Kenyan food is a fusion of various cultures and traditions. The food is diverse in its taste and texture because Kenyans have always adapted their cooking to suit the environment they live in, the available ingredients, and cultural preferences.
Kenya is a beautiful country with its own culture and cuisine. From the spicy lentil stew called “Ng’ombe” to the traditional bean dish of “Majengo,” Kenya has so much to offer in terms of food.
Here are 25 culinary delights from Kenya that you should try for yourself! Who knows – after reading about these delicious foods, you might just want to pack your bags and head to Kenya for an amazing culinary adventure!
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- Food in Kenya
25 Kenyan Foods You Should Try
If you’re ever lucky enough to visit Kenya, here are 25 of the most delicious Kenyan foods that you should definitely try!
Many of these dishes can be found in restaurants and street stalls throughout the country, so they’re easy to sample no matter where you are.
Nyama Choma (Roasted Meat)
Nyama Choma is a dish of roasted meat in Kenya. It’s made from beef but can be lamb or goat depending on what’s available. The meat is served on a plate or in a bowl with Ugali and Mchicha, which are the staples of Kenyan cuisine.
Nyama Choma is considered a delicacy and is often eaten as a celebration dish. It’s also served in restaurants and can be consumed for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Nyama Choma is one of the most popular Kenyan foods around the world.
Kenyan Ugali (Cornmeal Staple)
Ugali is a staple food that is popular in Kenya. It is typically made with cornmeal flour, water, and salt.
Ugali is eaten at every meal throughout Kenya and is often dipped into stews or sauces. It is a great option for gluten-free diets.
Sometimes, it’s made with cassava flour or potatoes, which are both common substitutes in Kenya.
Irio (Mashed Peas and Potato Mix)
Irio is Kenyan comfort food made of mashed peas and potatoes. It is usually served with ugali (a cornmeal porridge) and kachumbari (a tomato-chopped salad) alongside meat or fish.
Irio has a similar dish found in the Caribbean cuisine, called Jamaican pea soup. Kenyan Irio is made with green peas while the Jamaican version is made with dried yellow split peas.
Kenyan Pilau (Spiced Rice)
Pilau dish in Kenya (Kenyan Spiced Rice) is rice cooked in flavorful spices with either chicken or beef. It’s usually served with a side of boiled vegetables.
Pilau is the perfect meal for any occasion. It’s known to be a very common dish among the Luo and Luhya tribes in Western Kenya, but it is becoming more popular in many other parts of the country.
Tinjiya (Maasai Barbeque)
Tinjiya is a dish made of barbequed meat that is popular among the Maasai tribe in Kenya.
The dish is typically made from mutton but can also be prepared using beef or goat meat and is flavored with a mixture of spices. The word “Tinjiya” comes from the Maasai language and means “a piece of meat.”
The Maasai use this dish as a delicacy and it is usually reserved for special occasions, such as a wedding or funeral.
Wali wa Nazi (Coconut Rice)
One of the most common dishes in Kenya is coconut rice. It is basically rice cooked in coconut milk and grated coconut.
It is normally served with fried fish, beef, or chicken. Wali wa Nazi means “to cook with coconut” in Swahili. The simple Kenyan dish is very delicious.
Kenyan Kachumbari (Tomatoes and Onions)
Kachumbari salad is found throughout East Africa and is especially popular in Kenya. The dish typically consists of diced tomatoes, onions, and chili peppers, sometimes with lime or lemon juice
It’s a popular side dish or appetizer. Kachumbari can also be made with diced cucumbers, green bell peppers, and fresh herbs.
Smokies (Kenyan stuffed sausage)
Smokies are one of the most popular and loved street food in Kenya.
Kenyan smokies are a simple dish made by frying the sausages and then filling them with Kachumbari salad and chili sauce. The smokies become soft and juicy from the Kachumbari salad.
The best smokies are found in Nyaru food center, a food court in Nairobi that has many different food stalls from all over Kenya.
Sukuma Wiki (Collard Greens / Kale)
Sukuma wiki is a popular Kenyan salad. It is made of collard greens or kale and can be served with meat or fish.
It is a great dish to include in your Kenyan culinary experience. It is healthy, nutritious, and delicious.
Some of the key ingredients include collard greens, kale, onion, tomatoes, garlic, oil, salt, and pepper.
Kenyan Meat Stew
One popular dish is Kenyan meat stew, which is a classic staple dish that can be found in many Kenyan homes.
The Kenyan meat stew is a hearty dish that is made with beef, lamb, or goat meat. The meat is cooked in a tomato-based sauce, which is flavored with Kenyan curry powder, a blend of spices that includes turmeric, coriander, cumin seeds, and cardamom pods.
This delicious dish is typically served with rice or Ugali, and can also be served with Kenyan chapatis (a type of flatbread).
If you’re looking for a hearty and flavorful Kenyan dish, be sure to give the Kenyan stew a try!
Kenyan Bajias are Kenyan savory snacks made with a dough of boiled, and mashed potatoes, with added flour and spices. The Bajias are deep-fried until crispy and served.
Kenyan Bajias are mostly served as side dishes to lunch and dinner meals in Kenya, but you can also find them sold on the streets by vendors who keep their wares warm inside old oil drums that have been converted into charcoal stoves.
If you’re looking for Kenyan food treats, Kenyan Bajias should be your first stop.
Kenyan Matoke (Unripe Banana Stew)
Bananas are a Kenyan staple food. They can be used to make many dishes, such as Kenyan matoke (banana stew). This Kenyan dish is made with unripe bananas, coconut milk, and spices.
Kenyan matoke (unripe banana stew) is usually served for lunch or dinner and it makes a great side dish to Kenyan pilau.
Matoke is also served with fried fish, beef, or chicken. If you are looking for a delicious Kenyan dish to try, be sure to make Kenyan matoke (unripe banana stew).
Kenyan Chapati (Flatbread)
Originated from the Chapati in India, the Kenyan-style Chapati (Flatbread) is a staple that you will find at every Kenyan meal.
Chapati bread is made with whole wheat flour, water, salt, and oil and then cooked on a pan or griddle.
Kenyan Chapati is usually thinner than the traditional Indian Chapati and is best served warm with many dishes. Kenyan Chapati can be eaten as-is or used to scoop up curries or stews.
One dish that is sure to tantalize your taste buds is Kenyan Masala Chips. This snack is made with a spicy masala sauce and chips/fries.
Sometimes dipping sauces are added but the dish can be enjoyed with or without the sauces.
Found in many African cuisines, the Indian Mandazi is a famous food in Kenya. The Kenyan version of Mandazi is very similar if not the same as the one found in the Tanzanian cuisine.
Mandazi is made of flour, sugar, yeast, milk, and a bit of oil. The dough is then deep-fried in cooking oil until golden brown.
Kenyan Mandazi is often served at breakfast or dinner but also makes a perfect snack to enjoy any time with a hot cup of tea.
Mutura (Kenyan Sausage)
The meaty Mutura is a type of Kenyan sausage. Mutura is prepared by stuffing goat intestines with a mixture of minced meat, and spices such as ginger, garlic, coriander, and Piri-Piri chilies.
Mutura is traditionally boiled and then grilled and when served Mutura sausage is always paired with Kenyan chapati.
Kenyan food is some of the best in the world, and their Indian-inspired samosas are no exception. These little pastries are made with a savory filling of potatoes, peas, and spices, all wrapped up in a crispy pastry shell. They’re the perfect snack or appetizer for any Kenyan meal, or just whenever you’re craving something delicious.
Kenyan Chai (Kenyan style tea)
Kenyan chai is a delicious and refreshing drink that is perfect for enjoying during the hot Kenyan summers.
The tea in Kenya is made with black tea, milk, water, and sugar. The tea is infused with lots of cardamom pods as well as some other spices that give it a unique flavor.
Kenyan chai is served in a very special way that you don’t see in many other countries around the world. Visit Kenya to see how they prepare and serve their tea. Plus, going on one of Kenya’s tea plantations tours is a must.
Kenyan Meat Soup
Kenyan meat soup is made from beef or chicken. The main ingredients are potatoes, tomatoes, onions, and spices. The Kenyan meat soup (Also Swahili meat soup) is a hearty and comforting soup that is perfect for cold winter days.
If you are looking for something new and exciting to try, the Kenyan soup Maji Moto might just be the answer. The Kenyan meat soup can be found in most Kenyan restaurants.
Maharawge (Spiced Coconut Bean Soup)
Maharawge is a Kenyan-style coconut bean soup that is often eaten with Ugali (Kenyan maize flour staple) and greens.
It’s made from dried beans that are boiled until soft, then simmered in a broth of coconut milk and spices. The soup is hearty, flavorful, and satisfying- perfect for a cold winter evening. It’s absolutely delicious.
Githeri (Kenyan Beans and Corn Stew)
Githeri is a traditional Kenyan bean and corn stew that is popular throughout the country.
The dish is made with dried beans and corn that are boiled together until soft. Then, a flavorful sauce is added to the stew with meat as an optional flavor.
Githeri is a popular Kenyan dish that can be found in restaurants and homes throughout the country. It is often eaten with Kenyan Ugali or Chapati.
This beans and corn dish is a traditional Kenyan food that has been eaten for many years, but the exact origin of this Kenyan food is unknown. According to Kenyan tradition, this dish was created by the Maasai tribe and has been eaten for thousands of years.
If you’re looking for a delicious Kenyan dish to add to your repertoire, look no further than tilapia fry. Tilapia is a light, flaky fish that’s perfect for frying. The Kenyan version of this dish is typically fried and served with Kachumbari salad, and Pilau, making it irresistible.
Mishkaki (Kenyan Meat Skewers)
Mishkaki is the Kenyan version of Kebab (skewered meat). It’s traditionally made of beef or lamb. Mishkaki is typically served with Kenyan Sukuma Wiki (collard greens) or pilau.
Mishkaki originated in Kenya’s Luo community but is now popular throughout the country. It’s a great dish to serve at parties or outdoor events!
Chips Mayai are originally a Tanzanian dish, but it has now become popular in many African countries including Kenya. Chips Mayai recipes are usually made with french fries and eggs mixed together to form a pancake.
Kenyan food is often very spicy and chilies are a common ingredient in many Kenyan dishes including Chips Mayai! Chips Mayai are best enjoyed with a refreshing Kachumbari salad.
What is Kenya’s National Food
Kenyan food is full of flavor and has a taste that you are unlikely to forget! One of the must-try dishes is Kenya’s national food, Ugali. This starchy Kenyan food is usually eaten with vegetables or meat stews and can be very filling.
While ugali is not the most exciting dish in the world, it is definitely worth trying if you are visiting Kenya. Be sure to ask your local hosts for tips on how to prepare Ugali at home.
Famous Kenyan Food
In Kenya, there are many different Kenyan dishes that are popular, and below are some of the most famous Kenyan food dishes.
Nyama Choma (Grilled goat meat), Ugali (cornmeal staple), Kenyan Sukuma Wiki (greens or spinach stew), Kachumbari (Tomato and Onion Salsa), Githeri (Boiled Corn and Beans), Chapati (Flatbread), and many more.
Kenyan Food Culture
The Kenyan cuisine and food culture have evolved over the years to remain true to its Kenyan roots, while also catering to diverse palates.
Kenyan cuisine incorporates native Kenyan ingredients and cooking techniques, and that’s what makes Kenyan food the way it is!
Kenyan food is a mix of Kenyan, Arabian, and South Asian cuisines. This is because Kenyan cuisine has been greatly influenced by the Kenyan people’s migration and trade routes. It is not only diverse in culture, but it’s also tasty and healthy!
The food in Kenya is considered to be some of the healthiest in Africa as it’s rich in fruits, vegetables, and proteins.
Kenyan Food Tasting Tours
Kenyan food tasting tours are a great way to find out about Kenyan culture, while also enjoying the amazing Kenyan cuisine.
Some food tasting tours in Kenya give you the opportunity to try a variety of Kenyan dishes, from traditional favorites to more modern takes on classic Kenyan recipes.
You’ll also get to learn about Kenyan culture, Kenyan food, and Kenyan cuisine through your tour guides.
Here are some amazing Kenyan food tasting tours that we highly recommend:
- Kenya Food Tour, Eat Like a Local – Nairobi Street Food Experience Lunch
- Food Walk in Kenya’s Capital
- Coffee Farm Half-Day Tour in Kenya
Kenyan Food on Social Media
Wanna take a look at some Kenyan cuisine dishes on social media? Check out the following hashtags and accounts:
- Kenyan foodie
Over to You!
Kenyan cuisine is a blend of traditional and foreign cooking styles and ingredients. With some Kenyan dishes, the taste can be a little bit strange for foreigners at first but once you get used to it, you’ll love it
We’ve shared with you 25 Kenyan dishes that are worth trying. What is your favorite dish? Comment below to tell us what dish you can’t wait to try!