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.
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.
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 (beef skewers), 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.
The lakeside city of Kisumu is situated near the shores of fish-rich Lake Victoria. As such, the city has become synonymous with some of the freshest fish enjoyed by visitors and locals.
There are food vendors with small kiosks along the shores who prepare the fresh catch and serve it with Ugali (the local cornmeal staple). The area is known as Tilapia beach. Popular fish from the lake include Tilapia, Nile Perch, and Sardines. The street food scene in Kisumu offers you deep fried pieces of Tilapia and Nile Perch that you eat with salt and pepper. You can enjoy more fish at formal eateries, like The Laughing Buddha, which give an Indian twist to the fish dishes.
As the capital city of Kenya, there are a lot of influences to the fare served in the city. From Indian and Thai cuisine to Italian, Brazilian, and Chinese, there is nothing that you will not find in the city.
When it comes to Kenyan cuisine, the city has lots of restaurants to cater for all tastes. Amaicaoffers delectable delights from western Kenya, while Kosewe offers people from the lakeside a taste of authentic Lake Victoria fish cooked just like home.
Coffee houses with the best brew dot the entire city, allowing you to enjoy the coffee culture that is developing in the city after decades of tea drinking. Fine dining spots in the city are quite numerous and they offer everything you could ever fancy
Garissa is home to the Kenyan Somali community and representative of the Northern part of Kenya. Their food is savory and cardamom is the predominant spice in most of their dishes.
There are very evident Italian, Turkish, and Ethiopian influences in their cuisine. From tasty samosas, triangle-shaped pastries filled with meat or vegetables, to Iskudheh Karis, a dish of rice and meat that is peppered with coriander, garlic, and peppers, among other spices, Somali food is clearly comfort food. For those with a sweet tooth, there is xalwo, a soft but thick confection made from butter, cornstarch, and, you guessed it, cardamom! It can be enjoyed on its own or eaten alongside a cup of tea.