Nyama Choma and Ugali

You absolutely cannot go to Kenya without trying one of the most common dishes; Nyama Choma served with Ugali.  Some might argue that this is Kenya’s national dish.  Ugali is a round ball of maize with a slightly grainy texture and a natural taste. When paired with the grilled meat, known as Nyama Choma, a little salt and kachumbari, it’s a filling meal that many enjoy. 

I had my first taste of this dish in Kenyatta Market within my first few days in Nairobi. The moment we walked in the market, the people working the food joints inside rushed towards us in an extremely aggressive manner. They were all wearing white overcoats typically worn by a butcher. Shouting loudly in Swahili they were all trying to get us to try their nyama choma. 

I was apprehensive because they were so pushy, but once my friend had a piece of beef I gladly took some to try. It was very nice. So of course, we went in. Presto! Their plan worked. We tasted and chose to eat.

I initially expected ugali to taste just like the kenkey in Ghana, but to my surprise it did not. It actually reminded me of the nuetral taste of semolina or cream of wheat.  I loved it because it didn’t have that sour fermented flavour of kenkey.

Eating really is a shared experience when you visit a joint like the one we went to in the market.  After grilling the beef it was placed on a wooden board and choped up for us. The two of us dug into thw dish. It was so tasty.  Many West Africans (I should say Ghanaians and Nigerians) told me that food in Kenya would be bland. But I realy enjoyed it and found the fresh gilles taste to be delicious.


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