There are many different cuisines and types of restaurants in Kenyan cities, from fast food to high-end western cuisine. Kenyan cuisine varies greatly from one ethnic group to another, but the staples are ugali (corn dough), pilau rice, cabbage vegetables, chapati (Indian flat bread) and grilled food (usually chicken, beef or goat). Fresh produce is also available at the street food stalls, which offer a wide variety of fruits and vegetables depending on the season. Street food is also worth a try and is generally safe. Typical dishes are mandazi (a sweet bread-like fritter), grilled corn with chilli and samosas.
There are many restaurants catering to foreigners in Nairobi city centre and in the Westlands, Hurlingham, Kilimiani and Lavington areas. There are Italian, Brazilian, Chinese, Thai, Japanese, German and French restaurants. The Westlands also has a high concentration of Indian cuisine due to the large Kenyan and Indian community in the area.
The Kenyan beer is excellent and has won several international awards. The local favourite is Tusker, a brand of the East African Breweries Company. Imported beers are available but not very popular due to high retail prices caused by import duties and local people’s loyalty to their own products. In recent years, breweries such as Brew Bistro and Sierra in Nairobi have taken the initiative to offer Kenyans their own products, which has attracted the attention of expatriates and tourists because of the sweetness of their creations.
A wide range of imported and locally produced wines and spirits are available. It is advisable to avoid local beers such as “changaa” and “busaa”, which are illegal, brewed in unhygienic conditions and whose consumption has led to many deaths. It may be useful to remember that “changaa” literally means “kill me quickly” before deciding whether or not to drink a glass of the drink offered.
There is an excellent selection of soft drinks, mainly from the Coca-Cola stable, but also try the locally produced Stoney “Tangawizi” Ginger Ale.
It should also be noted, as is common in many African countries, that when you return an empty glass drink bottle to certain traders, they will refund part of the price you paid, called a deposit, which covers the cost of the lost bottles.