Kenyan Food Overview: 20 of Kenya’s Best Dishes

By Mark Wiens 226 Comments

Here is a list of 20 Kenyan favorites to help you get excited about eating Kenyan food!

1. Ugali (Cornmeal Staple)

The undeniable most common Kenyan food staple is ugali – usually made from cornmeal that is added to boiling water and heated until it turns into a dense block of cornmeal paste. Ugali has the consistency of a grainy dough and the heaviness of a brick.

For many Kenyans, ugali along with a small amount of cooked vegetables or saucy stew is a normal meal.

Kenyan Ugali
Kenyan Food – Ugali

2. Irio (Mashed Peas and Potato Mix)Irio Kenyan Food

Irio is one of the most famous dishes in Kenya, a food that originated as a Kikuyu staple and spread throughout the country.

Green peas and potatoes are boiled and then mashed up before whole kernels of maize (corn) are added to give the mash some extra starch and texture. This hearty and heavy Kenyan food is famous to eat with roasted nyama choma meat (nyama na irio) or just some Kenyan style stew.

photo credit kiplagat

3. Githeri (Beans and Corn)Kenyan Githeri

It’s not too complicated, a Kenyan dish that consists of boiled beans, corn kernels, and possibly mixed in with a little bit of vegetables.

The combination of Githeri is a filling, highly nutritious, and can be quite good when complimented with salt, pepper, chilies, and even a chapati!

photo credit cimmyt

4. Kenyan Pilau (Spiced Rice)

Pilau is a glorified combination of rice cooked with flavor bursting spices like cumin, cardamon, cinnamon, and cloves. The fragrant rice is fantastic to eat with a form of meat stew and a few slices of fresh tomato and onions.

Biriyani is another form of spiced rice that is a popular Kenyan food on the coast.

Even though it’s in Tanzania, I’ve enjoyed some of the best pilau and biryani I’ve ever eaten on the island of Zanzibar!

Kenyan Pilau
Kenyan Food – Pilau Rice

5. Wali wa Nazi (Coconut Rice)

Coconut rice is a popular Kenyan food mostly along the Indian Ocean coast. White rice is cooked with grated coconut meat to create a fragrant twist on plain boiled rice. Wali wa nazi is best enjoyed with a serving of fish or chicken curry, some vegetables, or even bean stew.

6. Sukuma Wiki (Collard Greens / Kale)Kenyan Food

One of the most popular vegetable Kenyan dishes is sukuma wiki (known as collard greens or a form of kale in English).

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 – MSG) or stock cube flavoring.

 

7. Kenyan Stew

Kenyan stew can include a number of different meats: beef stew, goat stew, chicken stew or any other animal stew. Kenyan stew dishes might also include a few other base vegetable ingredients such as carrots, peppers, peas, or potatoes. The sauce is usually formed from a light tomato base and accented with onion, salt and pepper, and that essential mchuzi mix!

Traditional Kenyan Food
Kenyan Food – Beef Stew

8. Nyama Choma (Roasted Meat) – Pride of Kenyan Food

Any Kenyan food list is not complete without a mention of nyama choma, also known as roasted meat. Goat and beef are the 2 most common forms of nyama choma, but chicken (kuku choma) and fish (samaki choma) are also valid choices.

Fat and the grizzle from the meat is the choice part of the animal, and is often consumed with a quick dip into a pile of salt for extra flavoring! It’s also possible at many places to get the “fry,” – the fried meat variation.

Find the best places to eat nyama choma in Nairobi right here.

Kenyan Cuisine
Kenyan Food: Nyama Choma Mixed Platter

9. Matoke (Plantain Banana Stew)Matoke Plantain Bananas

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.

The result is a delicious dish that is reminiscent of boiled potatoes in sauce and excellent to eat with rice, ugali, or a chapati.

10. Chapati (Flatbread)

Chapatis in Kenya can trace their origin from the influence of the Indian population. Kenyan style chapatis are made with a flour dough that is wound into a coil before being rolled into a flat round circle. The dough is then fried on a skillet accompanied by plenty of oil so it becomes crispy on the edges but remains moist and doughy on the interior.

Chapatis can be considered more of a special form of Kenyan food, a treat to eat. Chapatis go well with fried cabbage, beans, or even just rolled up with a cup of tea!

Kenya Foods
Kenyan Food – Chapati

11. Kachumbari (Tomatoes and Onions)

The simple formula of diced tomatoes, onions, chili peppers, cilantro, and sometimes avocado, is a natural power combination of vegetables that cultures all the way from Mexico to Kenya have discovered. Kenyans enjoy kachumbari as a garnish, a side salad that accompanies things like nyama choma or beans.

12. Kenyan Bajias

There are multiple forms of what is commonly known as bajias. The Kenyan variety (sort of borrowed from India) is normally what can be described as glorious spruced-up plate of awesome french fries (chips).

Potatoes are sliced up and battered with seasoning, deep fried, and served with a Kenyan tomato salsa that is worth boasting about.

Bajias from Slush
Kenyan Food – Bajias

13. Masala Chips (French Fries Masala)Kenyan Masala Chips

The dish starts with a greasy plate of freshly deep fried french fries (chips).

Tomato sauce, chili sauce, herbs, cilantro, and whatever else the chef decides are all added to the fries, coating them in a luscious sauce that will have you licking your fingers and the plate!

 

14. Chips Mayai (French Fries and Egg)Chips Mayai

Chips mayai can be described as a French fry Kenyan omelet.

It all begins with a plate of famous Kenyan chips that are placed in a frying pan before being covered in a generous amount of beaten egg and cooked through.

Lather it up with a generous portion of chili tomato sauce and it’s a snack that will provide calories of energy for a few days!

Chips mayai is a one of the Kenyan dishes that is also popular in Tanzania.

photo credit mwilliamrice

15. Mandazi (Kenyan Doughnut)Mandazi

They can be smelled from a kilometer down the street, that lovely familiar scent of a blob of deep frying dough.

The smell is enough to entice anyone to make a mandatory mandazi stop.

Mandazi’s make a great snack or a light breakfast with a cup of sweet chai.

photo credit pareshjai

16. Mutura

Mutura is the real Kenyan sausage, a protein rich meaty snack that could be the envy of every beer drinker.

Goat intestine wrappers are stuffed full of the alluring combination of ground meat parts and goat blood. The sausage is boiled until it is almost cooked through and then thrown on the grill to dehydrate the meat and give it that sensational smoky taste.

If you are searching for that truly authentic Kenyan food street meat experience, mutura will go above and beyond your expectation!

Kenyan Cuisine
Kenyan Food – Mutura Sausage

17. Kenyan Burger

Though it’s not a traditional Kenyan food staple, there’s something about the burgers in Kenya that have the power to make one smile with happiness.

Some restaurants choose to grill their burgers while others choose to deep fry their burgers, adding that extra grease to the meat for super calorie deliciousness.

This particular burger from Burger Hut Nairobi is the double hut, a burger that’s so mouthwatering it could spark a world burger pilgrimage (if it was a little more famous).

Burger in Nairobi Kenya
Kenyan Food – Burger Hut

18. Grilled Maize

One of the most popular on-the-go snacks in Kenya is a cob of roasted maize. The corn is picked when it has become mature, so it’s a dry starch that is perfect for roasting over hot embers.

As the maize roasts, some kernels pop like popcorn while others blacken to a crunchy crisp. Some street stall vendors will supply a chili lime salt garnish for the grilled maize.

Kenyan Food
Kenyan Food – Roasted Maize

19. SamosasKenya Samosa

Another Indian snack turned Kenyan food are samosas – small triangular pockets of spiced meat or vegetables put in a pastry wrapper and deep fried to a golden brown.

Squeeze a sprinkle of lime juice on a samosa for ultimate enjoyment.

These golden snacks are available everywhere from sit down restaurants to Nairobi street food pushcarts.

 

20. Chai (Kenyan style tea)

Kenyan coffee is one of the more famous varieties on earth, yet it is tea that is the popular hot drink of choice for many locals. Kenyan tea is brewed dark, mixed with plenty of whole fat milk, and sweetened up with a few heaping tablespoons of sugar.

As for myself, give me a kilo of mubuzi choma sliced from the hind leg, a side of kachumbari, and a warm Tusker or bottle of Stoney Tangawizi and I’m a very, very happy man.

What’s your favorite Kenyan food?



226 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

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  • Osasere

    2 weeks ago

    I like the food you guys have😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍

  • marine

    2 weeks ago

    i like this food

  • Queen X

    3 weeks ago

    I would say Kenya has very nice Ugali compared to the rest of the countries. You must have enjoyed your trip there huh?

  • Sienna

    2 months ago

    Great article but just some additional comments. Chips Mayai is definitely not a Kenyan staple. It’s a Tanzanian one, available at pretty much any street food stall or local restaurant. I have lived in Tanzania for a while now, and every Kenyan who I’ve met has said it’s not a common meal there or they’ve never had it before. I’m also amused you were “surprised” the best pilau you’ve ever had was in Zanzibar, because pilau is also a staple there as well never missed at any party/get-together, and is a common Sunday lunch meal. I guess I’m biased, but a lot of Kenyan and Tanzanian food gets considered Kenyan when they are actually more common in Tanzania, so just wanted to point that out!

  • Kyale

    2 months ago

    I always felt there was something Kenyan about you. Anyway we have pathetic foods, can you do a Nigerian food video?

  • Bwindi

    2 months ago

    Hey Mark, How was your experience eating Ugali for the first time in Kenya?

  • Sam Crosby

    3 months ago

    You do realize that “nyama choma” means roasted meat. So when you say nyama choma meat, you are saying roasted meat meat. Also, this site says that it is Kenyan food. Burgers are not Kenyan.

  • joy kui

    3 months ago

    Wooooow I like it all

  • Wild Discoveries

    3 months ago

    Now, Ugali, chicken soup and sukuma wiki is definitely a dish every Kenyan will identify with. Accurate information, makes me wanna eat right now. thank you!

  • gizachew tuna

    4 months ago

    really i would like to eat ugali, it is salivative when i see it.

  • Shantanu

    4 months ago

    Moving from LA to Nairobi next month. Thank you for the gastro guide. Will come in handy πŸ™‚

    • Mark Wiens

      4 months ago

      Awesome to hear that Shantanu, hope you have a great transition!

    • Amon

      4 months ago

      You are welcome to Nairobi Kenya.

    • Jaime

      4 months ago

      Just got back from 5 weeks in Nairobi/Maasailand. You’ll love the food in Nairobi.

  • esther

    4 months ago

    hi,love so much the presentation… i love cooking a lot and would love to have a blog for that especially to give kenyan dishes a twist.kindly assist

  • Logan winters

    4 months ago

    This is great! My sister is learning about maraco and I have to learn about Kenya😁

    • Priscilla

      1 week ago

      Im hungry already. Good presentation of our Kenyans foods there.

  • eva

    5 months ago

    That which you call irio is ‘mukimo’ mostly a kikuyu delicacy
    ‘irio’ means food..’mukimo’ is the mashed potatoes mix

    Apart from that I love everything there

  • dan

    5 months ago

    try out matumbo mix

  • Eunice

    6 months ago

    Kenyan food are lip smacking, great and delicious.

  • [email protected]

    6 months ago

    Im going to kenya in june, I’m really looking forward to trying the local cuisine. Sounds simple, but looks delicious.

    • Amon

      4 months ago

      Welcome to Kenya a magic land

  • Patricia Bland

    6 months ago

    Just got back from 20 days in Kenya and Tanzania. I ate well and lost 8 lbs. You included all the dishes I loved. Thank you.

    • Álvaro Oliveira

      4 months ago

      So you recomend the Kenyan diet, lol

  • Shila

    10 months ago

    Wow i love this..please i wud love to know where you are based?
    Iam doing a research on kenyan food recipes that is yet to be aired in one of the Kenyan TV station
    Please kindly send me your contacts

  • Pam

    10 months ago

    I have had all of the foods listed here and you are so right. Upon my return to America, I continue to make them.

  • Victor

    11 months ago

    I really love ugali with vegetables

  • Kate

    11 months ago

    Hey,
    Mark Wiens,
    How are you? Thank you for excellent post. I love Kenyan Burger & Samosas very much. you can more food &culture in site.

  • Chef KALINGU

    11 months ago

    A nice piece there…I love this as a chef am proud to see you liking our cuisine.
    Just to add another version of Githeri is Muthokoi (pounded corn to remove the outer layer then boil it with beans till tender, seasonoing n serve) Just yummy…

    • Mark Wiens

      11 months ago

      Hi Chef Kalingu, great to hear from you, thank you for reading. Great suggestions as well!

  • Janie soucie

    11 months ago

    Can someone post a recipe for this chai tea I would love to try

  • Sheliza

    11 months ago

    i was born and raised in Kenya till I was about 8 and I’m currently 17. Reading this list made me miss all these dishes so much it almost makes me want to go back and visit my family. Love the list and would love to see more

    • Mark Wiens

      11 months ago

      Hey Sheliza, awesome to hear from you, thank you for sharing.

  • Veisinia

    11 months ago

    Hi Eric, I would like to request if you could please send me the ingredients of a Kenyan food which is easy to cook so I can cook it for my son’s school project which is due next week. It would be much appreciated if you help me with this. Thank you and looking forward to your reply soon.

    • Veisinia

      11 months ago

      Sorry Mark, I mistyped your name, not sure where i got the Eric from.

  • Dawa dolma

    1 year ago

    I Jst love ugali with irio and sukuma wikiπŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹

    • sally

      12 months ago

      if you have never been to Kenya you are highly welcomed. come, see, touch and eat any time of food you like in Kenya.

      Sally

      • Veisinia

        11 months ago

        it would be cool if you could give me some easy ingredeints for my sons project all about kenya.

  • lazarus opwoko

    1 year ago

    Your comment:the list comprises of amazing dishes. lol would love to sea bandix on the list .extremely lovely. This Kenyan dishes can find a place in the world.

  • Diana Nyaga

    1 year ago

    This is just awesome.Kenyan food is an addiction to me,you make me miss my grandma’s plantain and those childhood days grilling green maize. Add more like cassava,sweet potatoes,arrow roots etc..am hungry already

  • Shyraw

    1 year ago

    I like chapati and chai

  • fefe

    1 year ago

    wow that was great i am from kenya so i knew all about those foods bout you taught me about foods i din’t know about

    • Sam

      1 year ago

      Isn’t a lot of this food authentic Indian food which became popular in Kenya due to their large population there? Chapatti, pulao, chai, samosa, marsala chips, banjo etc are Indian.

    • marggy mtua

      1 year ago

      i just like all of them thy are delicious .thnx for sharing

  • mary

    1 year ago

    the food is amazing. I love irio, matoke, mutura and masala chips.
    the chips mayai is new to me am eager to try it.
    thanks for sharing

  • COLLINS wesonga

    1 year ago

    Your comment:I am really greatful to visit this site, I have really learnt a lot from you guys about the food that are cooked in Kenya some of which I normally interact with.Some food like wali wa mnazi I think I need to taste them when I will be visiting the coast next month.

    • Mark Wiens

      1 year ago

      Hey Collins, thank you very much, great to hear you’ll be visiting the coast soon.

  • Rose Isabella

    1 year ago

    Love this! Have just come back to Australia from Kenya and am planning on doing a Kenyan dinner party to raise some money for a project I started over there! Can’t wait to use some of these recipes πŸ™‚

  • John

    1 year ago

    You greatly did a great research on Kenyan food. They all are nice, am in Kenya and am glad that have known some funny delicacies in the coast. Thanks

  • Stella

    1 year ago

    what about recipes?

  • Tamara Buirley

    1 year ago

    My daughter is doing a Cultural Festival for her school. We picked Kenya could you send me a few recipes that children would enjoy. It all looks very good. Kenyan stew, sukuma wiki, Mandazi, chapati, Ugali
    Thank

  • George Njoroge

    1 year ago

    Wonderful ,tasty food

    • enny msanii

      1 year ago

      thanks mark for appriciating kenyan foods kenyans like soups from fromcows feet

  • Annette

    1 year ago

    Loved your take on our kenyan dishes….excited too that you enjoyed the food!

  • Kieron

    1 year ago

    John Cena likes this website

  • Kieron

    1 year ago

    I like this website

  • Tammy

    1 year ago

    I love this site and it all looks good, I would love to try them all but the sausage

  • VENESSA

    1 year ago

    am from kenya….i love our food πŸ™‚

  • Charles

    2 years ago

    Great idea. But some photos are poorly done. One includes a half eaten meal, and so not too delectable.

  • Sheri

    2 years ago

    Love this page. I have a new daughter-in-law from Kenya. She will live here in America and can hopefully take my son to Nairobi to meet her family. But she has cooked a few Kenyan foods and our family has loved them. Such a mix of cultures happening now. Love it!

  • Rob Keane

    2 years ago

    Remind me how nuitritional yet simple Kenyan is

  • Rob Keane

    2 years ago

    Reminded me o the simple nutrional food of Kenya

  • Mikes Kocholla

    2 years ago

    Thanks for this information about our indigenous food recipes in Kenya.

    • Mark Wiens

      2 years ago

      Hey Mikes, you’re welcome, thank you for reading!

  • carmella

    2 years ago

    Hi, maybe you can help me find a Kenyan recipe I lost! 25 years a go I found a recipe for my son to use in his project that featured Kenya. I found it online, made it once and never found the recipe again…anywhere….

    It was a crock pot stew like affair that maybe included chicken. But it was the sauce that was so new to me! At the time, I had not tasted curry, but now I think it might have been a coconut type of curry~ Here are some of the ingredients I do remember: Coconu t milk, cardamon, maybe cumin?, Anyway, now I see how dismal this might be…if you have a recipe for some type of coconut curry, please send me your link.

    • Suzzy

      2 years ago

      Hi Mark, am with Mwaura on this, am a Kenyan and i can say you have described the foods so well. You should consider writing it on a book, i know i would buy it. Good job

      • Mark Wiens

        2 years ago

        Thank you very much Suzzy, really appreciate it!

  • veronica

    2 years ago

    Would like to learn more about kenyan dishes

  • sharronanyango

    2 years ago

    Your comment: am a kenyan and my favourites are fish cooked Kisumu style and Managu – some traditional meal fermented with milk fat… the list is endless

  • mohamed moussaid

    2 years ago

    Bonjour,nous une societe marocain revendeur divers produit ,fruit,legum,huil argan,sauce tomat,conserves….

  • WALID

    2 years ago

    Top 20 indeed. really great! I even want some MUTURA right away!

  • Tunde Ennis

    2 years ago

    What a good food indeed with all it comprise. My visiting to KENYA I will make sure I taste half of d food before departure especially Irio,spice rice and chapati. Thanks for the details of your research.

  • Tunde Ennis

    2 years ago

    What a good food indeed with all it comprise. My visiting to KENYA I will make sure I taste half of d food before departure. Thanks for the details of your research.

  • mary maina

    2 years ago

    i love kenyan food i don’t think i can do with any food from else where ,if given a chance to choose for me its impossible to tell

  • Mwaura Mbuthia

    2 years ago

    Nice. Is there a book?

  • Brenda Andagalu

    2 years ago

    Your comment:I love your work you people

  • Brenda Andagalu

    2 years ago

    Your comment:I love it. can you call me you teach me.

  • Jamie

    2 years ago

    Have been going to Kenya for last couple of years, my favourite meal is Nyama Choma, Chapatti, Kaschunbari (with which I love to chop up and add a bit of dhania), and a small sweet pea which I don’t know the name of and am gutted about as want to make my own…

    • Mark Wiens

      2 years ago

      Hey Jamie, glad you enjoy visiting Kenya and that you love nyama choma too. Do you know how the sweet peas were prepared or served, or do you happen to have a photo?

      • Jamie

        2 years ago

        I have just found out the bean is dengu or mung bean, just worked so well with the other flavours, now to try making my own…

  • Caroline Achieng Otieno

    2 years ago

    Cool! Really mouthwatering just looking at the pictures and missing my country!!

  • sandy

    2 years ago

    One of my best friends is from Honduras, and my new daughter-in-law, is from Kenya. A lot of basic dishes are very similar!

    • Mark Wiens

      2 years ago

      Hey Sandy, great to hear from you, I’d love to try some dishes from Honduras as well.

  • Njoki

    2 years ago

    Thank you thank you thank you. I am a Kenyan living in US and my mouth just watered just looking at the pictures. I was looking for something to cook for some American friends coming to visit me. This is nice. The pictures are great. I know what to cook now. I couldn’t decide but the pictures gave me an answer.

    • Mark Wiens

      2 years ago

      Hey Njoki, great to hear from you, glad this post about Kenyan food has given you some ideas about what to cook. Hope you have fun and enjoy!

  • Mtotoo

    3 years ago

    we cant forget Omena little fish also called Kisumu boys i made fish croquette with them and they turned out fine, okra (murenda cooked with dried mushroom and milk) from the western side very satisfying with Ugali. and the Rumba music as it plays when you are eating that Nyam Chom in a restaurant. and you start to shaky leggy.

    • Mark Wiens

      3 years ago

      Hey Mtotoo, thank you for sharing the dish, that sounds delicious. Hah!

      • Mtotoo

        3 years ago

        ohh yes Murenda is very good especially on rainy season, you will keep going till nothing is left on your plate. at home we mix with dry onion leaves n fresh garlic.. I am in UAE and the Mediterranean cuisine is really good to. original meals with very simple recipes.

        • Mtotoo

          3 years ago

          here in UAE there is an amazing meal they roast a whole camel stuffed with a whole lamp, like 15 whole chicken, fish, eggs.

          • Mark Wiens

            3 years ago

            That’s amazing, would love to try it, thanks for sharing!

        • Mark Wiens

          3 years ago

          Hey Mtotoo, thank you very much for sharing, that sounds great with dry onion leaves and garlic.

  • Todd Burress

    3 years ago

    Hey do you know how many servings the Githeri makes? I need to know in the next 30 min.

  • Todd Burress

    3 years ago

    P.S im doing the Githeri
    THANKS πŸ™‚

  • Todd Burress

    3 years ago

    Thanks know i can have a
    food to do 4 my coultural food fair
    πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  • Christine Njeru

    3 years ago

    Absolutely fantastic, you forgot viazi karai with the ukwaju (tamarind) sauce, different varieties of fish, kuku kienyeji.

  • Kenyan

    3 years ago

    I’m a Kenyan, and your list of foods is very good.
    It makes me miss Kenya so much! Thank you for posting this!

    • Mark Wiens

      3 years ago

      You’re welcome, thank you for reading this article!

  • Laura P

    3 years ago

    I love your website! I am a newer blogger. I explore the world one suitcase at a time to teach kids & parents about world geography & culture. I am coming up on Kenya & found your blog while looking for recipes! So glad I found you!

    • Mark Wiens

      3 years ago

      Hi Laura, great to hear from you, thank you for reading, and glad that you’re blogging as well. Great blog, keep it up.

  • Collins Orlando

    3 years ago

    Awesome list !! As a Kenyan who’s been out of the country for the better part of the last seven years, I have to say that I’ve missed most of the dishes on the list. Good job Mark for this great article.

  • MaryStella

    3 years ago

    I love Chapati maharagwe ya Nazi (coconut sauce) dubbed mandondo at the Coast

  • Kaushik Joshi

    3 years ago

    I am pure vegetarian indian. I will be in mombasa shortly for more than a year. Will I get there pure vegetarian dishes or will I get veg raw-materials so that I can cook something for me? How is food there? Cheaper, reasonable or costly?

    • annah

      3 years ago

      kaushik yeah ..i promise you will enjoy alot infact Kenyans we are vegetarian …the food is cheap and affordable …you are much welcome.

    • Mark Wiens

      3 years ago

      Hi Kaushik, thank you for reading, good to hear you’ll be moving to Mombasa soon. I honestly don’t have much experience in Mombasa, it’s been a very long time since I’ve been there. Food is great, with a mixture of local, Middle Eastern, and Indian dishes available, and prices are affordable – though maybe not as cheap as in India. All the best.

  • Kaili

    3 years ago

    Ahhh I love all this food and miss it all massivley. Kenya sure does have some great food. Nyama Choma is a fav with sukuma and chapati!

    • Mark Wiens

      3 years ago

      Thank you Kaili, glad to hear you love Kenyan food too!

  • NASH

    3 years ago

    GREAT COMBINATION BRO…..

  • annah

    3 years ago

    yes #mark congrats to your blog and keep it up

  • Naomi

    3 years ago

    Hey Mark,

    Great blog. I have spent the last few hours reading about your food adventures (though I initially came here to learn more about living in Bangkok :). I love food and I love Kenyan food a lot, especially Ugali taken with spicy beef stew and kale. Your pictures are tantalizing to say the least….I long for a spicy mutura right now. Thank you Mark.

    • Mark Wiens

      3 years ago

      Hello Naomi, thank you very much for reading my blog, and for your kind comment. Are you originally from Kenya? Now moving to Bangkok?

  • annah

    3 years ago

    i like this i wish i could pass mukimo to those who love it….but you left out njahi (smashed matoke with njahi ) and meat …they are so sweet..

    • Mark Wiens

      3 years ago

      Hey Annah, thank you for sharing, and for the extra input. Will have to update this list with more dishes.

  • Mzee Kidefu

    3 years ago

    Ahhhh, Chapatti, Niama Choma, where are the wonderful Kenyan sausages? the best in the world. haha, how about Mukati with blueband for breakfast? huh, the poor man’s food. I loved Ugali and Matoke. No one makes them in the US. Where African food goes its all Ethiopian here in the west coast of Americano. Tusker Moto.

    • Mark Wiens

      3 years ago

      Haha, good to hear from you Mzee Kidefu, glad you love all these wonderful Kenyan foods as well. I’ll take a Tusker moto too!

  • gathoni

    3 years ago

    Thanks for this positive description of kenyan food. iam m always amazed when westerners (see Debbie here) appproach african foods expecting to be underwhelmed. We love our food despite lifetimes of negative stereotypes.

    • Mark Wiens

      3 years ago

      Hey Gathoni, you’re welcome, thank you for reading. I’m a huge fan of Kenyan food!

  • Anderson kongoda

    4 years ago

    Hey, if anyone wants someone to cook these foods let me know. I’m from Kenya my current location is Atlanta. Thanks

  • rosie

    4 years ago

    You forgot the Tilapia from Lake Victoria either dry fried or with a variety of sauces including coconut or tomato with traditional herbs!

  • SHAY LIZ CAROL

    4 years ago

    I love the nyamachoma in Kenya. having lived and grown there, I must say our food is esquisite! i do love Ugandan matoke and Tanzanian dishes too especially the kitumbua. but KENYA is unique in its own way. UGALI+mbuzichoma+beer=AWESOME!!!!!

    • Mark Wiens

      4 years ago

      Hey Shay, great to hear from you, glad you love these awesome dishes too!

  • MalaysianinKenya

    4 years ago

    Not gonna lie, I find Kenyan and East African food in general to be EXTREMELY insipid. Any time grilled maize shows up on a top 20 list, you know you’re really stretching. Also never met any mzungu with a favorable opinion of ugali. Tasteless fluff. Difficult to handle when burning hot and fills you up way too quickly (which I guess is the point).

    The dishes from the Coast are more flavorful though. It seems the spices only made it that far inland. I live in a small town in Western Kenya and all I have for lunch everyday is boiled beans and sukuma with rice or chapo, which I douse in pili pili to add flavor. My Kenyan friends think I’m crazy. Anything fancier than beans and sukuma takes at least 2 hours to prepare. On the rare occasions that I do have meat, it’s usually stringy, hence I always insist on dry fry instead of stew or choma.

    If I could add anything to your list, it’d probably be:
    1) Mashed-up matoke. It looks and tastes like mashed potatoes. Just yellower.
    2) Fried tilapia from Lake Victoria.
    3) Garlic chips.
    4) Brown chapati. Also, brown ugali >>>>> white ugali but that’s not saying much.
    5) Seafood from the Coast
    6) Rolex. Technically, this is Ugandan. But then I feel chips mayai is more Tz than Kenyan. I had chips mayai almost daily when I lived in Tz. I’ve only seen chips mayai once in the 2 years I’ve been in Kenya. Where do you get it from? Anyways, chapo + nutella + banana = WIN. Or chapo + avocado + chips + vegetables. Kenya really must get more creative with their chapos.

    • Mark Wiens

      4 years ago

      Hey, ok if you’re coming from Malaysia, one of the best countries in the world for food, East African food is definitely plain and more of a filling cuisine. I do like ugali (not better than rice), but I grew up eating it quite a bit.

      Yes, coast dishes are great, and the curries and seafood can be really nice. I’m in Zanzibar now and have had some great food so far. I’ve never had a Rolex, I’ll have to look for that!

  • Erica

    4 years ago

    Thank you for this! My husband is from Kenya and his siblings are coming in to surprise him for his 40th birthday. I will definitely be making some of these dishes! I know samosas originates in India, but our family loves them and could eat them everyday!

  • MM

    4 years ago

    Na Mbazi Je? Ina kwenda vizuri sana pamoja na mandazi!!!
    Hata mabuyu, achari, bungo, madafu hiyiko kwenye listi hiyo

  • Peninah

    4 years ago

    What a great website! Please list some more dishes πŸ™‚

    – Kenyan girl in Scandenavia

  • Jacque

    4 years ago

    Hi Mark,

    I was searching for the ‘nyama fry’ recipe and came across your blog – it’s awesome and takes me down memory lane… πŸ™‚

    You have certainly covered lots of the Kenyan favourites but i also recall some dishes that mom used to whip… probably for a quick meal to feed fussy kids! We still enjoy these dishes to date!

    Maziwa mala (sweetened natural yoghurt) with ugali, matumbo with ugali or mashed matoke and fried rice – Kenyan style ( usually rice cooked together with vegies, brought to a boil and cooked till all the water is evaporated)…I guess all the foods are all so yummy and the list would be endless.

    Thankx for sharing! πŸ™‚

    • Mark Wiens

      4 years ago

      Hey Jacque, glad you enjoyed it, thanks for taking a look! Yes, I’m a big fan of the Kenyan yoghurt as well. Indeed so many good tasting things!

  • Benta Chilala

    5 years ago

    I am so proud to be Kenyan!!!Just wanted to refresh my mind on Kenyan dishes.All be making them soon!!!

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      Hey Benta, Kenya is an incredible nation, with lots of great food! Enjoy the cooking!

  • Caleb

    5 years ago

    I am from Kenya and my favorite is Nyama Choma it is Soooo good. If you ever go to Kenya you have to bring this list and go for all that food. Just looking at it makes me hungry i’m going to eat some Samosas.

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      Hey Caleb, thank you for reading and leaving a comment, and great to hear you also love nyama choma!

  • gitts

    5 years ago

    chapati with anything does it for me!
    on Burgers Barney’s in Nanyuki has the best bacon cheeseburger …

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      Hey Gitts, thanks for sharing. Will have to check out that burger you mentioned if I make it to Nanyuki!

  • Winnie

    5 years ago

    I am a fun of nyama choma any time of day. Plus wali is the best,

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      Hey Winnie, great to hear you love nyama choma too!

      • Maria M

        5 years ago

        Hi Mark, Good to hear you like Kenyan food and mostly the mbuzi choma, next time you happen to be in Kenya, come for one goat free from my farm, God bless you.

        • Mark Wiens

          5 years ago

          Hey Maria, amazing, thank you very very much, I will have to take you up on your offer in the future! Thank you again!

  • shujah

    5 years ago

    Viazi is missing!

  • Jecinter

    6 years ago

    I love our kenyan foods and yeah Mark I love the way you even know the swahili and you really make my day when I look at all the places you’ve been. Good work brother.!!God Bless you. my best food is Porini chicken and sima. next time you should come to boko boko farm in porini in mombasa about 25km from the town, place called Kikambala. and you will Enjoy our food.

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Asante Jecinter! I appreciate the support and also for the recommendation for Mombasa food. I’m in Thailand right now, and trying to locate some mbuzi choma!

      • sarah

        2 years ago

        waah. this makes me miss home even more.miss u Kenya

  • Ron

    6 years ago

    it’s 2 in the morning and this post made me so hungry.
    i know india and kenya shared trades in the last centuries, but I was actually surprised to see a lot of indian influence in the cuisine even u to now.

    now im excited to go to nairobi!

  • Christy @ Technosyncratic

    6 years ago

    That burger is freaking huge! And the grilled maize looks like something I would eat all the time. Love your food posts, Mark! πŸ™‚

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Thanks Christy! Maize on the streets of Nairobi makes for a great filling snack!

  • Joram

    6 years ago

    wa… markus, i had even forgooten about roast maize..mahindi choma! u guy have to update and show how we use the sliced lemon to dip it into chili powder and apply gently on the maize!

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      You guy, the mahindi choma bwana and that chili salt is the best guy!

  • jade

    6 years ago

    That coconut rice sounds pretty delicious!

  • Steph

    6 years ago

    Wow, that burger is out of control! I have to say my tastebuds probably aren’t Kenyan, although the stew looks delicious and a few other things sound good – the tea, definitely. Nice post. Loved the photos!

  • The Travel Chica

    6 years ago

    I didn’t know anything about Kenyan food before. But I can tell you I definitely wouldn’t starve in that country. It all looks delicious!

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Great! Even though a lot of the food is meant to be very filling, some Kenyan dishes are really tasty!

  • robin

    6 years ago

    My God this brings back some memories – matoke was a favourite of mine. You left maharagwe out!!!!

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      There’s nothing like some Kenyan comfort food. Right about the maharagwe Robin, that’s a good one I should have included!

    • Leonard Otieno

      1 year ago

      Welcome in Kenya for our Nutritious meals

  • The Dropout

    6 years ago

    Yum-o-rama!
    I know if I stick with you, Mark, I will never starve, no matter where in the world I am!

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Thanks – I try to really enjoy food everywhere I go!

  • Mary

    6 years ago

    There is nothing better then a cup of chai! However, the chai I had while I was in Kenya was different from the recipe you stated. The chai I drank had cinnamon, cardamom, and maybe even some black pepper. It was so tasty.

    Great list. There are many items on it that I haven’t tried!

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Hey, thanks so much for the comment Mary,
      Sounds like what you are describing is masala chai. It’s the same tea and milk mixed with a spice masala blend. The extra spice (instead of just sweet) is really good – I agree with you!

    • pearl nyamdin

      1 year ago

      You missed the cabbage dishes.. Potatoes.. Of you do get some pls post. Thank you kindly.

  • Christy @ Ordinary Traveler

    6 years ago

    All of these dishes sound really interesting. I especially like the Plantain Banana Stew.

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Back when I lived in Kenya, the plantain stew was one of my favorite dishes!

  • Dean

    6 years ago

    I am drooling. It all looks delicious and I just love trying new foods!

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Awesome Dean, I’m with you and trying new foods – one of my all-time favorite things to do!

  • Debbie Beardsley @ European Travelista

    6 years ago

    I don’t know why but I was expecting to not really be interested in many of the foods on your list. Surprisingly almost all looked great! I love polenta and cornbread but the Ugali seems a bit dry. Both french fry dishes sound amazing. Great list, thanks for sharing.

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Great Debbie, glad you enjoyed it!
      You are right about ugali, it is a bit dry, but it does go will with soupy stew and vegetables. The main thing about it that it is very filling!

      • Max Haller

        6 years ago

        You are right Mark Ugali is very filling but I loved. I was in 1990 for nearly a year in Kenya and travelled around but the food is just stunning if like the way they cooked.And especially when you are in the Rural areas.When you go to the Shebines and eat that lovley freshly grilled meat with a Taska Beer.

        • Mark Wiens

          6 years ago

          Thanks Max!
          That flavor of roasted goat and kachumbari combined with Kenyan beer is one of the greatest!

          • Eric

            4 years ago

            Thx for posting this Mr.Wiens it really helped with my project now I can’t wait to make the masala chips!

          • Mark Wiens

            3 years ago

            Cool Eric, glad to help!

      • Elizabeth

        5 years ago

        Mark, those are great foods, Ugali may be dry but it goes so well with Sukuma or meat-stwe or the roasted meat with kachumbari ,,,u know they ryme, i miss roasted maize and they are everywhere on kenya roads as well as roasted Fish, ever came across that?

        • Mark Wiens

          5 years ago

          Hey Elizabeth, thank you so much for checking this article out and for the comment. I agree, ugali goes so well with meat and stew and sukuma! I haven’t seen fish too often in Nairobi, but really enjoy roasted fish on the coast. I miss maize too! Are you living in Nairobi now?

          • dorine okoth

            4 years ago

            right now there is a lot of fish in Nairobi…by the way i liked the article so much…great foods. πŸ™‚

          • Mark Wiens

            4 years ago

            Hey Dorine, ok, great to hear that, I love fish!

      • Helena

        2 years ago

        Are you sure that chapati, mandazi, pilau, chips mayai (zege), kachumbari and wali wa nazi are Kenyan authentic dishes? Those are Tanzanian dishes Mr Mark Wiens. It just so happens that Tanzanians do not advertise their culture and food so much. and that Matooke you just mentioned belongs to Uganda dear. Make your facts straight next time. Kila la kheri.

        • sarah

          2 years ago

          Helen those are Kenyan food.maybe u have never been to Kenya or let’s call it a coincidence. all facts here are straight no ne can convince me otherwise

        • ann

          2 years ago

          helena the fact is there, they are Kenyan foods it’s just because there are coincidence of cultures in this world. ..find more information about Kenyan foods.

        • Samir

          2 years ago

          Tens of thousands of Indians ended up in East Africa more than a century ago, as traders, and to work for the Kenya-Uganda railway. Their foods—chapati, pilau, kachumbri, samosa—became local staples in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, etc.

          • ann

            2 years ago

            you just said it right samir we adopted that from Indians long time ago.

        • samuel

          2 years ago

          Am just laughing at you. It’s like saying the Maasai, Waswahili, Waisilamu, the wild-beasts migration belong to Tanzania. Update your Geography. Next time you will say the moon belongs to you haha!

        • gikera

          1 year ago

          The facts are right!!

        • Daniel Barrack

          11 months ago

          My friend get the facts right,these are Kenyan foods whether you like it or not.By the way these are swahili dishes and K
          Kenyan swahili ppl are more famous than Tanzanian’s.Let Tanzania continue to sleep.

        • Wangari

          10 months ago

          Those are political boundaries created a few years ago. The cultures transcend those boundaries hence u r right in a way matoke is from Uganda but found in Kenya too. Pilau is found in Tanzania and Kenya

    • Leonard Otieno

      1 year ago

      Welcome in Kenya for our Nutritious meals

      • njoki ndungu

        4 months ago

        kenyan food is delicious karibu kenya (welcome to kenya)