Nyama Choma: Roasted Meat- What Could Be Better?

By Mark Wiens 3 Comments

What is Nyama Choma?

Nyama means meat, and Choma means roasted or grilled. Its not overly complicated, nyama choma simply means roasted meat, but what wonderful roasted meat it is!

In East Africa, goat is the most common form of nyama choma, but beef and some forms of game meat can also be considered nyama choma.  That being said, goat is by far the most popular and the most common.


Method of Ordering and Eating

At most places there will be a small shed butchery where a varying array of carcasses will be hanging in a window, hopefully freshly butchered that morning (but if not, its never stopped me from ordering) .  The most common method is to enter the shed and choose your cut.  You will then sit in the plastic chairs provided, socializing with others as you wait for your meat to grill.

Five minutes prior to eating, someone will come around with pitcher of water, that is somewhat soapy at best, and pour water over your hands to de-germ.

The meat will arrive in front of you on a board and the butcher or grill man himself will bring it out with a knife and cut it into bite size chunks in front of you.  There should be a pile of salt and pili pili (chili) on two corners of the board.

Grab a chunk of meat, or sometimes chunk of fat, quickly coat it in salt, maybe a piece of pili pili, and insert it into your mouth.  Chew until you are sure you can swallow, and wash it down with your particular drink, be it soda, juice, or beer.


East Africa

The more you hang around East Africa, the more, nyama choma joints will entyce you.  From Jambo Grill, to Uncle Nice, to Garage, to Roasters, there is no short supply of nyama choma eateries to satisfy a person in need of some meaty protein.   Don’t ever be afraid to walk into a nyama choma joint to order what you are craving.

Mark Wiens


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  • Maria Martinez

    3 years ago

    Thanks for letting us know about a fantastic recipe. I worked on it, grilled version, and it tastes very good..