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The cheap street food saving Nairobians from hunger pangs

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The street food business continues to thrive as a source of affordable food and a lucrative economic activity in Nairobi and other major towns.

From smokie pasua to viazi karai, Kenyan street food is becoming increasingly popular with locals and international tourists who are looking for a quick snack with an authentic Kenyan experience.

When the sun sets, with people rushing home after work, queues start developing at smokie pasua and boiled eggs vending points in the city.

These snacks are also usually sold outside nightclubs to take advantage of intoxicated clients seeking to dilute the impact of alcohol. All this on a budget.

Here are some of the loved Kenyan street foods:

Smokie pasua and boiled eggs

Smokies are also known as smoked sausage. They are a popular street food in the city and are sold alongside boiled eggs.

Smokies and eggs are served with kachumbari (a mixture of raw tomatoes, red onions and chilli) and you can add a dash of tomato sauce and salt to your liking.

Kachumbari

They are often served alone but they taste wonderful when accompanied by a kachumbari salad, baked potatoes or fried chips.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Smokie pasua is dissected in half and filled with kachumbari and any other preferred sauces. The same is done to the egg.

One thing to remember is that you can always choose how hot/spicy you want your smokie or egg to be. Vendors usually have kachumbari without chillies.

One certain thing is that one is never enough.

Price: Smokie pasua sells for Sh30 and boiled egg Sh20

Mshikakis are skewered pieces of marinated meat such as beef, goat or mutton that are slowly cooked over hot coals. Mshikakis sold by street vendors are made of meat, carrots and capsicum. They are often served alone but they taste wonderful when accompanied by a kachumbari salad, baked potatoes or fried chips.

Mshikaki

Mshikakis are skewered pieces of marinated meat such as beef, goat or mutton that are slowly cooked over hot coals.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

If you prefer spiced meat only, you will find it too. Vendors marinate the meat beforehand and by the time they go on the grill and then into your mouth, it is nothing short of juicy flavours and tenderness.

Mutura (Kenyan traditional sausage)

No doubt mutura is one of the most popular Kenyan street foods. The beauty of this is that there are varied ways of preparing it.

Mutura

No doubt mutura is one of the most popular Kenyan street foods. The beauty of this is that there are varied ways of preparing it.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Mutura is an intestine-encased mixture of minced pieces of cow or goat meat, tripe, and cooled blood that’s been flavoured with onions, salt, pepper, and chilli and roasted over a charcoal stove until it becomes golden brown.

Some are filled with blood and others have minced meat. The fillings are always mixed with chillies and then stuffed into clean tripe from a cow or sheep.

This delicacy is usually sold in the evening and most vendors cook it on the roadside. It is normally sliced into small bite sizes on a chopping board for as low as Sh20.

Butcheries also sell them outside their stores. One accompaniment for this delicacy is bone soup. It is usually served hot in metal cups. You can add salt or chillies to your liking.

Kachumbari is the staple salad that goes well with mutura.

Samosas are among Kenya’s favourite breakfast dishes and snacks.

Samosa

Samosas are among Kenya’s favourite breakfast dishes and snacks.

Photo credit: File

They are a bit of filling stuffed into dough and deep-fried. They are served in one form or another by street vendors, but they are also found in abundance in food stalls in every city. Kenyans have made it one of the most accessible staple street foods.

There are different types of samosas, including meat and vegetable ones. So if you are vegan or vegetarian, you do not have to worry about missing out.

However, many worry about hygiene when buying samosas on the street. From my experience, don’t buy samosas on the street.

Smochas, known as the Kenyan wrap, have now become a popular street food in Kenya and are usually consumed by university students as they only cost Sh60 a piece and can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

They give one a balanced diet and go well with a bottle of coke.

The smocha is a combo of chapati wrapped around a smokie pasua or boiled egg with a kachumbari.

Viazi karai are simply potato wedges coated in a batter made of wheat flour and spices like turmeric and black pepper. Once evenly coated, they are deep-fried in hot oil until golden brown.

They are usually crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. Viazi karai potatoes are typically served with tamarind chutney on the side.



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