Lillian Gaitho’s thoughts for the weekend …

This weekend is Lillian’s contribution all about food … and notably food at the Kenya coast, so even with the long Madaraka Day weekend over, there is no better time to travel than now. Flights to the coast are many and affordable, so go fly with Kenya Airways, Jambojet, Safarilink or Air Kenya to Lamu, Malindi, Mombasa and Ukunda, and of course also to Vipingo where very good food is served too …
Bon Appetite …

Tantalizing Travels; Ten foods you must sample at the Kenyan Coast

According to Wikipedia, food is said to rank alongside climate, accommodation and scenery. It’s a make or break aspect for most tourists, which has given a boost to growth in culinary tourism. The Kenyan coast can be said to be one of the most popular tourist destinations in Africa. What with Diani bagging the coveted World’s Travel Awards two years in a row? Among the attractions of the ever-fresh coastal tours is the Swahili-inspired culinary that sends many a traveler going back for more. Food to the Swahili people is part of culture and lifestyle.

Here are a few mouth-watering foods recommended by Lillian Gaitho, PR Manager at Jovago.com, that you that should make part of your itinerary.

#1 Viazi Karanga

In proper coastal Swahili, this snack should be known as “viazi karai” as they are generally deep fried potatoes, however the eternal habit of cooking them in a shallow basin has successfully christened them karai. The secret to enjoying your viazi karai is the seasoned tamarind sauce mostly paired with the dish by the chef. So important are the condiments that seasoned customers will bypass a seller who happens to miss any of the ingredients.

#2 Pweza

Pweza is, you guessed right, that floundering, eight-armed octopus! But believe you me, there won’t be any dangling hands and webbed toes on your table. Pweza is mostly sold as finger food along the streets, cut into pieces marked at different prices. If you are a first wild sea food escapade, you will definitely report tingly taste buds.

#3 Biryani

Nothing can claim the title, “a burst of flavors” than the Swahili Biryani. This is one meal that seems to effortlessly combine the aromas of Kenyan coast in mastered balance. Biryani, an origin of Persia is basically light, fluffy rice in a mixture of vegetables and cooked spices. Notably, chicken biryani seems to be a hit with most people, including first timers.

#4 Ukwaju

Ukwaju is mainly water soaked tamarind seeds seasoned with onions, salt, garlic and other flavorings as desired. It’s a great pairing for meat and poultry dishes as well as fried finger foods. Coastal people mostly substitute commercial tomato sauce with ukwaju; for both the taste and thickness. You may find some people also replacing ukwaju with chatini, a similarly thick sauce made from coconut.

#5 Samaki wa kupaka

This fish could make even the toughest of warriors shed a tear; from its sheer creamy taste which pairs so well with the fiery taste of green chilies, ginger and garlic. Usually, the fish is soaked in marinate before coating in tamarind-flavored coconut sauce. This is one of those dishes that will literally leave you writing shairi on our coastal culture!

#6 Sweet Kaimati

I confess to having sweet teeth, as compared to a sweet tooth! Kaimati is a sweet snack mostly paired with tea or any common breakfast beverages. This ones are addictive, and their easy-to-make recipe does little to save us from the sweet fondness.

#7 Mahamri and Mandazi

Not much difference between this two twin snacks; except that mahamri is a little spicy and its ambrosial air will keep the neighbors knocking on your doors! Whether by the roadside or eateries or starred hotels, mahamris and mandazis will always make superb pairing with chai.

#8 Mshikaki

Quite a popular snack along the East African coast, mshikaki is generally well marinated skewered beef (most common) cubes roasted over open charcoal grill. Some chefs like layering the meat together with a variety of vegetables such as onions and red bells.

#9 Madafu

Laden with health benefits, this rehydrating drink is found within the fleshy shell of unripe coconuts. It’s a perfect remedy for the hot coastal weather and will also make perfect and classic backdrops for the ‘at the beach’ selfie!

#10 Kachiri

This is the Swahili version of cassava crisps. Thin, light slices of cassava are deep fried and tossed in chili and salt to give the characteristic fulsome burst to the snack. Again, kachiri is one more food that will allow you the joys and satisfaction of food prepared on-location.

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