Replies: 6 - Last Post: Jun 20, 2013 10:40 AM Last Post By: KAdhiambo
Jun 12, 2013 8:06 AM
VegetariansVegetarian family of 4 (kids are 15 and 11) going to Kenya and Zanzibar for 3 weeks.
Many days in Stone Town Zanzibar, Nairobi, Mombasa.
We imagine that because we are vegetarian we will be eating mostly Indian and Western food but would like to eat local dishes as well when possible.
Any GENERAL guidance on eating vegetarian, and any SPECIFIC recommendations for restaurants, would be appreciated. Thank you!
Jun 12, 2013 9:16 AM
1There are three local dishes that are vegetarian that I really enjoyed when I was in Kenya. They do cook with lard so you might have to make some sacradices. There is ugali and sukuma wiki which is a staple and very good. Githeri which is beans and maize and irio which is mashed potatoes and means and greens. All of these can be found easily. Also, in Nairobi there are pizza places and Italian restaurants where you can get a vegetarian meal.
Jun 12, 2013 5:41 PM
Jun 13, 2013 9:49 AM
3In Mombasa, the new Chetna Restaurant does excellent dosas and veg thalis.
Do you eat eggs? If so, you can have omelette and chapati for breakfast, you can get that anywhere.
If not, try mandazi, little fried balls of dough, lovely when dipped into your chai.
Samosas often come stuffed with rice or veg, you can get slices of potato fried in batter (delicious!) or peanuts (called groundnuts) which are sold on the street by the bottle-top full. The markets are full of good fruit and veg, so it's easy to make picnic lunches (although bread is generally pretty awful, better to stick to chapatis.)
As Kutu says, you'll need to ask how things have been cooked if you want to completely avoid meat products, and beware the kindly chef who sneaks a bit of meat in with your beans - many people don't understand that some of us don't eat meat because we don't want to, not just because we can't afford it!
Jun 13, 2013 8:15 PM
Jun 14, 2013 4:15 AM
5This won't be a problem at all (especially if you're willing to overlook your veg occasionally being cooked with meat, or meat products, like broth). Most Kenyans eat mostly vegetarian because meat is expensive. One of my favorite dishes is chapati mboga (mboga means vegetables) which is a plate of mixed veg (cabbage, sometimes sukumu wiki kale, potatoes, it varies) with a large chapatti with which to sop up all the vegetable broth. Many places serve vegetarian curries and if you're invited to someone's home, just mention you're a vegetarian early on and acknowledge that it's sort of a weird thing - people here find it a bit funny, but will certainly respect the decision. We eat vegetarian most of the time and have had no trouble here in Kenya.
Jun 20, 2013 10:40 AM
6I have been living as a vegetarian in Kenya for 2 years now with no problems. I receive MANY questions about being vegetarian, and am still frequently pressured to just taste, but there is enough variety to maintain a fairly rigid vegetarian diet while here. I highly recommend the sukuma with either ugali or chapati. In some areas, they also have "local vegetable," which is much like the sukuma (kale, or spinach) with a twist. It is also served with ugali or chapati. My personal favorite is ndengu, or green grams, served with rice or chapati. It's a small, green lentil, almost like dahl, which they prepare as a soup. Githeri is good, as well as Mokimwo (spelling?) which appears to be green mashed potatoes - the color is from pumpkin leaves, and usually maize is mixed in as well. Be sure to explain thoroughly that by vegetarian, you mean no animals, because after saying I am a vegetarian, I am frequently asked "do you take meat?" and I say no, and they assume I do take chicken or fish. Just be prepared to explain a little, you'll have no trouble at all :-)
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