The Cheapest Street Foods in Kenya

The Cheapest Street Foods in Kenya: Kenya is a melting pot of different cultures and traditions. From the Kenyan-Arab trade links, through Portuguese colonization and British rule, to the many traders who came from places like India, Persia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Africa, and China; all have influenced the culture and food of contemporary Kenya. Let us take you and discover Kenya through its popular street food. 

1. Maharangwe

Maharagwe is a vegetarian dish made from red kidney beans cooked in coconut milk along with onions, tomatoes and a host of heavenly spices. It is best when served hot and pairs well with ugali, rice or chapati. This is a very nutritious and tasty meal that all visitors to Kenya should try at least once.


2. Mutura


3 Mahindi Choma

Mahindi Choma/photo
Mahindi Choma

4. Fish

It is just that – fried fish. It is common in the estates. You can find fried tilapia fish from lakes Naivasha and Victoria.

You can also find the bigger Nile Perch fried and ready to eat right there or to carry home to eat with your dinner of rice, ugali or chapati.

Cooked Fish
Cooked Fish

7. Ugali (Cornmeal Staple)

The undeniable most common Kenyan food staple is ugali – usually made from cornmeal that is added to boiling water and heated until it turns into a dense block of cornmeal paste. Ugali has the consistency of a grainy dough and the heaviness of a brick.

For many Kenyans, ugali along with a small amount of cooked vegetables or saucy stew is a normal meal.


8. Pilau (Spiced Rice)

Pilau is a glorified combination of rice cooked with flavor bursting spices like cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves. The fragrant rice is fantastic to eat with a form of meat stew and a few slices of fresh tomato and onions.

Biriyani is another form of spiced rice that is a popular Kenyan food on the coast.


7. Mishkaki

How does the taste of skewered spiced beef sound? If you answered delicious, mishkaki is exactly what you’re after.  This traditional food is popular among the Swahili people and the term mishkaki literally means ‘Meat on a stick’.


8. Kuku Paka

Kuku paka is the Kenyan take on a chicken curry. It’s popular along the East African coast and is a prime example of Kenya’s culinary influence from India. This creamy bowl of goodness is made with charcoal-roasted chicken which is simmered in a pot of coconut milk, tomato, onion, garlic, ginger and various other spices to give it an aromatic and slightly fiery kick.

Kuku Paka Kenyan Coconut Milk chicken
Kuku Paka Kenyan Coconut Milk chicken

9. Nyama Choma

Nyama choma means ‘grilled meat’ in Swahili, and it’s considered to be the unofficial national dish of Kenya. This dish is as simple as it gets: meat (the traditional meat of choice is goat but beef, chicken and fish are also popular) which is seasoned with salt and slow-cooked over hot coals. The meat is so ridiculously succulent it’ll melt in your mouth. You can dig into nyama choma on its own, but it’s also delicious with rice, chapati and kachumbari – a tangy relish of red onions, tomatoes, coriander, chilli and lime juice.

Nyama Choma
Nyama Choma

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Sabina Kamene