Like most urban African centers, Nairobi caters to Western travelers with continental fare and European cuisine, but the best food on offer is traditional, cheap, and, of course, delicious. Here are some of our favorite must-try dishes and experiences in the Kenyan capital.
Local peppers, onions, and tomatoes make up the base for most sauces and many dishes, including the spicy salad kachumbari. Indian flavors permeate many traditional Kenyan dishes, including hot cups of early morning masala tea. Sit-down spots offer hearty meat stews poured over steaming plates of ugali, a stiff porridge made of maize and boiled water.
Street food is easy to find in Nairobi, and while travelers are frequently warned about the risks of eating items sold informally, some of the best eating happens right next to the road. Roasted chicken and fried fish are skewered for easy consumption on the go. Fried nsenene, or bush crickets, make for a quick and crispy snack. Vegetarians should seek out githeri, a hearty dish made from beans and corn, while less adventurous eaters may want to start with small fried donuts called mandazi, which are a popular treat for local children.
Head into the countryside to tour the country’s oldest tea plantation.
Sit down for a traditional Kenyan lunch during a walking tour of the city.
Feast on exotic meats—camel, ostrich, and crocodile—roasted on a Maasai sword over a charcoal pit at Nairobi’s famous Carnivore restaurant.
Enjoy the ultimate night out with a dinner and Safari Cats Dancers show at the Safari Park Hotel.
Sample African beer at a local bar and savor the flavors of East Africa during a night tour of Nairobi.