Kenyan food is mainly traditional, it's as mixed and diverse as it’s tribe's, history and landscapes; with each tribal area having it's own specialities. Because of Kenya's long-standing relationship with foreign settlers and its colonization by the British, the taste, cooking methods and presentation of Kenyan foods have been greatly influenced by the Indians, Arabs, Europeans, and Pakistanis as well as some western countries. Below are some of the most common dishes that you can sample whilst on your travels in Kenya.
Ugali is most common Kenyan staple food. It is usually made from maize flour, added to boiling water and heated to a thickened consistency capable of rolling into a circular lump. Ugali is usually served with fish, meat, nyama choma, meat stews, sukuma wiki or other greens .
Githeri is a mixture of boiled maize (corn) and beans that can be lightly fried with onion. It is a popular meal among the Kamba and Kikuyu tribes. Githeri is a highly nutritious meal, best served with a litle bit of vegetables or even chapati.
Pilau is a combination of rice cooked with meat and spices like turmeric, onions, tomatoes, garlic, ginger, cumin, cardamon, cloves and cinnamon. With option to add cashew nuts, raisins or sultanas and so on, this dish is easily found in many restaurants across Kenya.
Inherited from indo-portuguese visitors to Kenya's shores, chapati is a round, flat bread made of wheat flour, usually mixed with butter/margarine, salt, sugar and other seasonings to taste. Fried on special customized pans, chapati are a common side dish to many stews or can be taken alongside a hot cup of Kenyan tea.
Nyama choma is the most popular dish in Kenya, this is roasted beef or goat meat meal. It is mainly cooked over an open fire and served with ugali and kachumbari or mixed vegetables. Goat and beef are the two most common forms of nyama choma, but chicken (kuku choma) and fish (samaki choma) are also valid choices.
Mutura is the real Kenyan sausage, made up of fresh blood and meat. Certain ingredients and spices such as scallions, red/green chillies, ginger and garlic are added to it. The cooked meat and blood mixture is then stuffed into already cleaned large or small intestine of a cow or goat, and then it's grilled. It is usually eaten as an appetizer, and some people enjoy it with beer.
Kenyan stew can include a number of different meats such as beef stew, goat stew, chicken stew or any other animal stew or it can be a vegetarian stew [a tasty bean dish with onions, tomatoes and spices all boiled together, making a thick bean sauce].
Matoke is originally a dish from Uganda, though it is widely available and popular in Kenya as well. Plantain bananas are cooked up in a pot with some oil, tomatoes, onions, garlic, chilies, meat (optional), and lemon juice. The bananas are cooked until they become soft and begin to form a thick sauce with the other ingredients. This dish goes well with rice or chapati.
Sukuma Wiki is a vegetable stew made of leafy green vegetables, mainly collards or kale. Sukuma wiki is the foundation of many Kenyan meals. The nutritious green leafy vegetable is often cooked in oil with a few diced tomatoes, onions, and flavored with a sprinkle of mchuzi mix (Kenyan food secret flavoring salt) or stock cube flavoring.
Although shopping may not be on your to-do-list while on your Kenyan vacation or holiday, there's no doubt that souvenirs are an excellent way of taking your memories home with you. There are plenty of places that offer friendly shopping opportunities in Nairobi and it's outskirts. Below is a list of a few best places that specialize in high-quality items designed to be both beautiful and unique for anyone planning to shop some souvenir.
It's one of the best places in Nairobi to acquire high quality crafts and high end African art, currently located at Spring Valley. More than 400 different vendors meets here to sell their wares which ranges from hand-woven woolen fabrics to animal-printed pottery and soft leather goods. Items sold here are of exceptionally high quality.
Utamaduni Craft Centre is a large crafts emporium and easily one of the best places to souvenir shop in Nairobi. It is located in the leafy suburb of Langata the shop is easy to drop by on you way to some of the exciting venues in Nairobi such as the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust or the Giraffe Centre. The centre has a dozen of shops selling all kinds of excellent African artworks and souvenirs. A portion of all proceeds goes to local conservation and other charitable projects.
These are open air markets that move around the city according to the day of the week and are excellent shopping experiences. Some of the commonly sold wares include beaded jewellery, gourds, baskets and other Maasai crafts.