barbequed meat and you can usually choose which meat you would like.
For the ultimate dining experience, head for the Carnivore restaurant on the Langata Road, Nairobi. This restaurant has been going for years but sadly its charm has waned as it becomes more of a tourist trap. It is still worth the trip for the chance to sample gazelle, impala, wildebeest, antelope, impala, crocodile, buffalo and zebra – all barbequed on Masaai spears. Naturally, this may not be a highlight if you are a vegetarian.
For a recipe for nyama choma and other specialities.
The Carnivore Restaurant
P.O. Box 56685
Telephone254-2- 501706/7/9, 501721, 501743 Fax 254-2-501739
Main image: Nyama Choma @ Namanga, Xiaojun Deng, Flickr Creative Commons
By Electra Gilles