East African food has had a lot of outside influences from the days of missionaries to the Arab slave traders and now, even more, with different cultures settling in the region. Indigenous Kenyan cultures have, over centuries, merged these outside influences with their authentic cooking methods to create interesting cuisines. Here are several regions to visit for the delectable treats that are unique as they are delicious.
Boutique Hotel Restaurant, Food Kiosk, Food Stall, African, $$$
Mombasa is synonymous with luxury holiday resorts
, pristine beaches, and clear turquoise water, making it a mix of the diverse cultures of holidaymakers. This has deeply influenced the food offerings in the areas which already had a distinct Arabic flair. Arab traders came into the port city via the Indian ocean in the 14th
century and mingled with the locals, influencing their cuisine, religion, and way of life. Local Swahili cuisine
is mildly spicy with a lot of coconut infusions for flavoring. The street food in Mombasa includes mbaazi ya nazi
(pigeon peas with coconut), mahamri
(African donuts), samosa
(a fried dish with a savory filling), mshikaki
and the strong kahawa chungu
(bitter and spiced coffee brewed in brass kettles). Seafood is also a huge part of the cuisine at the coast, with daily fresh catches from the Indian Ocean readily available. Be sure to try the succulent Achari
, a favored snack which is made from dried mango.
Bistro, Cafe, Gastropub, African, Irish, Indian, $$$
This is a vibrant town found in the Great Rift Valley. It is home to the Kalenjin community, whose cuisine is dairy- and plant-based. The region is well known for its impressive dairy farms, so milk is an integral part of their cuisine. The local delicacy is known as mursik
. It is a mix of fermented milk and fresh blood from a goat or cow. In fact, when welcoming visitors, it is the one drink that will be served without fail. It is also served to famous Kenyan runners from the region when they return home laden with medals. The milk is placed in a gourd known as a sotet
and infused with soot from selected trees. In order to ensure the milk doesn’t acquire the bitter taste of the gourd, cow urine is poured into it and left for several days to cure it. For a more cosmopolitan dining experience, visit the Well Irish Pub
and Restaurant for steak in whiskey sauce or sample some Indian cuisine at Sunjeel Palace.
Boutique Hotel Restaurant, Food Kiosk, African, Indian, $$$