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September 16, 2011

Before I head off to Mombasa and the very rural Shirazi Village for the next two weeks, I thought I would post an entry about the most frequently asked question among friends and family: “How’s the food??”

Chakula cha Kenya is definitely very centered around starches and things that will fill you up on both little money and preparation effort. The most typical foods to have for dinner are

Ugali, a stiff porridge made of maize meal that is usually served with some spinach or kale

Wali (rice) cooked with spices, potatoes, or green vegetables inside (also called Pilau)

I am on my own for lunch and usually order from this house next door that has really good Indian-type food like samosa, curry, and chapati. But lately I have been really into roasted corn that street vendors sell for around 30 Shillings (30 cents USD). That is probably the best thing about Kenya. The most expensive lunch I have had here so far was at a coffee shop called Java House where all the wazungu (white people) hang out and get internet. Lunch there is about 500 Shillings or $5 USD. While Ugali is one of my least favorite things about Kenya and I have basically become a vegetarian by choice while living here, there is a lot of variety for lunch and dinner when I get to eat on my own. Last night I had a great dinner with Doug, the only other person I know in Kenya reppin’ Tufts, at an Egyptian restaurant. The food was amazing and dinner was only $3.30.

My breakfasts always consist of either Kenyan bread or biscuits with chai and sometimes fruit. Kenyan chai is GREAT and they have held onto tea time from the British for sure. Their tea is boiled milk and water mixed together with a big spoon of sugar (that I usually leave out…I miss my black tea). The fruits here are a bit different from home but they have these great sour oranges that I try to eat often. I have to say thought that my favorite breakfast (although unhealthy and hard to come by) are homemade mandazi that my mom sometimes makes for us. They are like little triangular donuts that are so yummy.

So that is Kenyan cuisine in a nutshell! Dinner’s haven’t been my favorite and I’m thinking of cooking for my host family. Most likely an authentic Italian meal after I return from Mombasa 🙂

I won’t have internet and most likely no cell service until October 1st when I return for the coast. Honestly, that’s fine with me. I am very ready for a few weeks near the beach and away from Nairobi. Kwaheri!

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