Wednesday, February 28


I thought I would say a few words about the food here, for those interested. There are basically two broad categories of food available: local and gringo.

Kenya's national dish is probably nyama choma, or roast meat - often goat - served with a starch and greens. Starch can be a blob of ugali (cornmeal), rice, or chapati, I assume from the large Indian presence. Greens are usually spinach or cabbage. Beef stew and chicken stew are other favorites for the meat dish. And as for vegetarian options, there's beans. Almost as popular, at least in the cities, is chicken and chips, served with tomato sauce (watery ketchup), hot sauce, and lots of salt. This food can be found in shacks of various shapes and sizes, as well as a few proper restaurants. I've yet to see another gringo when I've gone to a local place for lunch, but I'm sure there are from time to time. A full local meal in Nairobi will probably run you $1.50 - $2.

And then there's gringo food, for the expats and the Kenyans who can afford it, which is everything else, and which costs at least three times as much. The expats flock to Java House, which in addition to coffee, has clean and nonthreatening sandwiches, quiches, veggie burgers (not good) and even burritos. They're the plate kind, not the kind you can eat with your hands. And while a far cry from Los Altos Taqueria, they're not any worse than DC burritos. There's lots of good Indian food, lots of Chinese, Ethiopian, some Japanese, some Thai, and many more. Outside downtown, these restaurants usually come in spacious gated compound form. Between the overpriced Java House, and the highest-end places, you can get very good sit-down meals for significantly less than you'd pay in the US. My neighborhood probably has the highest concentration of gringo food in the city (probably in all of East Africa), though I usually cook my dinners in. All the malls also have food courts with burgers, pizza, Indian, Chinese, etc. But it's almost as expensive as the nicer places, so not really worth it. My mall also has gelato.

1 comment:

JF said...

In America, you can get ramen for 10 cents a pack, and tuna for 69 cents a pack. Add a slice of wonderbread to that, and I'd say our local cuisine is cheaper than the Kenyans'.