EAT: Ugali & friends

Ok, so this is really interesting. One of my main impressions from Kenya is the amazing food. Everything is so fresh and so juicy. So I am fascinated by how often it seems that luxury safari lodges bring out non-Kenyan food for their guests. French, Italian, American… I read an interview recently where this was high-lighted specifically and the explanation was that when the guests were served local food, such as ugali, they did not like it so much. So the ugali became pasta. Because the guests at these lodges pay a lot and so they should be kept satisfied. And Kenyans are extremely considerate hosts. However this leaves me so confused I don’t know what to say. How many were these guests? Did they really try Kenyan food? Did they try enough of it? Should the safari lodge owners really exchange local fresh amazing food for imported pasta and brasserie menus? Because honestly, meanwhile in Kenya, Kenyan food is amazing. So this post is for those of you who have not had the pleasure to discover it. You do not want to miss ugali, kachumbari, sukuma wiki, nyama choma and all this great stuff. Let’s start with ugali.

Ugali. Photo from Wikipedia.

Ugali. Photo from Wikipedia.

Ugali is everywhere. It is like a firm porridge that is served with vegetables and/or meat. All the time. If you like very distinct flavors you might find it a bit mild at first but try it several times. Every ugali you get will be different, for example more or less soft. For anyone worried about the change of diet and stomach issues I think this is like an insurance, it is soft tender food love. If you have read the excellent book “Running with the Kenyans” by Adharanand Finn you know the love Kenyans have for their ugali. And if it is such a significant part of the Kenyan running superpowers, even that is a reason to have some, right?

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