Kenya

Foodways

"Happiness is as good as food." —Kenyan proverb

People throughout much of Kenya eat meats grilled over open fires along with cooked greens, ugali (cornmeal mash), and fresh tomatoes and onions. In the uplands regions, among the Luo people and others, many types of stews are also popular, with variations in locally sourced ingredients.

Coastal communities incorporate widely available tropical fruits such as coconut and banana, aromatic spices like cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon, abundant seafood, and rice in Swahili-style dishes. Try some typical Kenyan dishes at the Choma Grill and Spice Routes Café on the Mall!

FESTIVAL PARTICIPANTS

Fatma Ali Busaidy was born into the Busaidy clan, one of the native Swahili families from Lamu. Raised in a traditional Swahili household, Fatma learned the art of cooking. She believes being able to prepare and cook Swahili cuisine is an essential part of culture. She credits her love for cooking to her family life where she has been mother not only to her own children, but also to her younger siblings. Although she is known for her cooking, Fatma has had a long career in education. She was a teacher at Lamu Girls Secondary School for almost a decade before joining the National Museums of Kenya – Lamu Museum as a community education officer.

Alice Awuir Oduor and Emily Oduor are holistic health and nutritional caterers providing affordable services to health-conscious clientele. In 2005 they founded the catering company Lisa & Kaylie; while at first the services were limited to home deliveries on weekends, growing demand allowed them to extend their services to weddings, office functions, and more. Their menu consists exclusively of traditional cuisine from the Luo of Western Kenya and Northern Uganda.

Amina Harith Swaleh specializes in Swahili cooking, which she teaches at Pwani University in Kilifi County, about forty miles north of Mombasa. Amid a worldwide growing interest in African cuisine, she has been instrumental in the revival of traditional Swahili dishes.