The Best Kenyan Street Food to try
Sitting along the coast of the Indian Ocean is this beautiful country with charming people. Kenya is made up of different cultures and pure natural beauty.
There are several national parks and marine reserves to explore, the closest being a national park in the capital city of Nairobi.
Kenya boasts of some of the most memorable gastronomy experience in the region, thanks to the blended cultures in the country.
The nightlife scene in Kenya comes alive every night of the week. It does not matter which city you are in, Nairobi, Mombasa, Eldoret or Kisumu.
The streets are always lined with men and women in their white aprons and hats busy on their grills. They are mostly found outside night clubs.
The food here is rich and leaves you wanting more. There are beautiful stories behind each delicacy that makes it a memorable experience.
Here are the best Kenyan street foods to try.
One of the delicacies you will find on the streets is Mishikakis. These are skewered meat with vegetables. They vary from beef, mutton and goat meat.
If you prefer spiced meat only, you will find it too. The vendors marinate the meat beforehand and by the time they go on the grill then into your mouth, it nothing short of juicy flavours and tenderness.
Th Mishikakis are served with Kachumbari (a salad made of tomatoes, onions, cilantro, a squeeze of lemon juice and chillies) and baked potatoes.
Not only are they delicious but also affordable, they range between $1-$1.50.
2. Smokie Pasua and boiled Eggs
Smokies are also known as smoked sausage. They are popular street food in Kenya and will always be sold alongside boiled eggs.
The smokies and eggs are always served with kachumbari.
Smokie pasua is to simply split the smokie in half and fill it with kachumbari and any other preferred sauces. The same is done to the egg.
Some vendors sell hotdog bonoko (not the real hotdog). They put the smokies in the bun then add kachumbari and different sauces.
One thing to remember is that you can always choose how hot/spicy you want your smokie or egg to be. The vendors usually have kachumbari without chillies.
One thing that is certain is that one is never enough.
3. Mutura (Kenyan traditional sausage)
Undoubtedly this is one of the most popular Kenyan street foods. The beauty of this is that there are varied ways of preparing them.
There are those that are filled with blood, others have minced meat in them. The fillings are always mixed with chillies then stuffed into clean tripe from a cow or sheep.
This delicacy is usually sold in the evening and most of the vendors do it on the roadside. They are normally sliced into small bite sizes on a chopping board.
Butcheries also sell them outside their stores. One accompaniment for this delicacy is bone soup. It is usually served hot in metal cups. You can add salt or chillies to your liking.
Kachumbari is the staple salad that goes well with mutura. You can get to enjoy this street food for as low as Ksh. 20 ($0.18).
4. Cassava crisps and roasted Cassava
When you travel to the coastal region of Kenya, this street food alongside the above is popular.
Most of the vendors sell them from their charcoal grills on the street. The cassava chips are freshly sliced and deep-fried as you wait.
They are usually served in packets and you can add a sprinkle of chilli flakes and a squeeze of lemon.
The roasted cassava on the other hand is sold depending on the size you want. It is then split and sprinkled with chilli flakes and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
The hotness of the chillies and tanginess of the lemon brings out a burst of flavour as you bite into the flaky cassava.
You may also find roasted sweet potatoes and arrowroots sold alongside the cassava.
5. Mahamri and Mbaazi
Mahamri is both a street snack and a favourite Swahili breakfast. This is available in the coastal cities in Kenya.
Mahamri is doughnuts made from wheat flour, yeast, cardamom, and coconut milk. They are usually hollow, unlike Maandazis which are fleshy. they are always cut into small triangle-like shapes and deep-fried.
The hollowness of the Mahamri is perfect for stuffing it with mbaazi. Mbaazi is pigeon peas cooked in coconut milk.
These two are usually served together with extra coconut milk poured on the mbaazi.
How to eat is, you tear the mahamri and scoop the mbaazi then wash it down with masala tea (spicey tea).
6. Bhajia and Chips Masala
Bhajias and chips masala are popular street foods made from potatoes. The Bhajias are thinly sliced potatoes dipped in a batter made of chickpea flour and different spices.
They are then deep-fried until its crispy on the outside but soft on the inside and served hot with a side of kachumbari.
This snack is loved by both the young and old. Its origin is from the Indian migrants who helped build the Kenya Uganda railway.
The chips masala is deep-fried French fries that are then fried in spices like garam masala, cumin and paprika. The result is a reddish coated delicious meal of simple potatoes.
7. Viazi Karai
Viazi karai is simply potato wedges coated in a batter made of wheat flour and spices like turmeric and black pepper. Once evenly coated, they are deep-fried in hot oil until golden brown.
It is usually crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. Viazi karai potatoes are typically served with tamarind chutney on the side.
8. Chapo Madondo (flat bread and beans)
The Chapati is a form of roti. This delicacy was introduced into the Kenyan food scene by Indian immigrants.
It is now a popular street food in Kenya and is usually served for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
One popular combo is having chapati with madondo (bean stew). Other stews that are served with chapati include ndengu (mung beans), beef stew or chicken stew.
There are different ways of enjoying this meal, you can either have your chapatis cut into pieces then mix it up with the stew alternatively, roll it up and bite with each scoop of stew.
9. Kuku and Nyama Choma
Nyama Choma is Kenya’s unofficial national dish. It is simply roasted beef, mutton, goat or chicken.
You can find these outside butcheries and in restaurants too. It is usually served with ugali, chips, sauteed green vegetables and a side of kachumbari.
Roasted chicken and it’s best enjoyed with fries or ugali too.
Samosas are a favourite breakfast dish and a snack for many Kenyans. They are also abundantly found in food stalls in every city in Kenya.
There are meat and vegetable samosas, so if you are vegan you do not have to worry about missing out.
They are usually served with kachumbari too and drizzled with fresh lemon juice. You can have them with chips or just as they are. It is usually love at first bite for the samosas.