Whereas lovely sunsets, enchanting wildlife, fascinating landscapes, and pleasant persons are its main sights, the meals in Kenya can also be worthy of a visit to this East African nation.
The nation contains over 44 ethnic teams, and virtually each group has its personal distinctive conventional dish. While you mix that reality 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 house nation. These embody 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 strive 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 offer you an thought of what to anticipate, I’ve ready this information on 15 must-try dishes in Kenya. It contains widespread meals, principal dishes, snacks, pastries, and road meals.
1. Ugali (Cornmeal) – The Most Well-liked Meals in Kenya Total
We start this listing with ugali, undeniably the most well-liked meals in Kenya and plenty of components of Sub-Saharan Africa. It’s additionally the staple meals of Kenya and is often 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 beneath!).
This widespread meal is offered in virtually each native restaurant. In the event you’re in Nairobi, Ok’Osewe Ranalo Meals is a superb possibility and a spot I’ve loved brown ugali (manufactured 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 Data
Tackle: Kimathi Avenue, Nairobi
Telephone: +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 hen) over scorching 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 often benefit from the well-known dish with pals. It additionally goes properly with ice-cold beers or espresso.
You’ll find nyama choma on many sit-down restaurant menus throughout the county. It’s additionally obtainable 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 worth. Char-Choma Restaurant is my favourite spot for the dish in Mombasa.
The Carnivore Restaurant Data
Tackle: Off Langata Street, Nairobi (close to Wilson Airport)
Telephone: +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 likely one of the most scrumptious and widespread meals in Kenya. The fish (often tilapia or Nile perch) is deep-fried and served with ugali alongside kachumbari (often contemporary tomato and onion salad). Apart from the dry fry (my favourite), it may 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 contemporary sukuma wiki (kale).
Trout Tree Restaurant Data
Tackle: Alongside Street A2 between Naro Moru and Nanyuki
Telephone: +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 (a neighborhood stew) is a typical meal in Kenya and a favourite for many individuals. The dish is straightforward to organize utilizing completely different meats and different substances 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 Ok’Osewe Ranalo Meals. The eatery serves scrumptious beef stew, which I get pleasure from with ugali (millet flour) and managu (indigenous inexperienced greens).
The Talisman Restaurant might have a distinct title for the stew, however it’s positively well-known for making among the finest.
The Talisman Restaurant Data
Tackle: Off Ngong Street, Karen, Nairobi
Telephone: +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.
Making ready sukuma wiki entails 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.
Moreover sukuma wiki, there are different inexperienced greens generally utilized in Kenya. These embody spinach, mrenda (jute mallow), marenge (pumpkin leaves), and thabai (stinging nettle leaves).
Sukuma wiki is offered 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 incredible farm-to-table restaurant in Karen.
Cultiva Farm Kenya Data
Tackle: Pofu Street, Karen, Nairobi
Telephone: +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 contemporary vegetable salad, is Kenya’s hottest aspect dish. The salad/salsa contains sliced contemporary tomatoes, onions, inexperienced/crimson pepper, coriander, and generally avocado.
The refreshing salsa/salad is synonymous with nyama choma. It additionally goes properly with pilau, mutura (road meals), boiled eggs, and fried fish.
If you wish to strive Kenya’s most scrumptious salad, go to a nyama choma restaurant or a road meals vendor. For first-time guests, I like to recommend Street Home Grill in Nairobi or Char-Choma Restaurant in Mombasa. They’ve among the finest barbecue and kachumbari within the nation.
Char-Choma Restaurant Data
Tackle: Off Mombasa-Malindi Street, simply earlier than Whitesands Lodge
Telephone: +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: fb.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 hen tikka masala.
The dish is made by tossing items of hen (clay oven cooked) right into a spicy sauce. This sauce often contains contemporary tomatoes, onion gravy, and quite a lot of unbelievable Indian spices.
There are a number of locations the place you possibly can strive hen 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 Data
Tackle: Nairobi SGR Terminus, Syokimau
Telephone: +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 widespread amongst communities alongside the coast. To make this dish, rice is often cooked with meat (hen or beef) and completely different spices. These spices embody 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 hen and is served with greens and kachumbari.
The principle distinction between biryani and pilau is that with biryani, rice and different substances (meat, sauce, and spices) are cooked collectively. Alternatively, pilau rice (and spices) are cooked in a separate pot from the sauce and meat.
I’ve had biryani hen and pilau in lots of locations, however my favourite eatery is Jahazi Espresso Home. The small restaurant is positioned in Mombasa Outdated City and serves essentially the most scrumptious Swahili dishes within the metropolis.
With its previous furnishings, ground mats, and Arabic-style doorways, Jahazi is a real image of the traditional city.
Jahazi Espresso Home Data
Tackle: Thika Avenue, Off Ndia Kuu Rd, Mombasa
Telephone: +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)
Considered one of my favourite dishes in Kenya is Wali. This dish can also be widespread among the many communities dwelling alongside the Kenyan coast. It’s usually manufactured from white rice and numerous substances and is often loved with hen, beef, or fish curry.
The most well-liked wali dishes are wali wa kukaanga and wali wa nazi. The latter contains rice boiled in coconut milk, whereas the previous include boiled rice that’s fried with substances like onions, carrots, peas, turmeric, and greens.
The most effective locations I get pleasure from 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 also be among the best locations to strive wali.
Barka Restaurant Data
Tackle: Mji wa Kale, Makadara Street, Mvita
Telephone: +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 folks of the western area, ought to positively be in your listing 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 widespread 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 offered 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 Data
Tackle: Alongside Tubman Street, Nairobi
Telephone: +254 711 575756
Working Hours: 6:00 am-6:00pm (Mon-Solar)
Common Value of the dish: $4
Web site: bridges-organics-shop.internet.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 manufactured from mashed potatoes, beans, peas, and conventional greens (like pumpkin leaves) and served with beef stew or nyama choma.
It’s value noting that, in contrast to 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 Data
Tackle: Kimathi Approach, Nyeri
Telephone: +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 likely one of 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 straightforward 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 offered in most eating places in Kenya. In the event you’d wish to get pleasure from this meal in Nairobi, I reccomend you go to the Sizzling Dishes Restaurant.
Sizzling Dishes Restaurant Data
Tackle: Outdated Mutual Constructing alongside Kimathi Avenue, Nairobi
Telephone: +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 could be full with out making an attempt no less than one samosa, a yummy triangular-shaped snack.
This widespread 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. Components like onions, garlic, pepper, and coriander are generally added to provide them further taste.
I wasn’t an enormous fan of samosas till a buddy recommended I strive T Tot Restaurant in Machakos city. The restaurant is widespread with locals, and their scorching samosas will depart you craving extra.
In the event you’re in Nairobi, take a look at Cafe Deli Restaurant alongside Moi Avenue. It serves beef and hen samosas which go properly with Kenyan chai.
Café Deli Restaurant Data
Tackle: Moi Avenue, Nairobi
Telephone: +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) – Greatest Avenue Meals in Kenya
Along with the normal dishes in Kenya, road meals is widespread, particularly in markets, neighborhoods, and alongside alleys. A few of the widespread choices embody mahindi choma (roasted maize), mayai pasua (boiled eggs), and mutura (Kenyan sausage).
Mutura is essentially the most well-known of all Kenyan road meals. The sausage-like snack is scrumptious and wealthy in protein. It contains a mix of various items of cow or goat meat and cooled blood encased in a wrapper (often goat intestines).
To organize mutura, items of meat are initially cooked with completely different substances (like onions and spices) after which stuffed in small intestines. The sausage is then roasted on a charcoal grill to provide it a smoky taste. As soon as cooked, mutura is reduce into small ring-like items and loved alone or accompanied by kachumbari.
In the event you’re on the lookout for a spot to style this glorious and distinctive Kenyan road meals, take a night stroll in any small city or massive metropolis within the nation, and maintain a eager eye out for it. You too can go to a restaurant resembling Betty’s Place in Nyeri or Ankole Grill in Nairobi.
Ankole Grill, Kilimani Data
Tackle: Senteu Plaza, Galana Street, Nairobi
Telephone: +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 no drink to scrub down the meal. A chilly Tusker (the most well-liked native beer) goes completely properly with nyama choma or fried fish. You too can get pleasure from scorching drinks like chai (Kenyan tea) and kahawa (espresso).
Tusker (for round $4) is offered 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 Home is likely one of the finest nightlife spots in Nairobi.
Probably the greatest locations for espresso and tea in Kenya is Java Home. I frequent the Kimathi Avenue department for a full breakfast, which incorporates Kenyan chai, omelets, and bread.
Maasai Seashore Bar and Restaurant
Tackle: Mount Kenya Street, Mombasa
Telephone: +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 need to strive.
Ingoho: A stewed hen widespread among the many Luhya group of Kenya. It’s often served with ugali (constituted of millet, cassava, or whole-milled maize flour).
Chapati: This can be a tender 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 road meals in Kenya. It’s merely fried potato chips offered by the roadside. Related meals embody viazi karai (potato wedges – boiled after which deep-fried) and bhajias (potato fritters).
Smokie Pasua: That is often a smoked sausage. Identical to mayai pasua (boiled eggs), smokie pasua is a road meals that goes completely properly with kachumbari.
Mahindi Choma: Also referred to as makai, mahindi choma (grilled maize) is certainly one of my favourite road 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 a variety of 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 possibly can eat and drink like a neighborhood.
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 the most effective meals in Kenya, be part of this thrilling tour. Your native information will take you to the most effective spots to get pleasure from 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 several types of nyama choma, be part of this native eating expertise. It takes you to Carnivore Restaurant – probably the most 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 Avenue Meals Expertise
The Kenyan Swahili delicacies is a gorgeous mixture of substances from completely different communities that stay alongside the Indian Ocean shoreline. It combines native, European, Arabic, and Indian influences to supply among the most scrumptious dishes within the nation.
When visiting Mombasa, ensure you be part of this road meals tour to pattern completely different native delicacies. These embody hen 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 how one can put together and prepare dinner conventional meals. On this tour, you’ll go to a neighborhood farmers’ market to purchase substances after which discover ways to prepare dinner them with a neighborhood information.
The journey to and from the market contains using in a matatu (a neighborhood minibus), the place you possibly can work together with native Kenyans alongside the journey.
Be taught Every part About Espresso and Tea
Kenya is just not solely well-known for its dishes but additionally for its nice tea and occasional. Be part of this tour to study every thing about espresso (from farm to cup).
In the event you’re extra keen on tea, this expertise is ideal for you. It features a scrumptious native meal constituted of contemporary 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 often 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 group), irio (Kikuyu group), and matoke (Kisii group).
A few of 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 standard dinner time in Kenya is between 8 pm and 10 pm.
Lunch in Kenya is often from 12 pm to 2 pm, based mostly 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 widespread to have espresso, candy potatoes, and arrowroots. In massive eating places, it may possibly include omelets, bacon, contemporary juice, fruit servings, and cornflakes.
In Kenya, breakfast is often served between 6 am and 9 am.
Though tipping is just not obligatory in Kenya, it’s widespread so as to add 10% of the invoice as a tip based mostly on the standard of meals and the service.
Huge restaurant chains, native eateries, and road distributors depend on countryside farms for contemporary produce, greens, and substances. In addition they supply the most effective fish, meat, and hen as a way to put together scrumptious dishes.
So, while you go to this lovely 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.
Moreover the favored meals like ugali, nyama choma, and kachumbari, ensure you additionally strive road meals like mutura and smokie pasua. I’m certain you’ll depart the nation with a gorgeous meals expertise and plenty of pleased recollections.
☞ SEE ALSO: 15 Greatest Eating places in Nairobi, Kenya