Nairobi

I’ve been in Kenya now for 2 1/2 days and four meals. Not enough to say much about the local cuisine, but lack of information has never stopped me before.
My first lunch here consisted of stewed beef served with cabbage and chopped tomatoes over rice. It was pretty good, reminding me of a homemade stew that could have come from anywhere in the non-eastern world (by which I mean, it wouldn’t be at home in the cuisines of the subcontinent and of north and southeast asia). It was tasty and familiar food, and I enjoyed it. And it’s a good thing I did because it seems that the variety at the kitchen that serves the building where the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (where I’m working) is located, does not serve a wide variety of food: beef, vegetable curry, bean curry and rice and beans seem to be the extent of their menu. It is, however, super cheap. I think we got two beef curries and three soft drinks for $6. One single sandwich at a local delivery place would have cost at least that much. The one thing I do have to note is that the meat is pretty fatty and tough – no idea why that should be so.
I made a similar discovery that night, when we got together with a group of people from work. One of them, a Kenyan, had brought some roasted goat that he had made – and once again it tasted very good but it was tough and fatty. It was accompanied by what seemed to be a non-spicy red pepper and vinegar sauce, which also was very tasty.
The rest of the meal consisted of filled pastries bought at the supermarket. I had half a beef pie and I didn’t think it was very good, though other people enjoyed it. I didn’t partake of the samosas or eggrolls (at least they looked like egg rolls). A couple of pretzels where chewy and not too tasty.
What was much better was the pizzas we ordered. Thin crusted, Italian style, the cheese and toppings were flavorful and tasty. I don’t want to know how much they cost, however 🙂
Yesterday we had leftover pizza/focaccia for lunch and Nico, the head of the No Peace Without Justice operation – who have brought me here – made pasta with tomato sauce. He is Italian 🙂 It was quite good – though he complaint he didn’t have the ingredients for it.
I will write more about my adventures eating in Nairobi, though it doesn’t seem like the food will be too adventurous. It does seem like western food will be quite expensive, however. Yesterday I went to a couple of cafes in downtown Nairobi (not the nicest area of town) and a capuccino and a banana milkshake came to $6. Pretty western prices.

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