The main street of Ongata Rongai features a nice wooden restaurant and sports bar during the day, turning bar and disco at night. The first floor being an open balcony to the buzzing street below with an offering of a variety of Kenyan food. Simple, fresh and delicious. The Kenyan kitchen has a wide range of yummy offerings. Each dish may be found in everyday variations on the dining tables of tiny backstreet houses as well as on the menu cards of posh restaurants. In this case we were somewhere in between.
We ordered nyama choma, in this case consisting of roasted beef, is served on a shared chopping board. The chef brings the sizzling roasted meat to the hungry customers table and chops it into pieces then and there. The nyama choma is served with salt for dips, a juicy fresh salad and ugali. The ugali is then formed in the hand as a sort of deep plate and used to sweep up the saucy salad bits.
This may be entirely trivial to a Kenyan used to the dish. But to a foreigner accustomed to being kept far away from the kitchen of restaurants and it being the height of poor table manners to use ones hands for touching anything but a knife and fork, a serving of nyama choma is certainly something entirely new and different. Everyday activities that seem ordinary and boring are often the most mind-blowing to visitors from abroad. The culture shock of a simple traditional Kenyan meal in an Ongata Rongai restaurant on the main road is one such blatant example – food preparation at the table and eating it with your hands, baffling no less.
No way is this a complaint though. The nyama choma dish is excellent, once you get the hang of the side-dishes, and Ongata Rongai is just the perfect spot for consuming a meal whilst busily engaged in following the activities of the busy suburb, watching people loitering about or the chaotic traffic on constant verge of a complete breakdown.
Thanks for the support and remember y’all, #LoveLife