Kenya’s diverse history is one of the reasons for its mixed cuisine. (Photos: Keith Flannagan.)
Kenyan Food Primer: 10 Essential Dishes And Drinks
“What are they feeding them?” That’s a question you might ask yourself as you watch a Kenyan cross a marathon finish line, followed by a second, a third chasing them, and you guessed it — a fourth Kenyan might just be on the way.
It’s a tough question, though, when you realize that most of the Kenyan runners we know well mostly come from one tribe — Kalenjin, of the high-altitude Western Rift Valley, where they’re raised on a high-starch diet. But the number of communities in Kenya? Approximately 50. Which is to say, it’s a tough cuisine to track. And then there are the Indians who were hired from erstwhile British India to build the Kenya-Uganda Railway, bringing with them Hindu flavors during Kenya’s colonial period. It’s a mixed cuisine, to say the least.
To get an understanding of true Kenyan dishes, we asked the students at Karen Blixen Hospitality School — a cooking school at Karen Blixen Camp, a safari property in the Mara North Conservancy aimed at training locals in the culinary arts (guests are treated to their finished products, too) — to call out a few known staples, aided by their teacher, chef Rune Eriksen. Here’s the lineup:READ MORE