Though Kenya, as the nearby Tanzania and Rwanda, belongs to the cultural area of swahili, it is a mix of different traditions due to its many different populations. Kenya is a large land of ancient tribes, each tribe has its own culture and all of them are mixed in the same nation but still continuing their own tradition over the years. This means it is difficult to decide which is the real Kenyan soul … and as for food, which is the typical Kenyan food.
We usually associate Kenya to swahili food, and of course many recipes of that gastronomy are shared. But among so many tribal food traditions, some are more spread than others on the national territory. Also according to the tourist choices, today we can say which are the main national recipes of Kenyan food. Here is the gastronomic itinerary you may choose on your next trip to this wonderful land.
About Kenyan food
We can certainly say that – no matter the tribal tradition – rice is the staple food of Kenyan gastronomy. They know a large number of ways for cooking it and it accompanies most of their main dishes and sweets. You must try coconut-based boiled rice, the Sukuma Wiki – where rice is scattered among stewed vegetables like tomatoes, collard greens, onions and others. Also try the particular local Pilau, mainly made of spiced rice.
Together with rice, corn is another staple food of Kenya. Roasted corn maize, for example, or the Giteri – boiled corn kernels and beans mixed as in a salad – and the ubiquitous Ugali corn dough are never lacking on a Kenyan table. As for meat, Kenyans love very much roasted beef and beef burgers. They also eat a lot goat meat. Goat is the base meat for the famous local sausages, Mutura, worth the taste!
Kenyan food recipes you shall not miss
It may sound strange, but when you are in Kenya you must taste their … coffee! Forget the famous Brazilian and Italian espressos and try the Kenyan blend. You could be impressed! Also Chai Tea is a typical and unique Kenyan drink, the best way to start the day or end the dinner. Other recipes you shall not miss, in this Country, are: Samosas, the traditional fried pancakes stuffed with vegetables, Maharagwe stew – beans, onions, tomatoes with lots of spices, and chicken dishes. Try the Nyama Choma, maybe the only “national dish” which enhances the flavour of roasted meat turning it into “burned meat”. You can do it with beef meat, goat meat or chicken.
Where to eat good local food
Nairobi is the best place if you look for restaurants of good typical Kenyan food. The capital city is full of both expensive and cheap places where you can sit and have a typical recipe of the national tradition. Fish is not a very common gastronomy in Kenya, but you can taste some delicious dishes on the coastal regions (Malindi and Watamu in particular) and on the Lake Victoria’s shores, at Kisumu. Nakuru is the paradise of perfect Nyama Chomas, while the best coffee and tea is at Karen Blixen’s Coffee Garden bar chains based in Nairobi.