The Most Common Foods in Kenya


Kenya is a beautiful country that is endowed with rich cultural diversity, wildlife, and beautiful landscapes. Today, Kenya boasts 44 tribes. All these tribes have unique ways of doing things and cooking food. As a result, different communities have a dialect that resonates with their ethnic group.

To appreciate cultural diversity, the Kenyan government has introduced a department that deals with cultural heritage and diversity. If you happen to visit Kenya, do not forget to taste Kenyan cuisine.

As mentioned earlier, Kenya has a rich cultural diversity, and so are the dishes. There are common foods in Kenya that you can get in any hotel located in the country.

Favorite Foods for Kenyans

1. Ugali

Ugali is the most common Kenyan food. If you hit any Kenyan streets and ask about ugali, they will probably go ahead and give you the recipe. Ugali is rich in carbohydrates. For this reason, most Kenyans prefer to take ugali after a long day at work. Maize flour is a high-demand commodity in this part of the world.

The government does everything possible to ensure maize flour is affordable to every Kenyan. Well, asking you how ugali is served? Relax, in most cases, ugali is served with meat, vegetables, fried eggs, and soured milk. Cooking ugali is simple. You only need maize flour and water. 

2. Mukimo/irio (mashed peas and potato mix)

Irio is a common food in Kenya.  Mukimo is popular among the Kikuyu tribe. Its popularity spreads all over the country.

 You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to cook Mukimo. The process is simple. You should boil green peas and potatoes, then mash them up. After that, add maize to the mash to give it extra starch and texture. Most Kenyans eat Mukimo together with roasted meat (popularly known as nyama choma) or a typical Kenya stew.

3. Githeri

Kenya is an agricultural hub in East Africa. Most Kenyan farmers, both small and large scale, grow maize and beans on their farms. This explains why Githeri, also called muthere, is a typical food in Kenya.

The maize and beans are mixed together in a cooking pot, then water is added, after which the mixture is boiled until the food is cooked. Githeri is nutritious and an excellent source of energy.

4. Chapatis

If you happen to be in a Kenyan social event, you won’t miss some chapatis on your plate. Chapatis are made from wheat flour.  In the earlier days, chapatis were only afforded by the rich. But nowadays, chapatis are common in Kenya.

 In most hotels, where ordinary citizens frequently visit, chapatis are quite affordable.  Chapatis are light and can be served with tea, beef stew, or beans. Probably, Kenyans make the best chapatis in the world.

5. Pilau

Pilau is another common food in Kenya. It is the type of food that most Kenyans prefer to serve guests in social gatherings. If you ask most Kenyans, a wedding without Pilau on their servings is a no go zone.

 Pilau is a coastal dish served with kachumbari, beef, chicken, and mutton. The dish is cooked in broth and seasoned with oriental spices such as cardamom, star, and cloves. You have full discretion to choose the spice that works for you.

6. Nyama Choma

In Kenya, Nyama Choma is a favorite dish to many while having a good time or during social occasions. Whenever you are in Kenya, you come across numerous billboards of hotels advertising this dish. For that reason, it is not a wonder to find Nyama Choma base on the roadside to fine restaurants.

But what is Nyama Choma? Nyama Choma simply means barbecued meat.  It can be mutton, pork, chicken, or beef. Most Nyama Choma enthusiasts drown the meat with beer. This is a common phenomenon among Kenyans. This partly explains why the delicacy is common in clubs. Nyama Choma is also served together with ugali and mukimo.

7. Matoke (plantain Banana stew)

Well, matoke is a popular delicacy in Uganda but also a favorite among many Kenyans. Matoke is cooked in a pot with oil, onions, garlic, tomatoes, meat (optional), and lemon juice.

Cook the bananas until they become soft and form a thick sauce. The end product is a delicious dish you can serve with beef, mutton, or chicken.

8. Mandazi

Mandazi, also known as Kenyan doughnut, is a favorite snack for most Kenyans. It is a form of fried bread that originates from the coastal region. You only require a few ingredients to make mandazi. 

The ingredients include; flour, eggs, and baking powder. Mandazi is a popular delicacy in Kenyan cuisine. Mandazi will always be top on the menu whenever you get into any Kenyan hotel.

9. Mutura

Mutura is a delicacy that most Kenyans love. Some people call it “African sausage” due to its close resemblance to sausages in shape. In major towns, you will come across Mutura being sold by the roadside.

But what is Mutura? It is simply an intestine filled with a mixture of minced beef or mutton and blood, then flavored with onions. The amount of Mutura you want merely depends on your budget.

10. Chips

Chips, also known as french fries, are common among Kenyans.  They are strips of skinless potato that are grilled, deep fried, or baked until they adopt a golden brown color.

Most people take chips either for lunch or dinner. The popularity of chips in Kenya stems from the fact they are delicious if cooked right. It is easy to prepare the dish.

Final thoughts

The rich Kenyan cultural diversity means a myriad of delicacies. You will appreciate Kenya’s rich cultural diversity, which gives rise to these different types of foods. The list of common foods in Kenya is endless; we have only given you a snippet view of the most popular foods.

There are more common foods in Kenya. Almost every community is associated with a particular type of food. Noting that Kenya has 44 tribes, you can only conclude that the list is endless.

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