30 Traditional and Popular Kenyan Foods

Updated on February 4, 2020
Necento anto profile image

I love cooking, tasting foods, and learning about different cuisines in the world.

Kenya is a country in East Africa. It is known for its wildlife safaris, beautiful landscapes, and—of course—delicious food. The dishes in Kenya are diverse and are a mix of ethnicity and tradition. I plan to visit Kenya soon, and these are the dishes I want to try or have already tried. I have many Kenyan friends, and because of them, I was able to try some of the dishes I mentioned below.

Ugali | Source

1. Ugali

Ugali is a Kenyan staple. It's a dish made of maize flour, though it's sometimes made of millet or sorghum flour. It's made by adding the maize flour to boiling water until you get a dough-like consistency. It's a bodybuilding food and a good source of iron. I ate ugali many times as an accompaniment to beef stew and bean stew. I enjoyed it very much. Since then, I have learned to make it myself, and now I cook it often.

Sukuma Wiki
Sukuma Wiki | Source

2. Sukuma Wiki

Sukuma wiki is a dish made of collard greens, and sometimes people confuse it with kale. Ugali can be eaten with sukuma wiki. It's a dish in which collard greens are cut into thin slices and sautéed along with onions and tomatoes. It's a simple dish but full of flavor. Sukuma wiki, when translated into Swahili, means "week-pusher." It is called this because it's an affordable meal.

Nyama Choma
Nyama Choma | Source

3. Nyama Choma

Nyama choma is roasted meat, and it's one of Kenya's most beloved dishes. It is usually served with kachumbari salad and ugali. You eat it with your hands. Only salt and pepper are used to season this dish. It's one dish that should be purchased from a Kenyan street vendor in order to enjoy it to the fullest. I will hopefully soon get the opportunity to taste this yummy food.

Chips Mayai
Chips Mayai | Source

4. Chips Mayai

It is basically a combination of French fries and an egg omelet. It's considered junk food, but I guess it is fine to indulge in such foods once in a while. It is served with kachumbari and tomato sauce. This is another dish I like and enjoy, mostly as an evening snack.

Mutura | Source

5. Mutura

Mutura is sausage that is made up of fresh blood and meat. Certain spices and ingredients, like ginger, scallions, garlic, and red or green chillies, are added to it. The cooked meat and blood mixture is then stuffed into a already cleaned large or small intestine of a cow or goat, and then it's grilled. It is usually eaten as an appetizer, and some people enjoy it with beer.

Githeri | Source

6. Githeri

Githeri is a one-pot meal made up of corn and any kind of bean. It can be eaten plain or with onions, tomatoes, and seasonings of your choice. It is very easy to make and is one Kenya's nourishing staples. This is comfort food, and I like to eat it when I am not feeling so well.

Mandazi | Source

7. Mandazi

Mandazi is an African doughnut. It is cooked by frying dough in oil. Sometimes coconut milk is added into the dough for flavor. The main ingredients are flour, milk, eggs, yeast, and sugar to taste. It's incredibly tasty and goes well with tea.

Fried Tilapia
Fried Tilapia | Source

8. Tilapia Fry

Tilapia is widely eaten fish and very popular in Kenya because it is readily available and affordable. It is deep-fried and served with kachumbari, ugali, or pilau. This fish is rich in nutrients like vitamin A, omega-3 fatty acids, and protein.

Pilau | Source

9. Pilau

Pilau is one a popular Kenyan dish as well. It is served at almost all social gatherings. It is rice cooked in a flavored broth with meat, chicken, or vegetables. I love this food because of the various spices used, and it's incredibly flavorful.

Chapati | Source

10. Chapatis

These are soft and layered flat breads that are eaten in many East African homes. It is very light and is eaten with tea, beef stew, or beans. I can say, without a doubt in my mind, that Kenyan chapatis are one of the best chapatis you will ever eat.

Kachumbari | Source

11. Kachumbari

Kachumbari is a refreshing salad made of fresh tomatoes, onions, green chillies, coriander, a few drops of lemon juice, and salt as desired. It's a great dish when combined with grilled meats.

Mukimo | Source

12. Mukimo

Mukimo is a tasty staple food cooked by mashing green peas, potatoes, maize, and pumpkin leaves or spinach leaves all together. Sometimes beans can be used as a substitute for green peas.

Bhajiyas | Source

13. Bhajiyas

Bhajiyas are a popular snack in Kenya. They're made by slicing boiled potatoes into thin, circular slices, dipping them into a seasoned gram flour batter, and then deep-frying them. They're served hot with ketchup or other homemade sauces. They're very crispy and very filling. They taste incredible and are one of my favorite evening snacks.

Samosa | Source

14. Samosas

Samosas are triangular-shaped pastries that are deep-fried and usually filled with minced meat. The fillings can also be potatoes or peas. This dish is very flavorful, and it's a perfect evening snack to have with tea.

Maharagwe | Source

15. Maharagwe

Maharagwe is red kidney beans cooked in coconut milk. It is served hot with ugali, rice, chapati, or even mandazi. It can either be sweet or savory.

Matoke | Source

16. Matoke Ya Nyama

Matoke is a dish made up of green bananas, meat, tomatoes, onions, capsicum, spices like cayenne pepper, salt to taste, and garnished with coriander. It's very healthy and also affordable.

Mbaazi za Nazi
Mbaazi za Nazi | Source

17. Mbaazi Za Nazi

This dish is basically pigeon peas cooked in coconut milk. It is usually served with mandazi or chapatis. It is famous in Kenya's coastal region and is usually eaten as breakfast.

Kuku Paka
Kuku Paka | Source

18. Kuku Paka

This is a mouth-watering dish made up of chicken in a coconut curry. The chicken is grilled before being added to the coconut-based curry. This gives it its smoky flavor. Here, "kuku" means "chicken" in Swahili.

Mishkaki | Source

19. Mishkaki

These meat skewers are traditionally barbecued over charcoal to give it a smoky flavor. Meat skewers are cooked until they are tender and succulent.

Mabuyu | Source

20. Mabuyu

Mabuyu are baobab seeds that are coated with sugar. This candy is common in coastal regions, and it comes in various flavors like chili or strawberry. It's better to buy it from a street vendor than from the supermarkets. The tree is called "mbuyu" in Swahili so thats why its called "mabuyu."

Makai | Source

21. Makai

Roasted maize is found on nearly every street corner. It's very delicious and, at the same time, affordable. It is roasted over charcoal, and once ready, the hot roasted maize is rubbed with lemon and chili salt. You cannot resist buying one of these when in Kenya.

Wali Wa Nazi
Wali Wa Nazi | Source

22. Wali Wa Nazi

It's simple coconut rice. It is popular in the coastal regions of Kenya. It is enjoyed with chicken curry, fish curry, or even bean stew.

Karanga | Source

23. Karanga

This is Kenyan beef and potato stew, which is served with ugali or rice. For a beef-lover like me, this dish was mouth watering.

Irio | Source

24. Irio

Irio is mix of mashed potatoes, peas, and corn. It is usually eaten with grilled meat and is called "nyama na irio."

Grilled Chicken
Grilled Chicken | Source

25. Grilled Chicken

If you go to Kenya, you have to try the grilled chicken. It is one of the yummiest foods, and many people in Kenya love eating grilled chicken. It is not a Kenyan dish, but what is interesting is the extremely delicious way they cook their grilled chicken.

Banana Beer
Banana Beer | Source

26. Urwagwa

Urwagwa is Kenyan banana beer. It's an alcoholic beverage made from the fermentation of ripe bananas, sorghum, millet, maize, and yeast. It's a local drink and is drank during some village ceremonies.

Tusker Beer
Tusker Beer | Source

27. Tusker Beer

One of the most popular drinks in Kenya, it has a refreshing taste. Kenya's hot climate gives you ample reason to try this beverage.

Masala Chai
Masala Chai | Source

28. Masala Chai

"Chai" means "tea" in Swahili. Kenyan tea is famous all over the world, and when combined with other ingredients like ginger or cardamom, the flavor is deliciously beyond imagination.

Coleslaw Salad
Coleslaw Salad | Source

29. Coleslaw Salad

This is a popular salad in Kenyan cuisine, and it goes with almost every main dish. It goes very well with grilled chicken or grilled fish. It's a salad that's made up of cabbage, carrots, onion, celery, apple or pineapple, and mayonnaise.

Odowa Stones
Odowa Stones | Source

30. Odowa Stones

These stones are sold in streets or in supermarkets. Pregnant women seem to especially like these stones. It's a strange habit. You can try one of these just to know the taste.


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    • profile image


      2 weeks ago

      Thank you for this! I went to Kenya last year and couldnt remember the names of some of the dishes I loved!

    • profile image

      trenton weber 

      3 months ago

      whas up bro this foo amazin

    • profile image


      3 months ago


    • profile image


      4 months ago

      Thanks I'm making a poster

    • profile image


      4 months ago

      omg this food and the sumboose is so good

    • profile image


      9 months ago

      And the list is endless...there is also 'samaki wa kupaka', pilau Njeri, viazi karai na Ukwaju, nduma. sweet potatoes, peas soup etc.

      Thanks for this!

    • profile image

      Caitlyn Mckay 

      10 months ago

      They look DELISH!!!! Could you do recipes for these please!!! and i was just researching kenya for school and then i found this for kenyan food!!

    • profile image


      10 months ago

      Are you going to print the recipe's for the dishes?

    • profile image


      10 months ago

      Most of the dishes seem to be from India

    • profile image


      11 months ago

      I thought urwagwa was Rwandese drink, but overall i like the article. I make most of these dishes all the time.

    • profile image


      11 months ago

      Gotta try

    • Necento anto profile imageAUTHOR


      13 months ago from ukraine

      Hello Carol, I am glad you liked my article.I can imagine your feelings.I also stay away from home and I miss home food.

    • profile image


      13 months ago

      Thanks Nicci. Seeing this really make me miss home. I try my best to make the same food but the taste is different.

    • Necento anto profile imageAUTHOR


      14 months ago from ukraine

      Thanks Dede, I am glad you liked it.

      Jose, I didn't get your question.

    • profile image

      José Oliveira. 

      14 months ago

      How make a dish as a dish brasilian as?

    • profile image


      14 months ago

      I absolutely appreciate this article! It reminds me of childhood!

    • Necento anto profile imageAUTHOR


      16 months ago from ukraine

      Hello caroline and alex,I am glad you liked the article. Believe me Kenyan dishes are delicious.))

    • profile image

      Caroline A Vornberg 

      16 months ago

      Jim and Mark Vornberg will enjoy these foods in the next 2 weeks!!!! Thanks for the photos and descriptions!! Looks soo good.

    • profile image


      18 months ago

      Thank you,I have seen food and love,The golden heart people living in Kenya!!!

    • profile image

      necento anto 

      20 months ago

      thankyou vanessa!

    • profile image


      20 months ago

      I love the accuracy and the details...

    • Necento anto profile imageAUTHOR


      2 years ago from ukraine

      Yes Louise, it's a beautiful country with beautiful people and amazing food. Thanks for the comment.

    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 

      2 years ago from Norfolk, England

      The Kenyan food looks lovely. I'd love to visit Kenya. It's a beautiful country.


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