It was lunch time, I was hungry, and I wasn’t going to settle for a deep fried withered up piece of soggy chicken and chips. Walking around Adam’s Arcade, an original shopping center in Nairobi, Kenya, I eyed a number of taxi drivers and a fruit vendor, sitting on the curb chowing down on the exact plate of food I wanted.
I approached the joyfully eating cab driver who looked up with surprise when I asked him where to follow in his footsteps. He smiled and said, “she will come, she is just here, the mama who makes the food comes around and takes the order (this could mean almost anything in Africa).”
I must have looked a little forlorn as I aimlessly waited for the mama to come, because moments later the taxi driver, put his plate on his seat and said, “come!”
He lead me past a couple of dukas (street convenience stores), around a corner, and there in the dirt, on the side of the chain link fence was exactly what I was looking for!
Her restaurant was small, a humble assortment of dishes wrapped in plastic bags and plastic containers and carried in baskets to the side of the street, just off Ngong Road, Nairobi.
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I greeted the mama with enthusiasm.
I’ve eaten my share of ugali (Kenyan staple of cornmeal mixed into a mush) throughout my years living in East Africa, and given a choice between rice, the Asian in me usually goes with rice.
Margaret told me the dishes of the day to which I ordered the combo plate. Rice, beans mixed with kernels of corn, sukuma wiki (green veg), cabbage with potatoes, and a little bit of grizzly beef stew for flavor. Local Nairobi food is not exactly known for being the tastiest, though if it is cooked well, without too much oil, it can be delicious.
The dishes are cooked simple, a little bit of oil, some tomatoes and onions, salt and pepper, and a hint of mchuzi mix (Kenyan secret to delicious food) for seasoning!
I began to consume my lunch, sitting on a old car tire and enjoying every bite. The food was lukewarm, yet it was cooked by Margaret with her own hands as a humble business to provide for her family. The food was delicious.
Price: 80 KSH (about 1 USD)
Where to Eat this Lunch (she should be here, but there’s no way to be certain)
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