Hummus

This is real hummus. Made with chickpeas, served warm and drizzled with oil and herbs. You can use it for anything or make a meal out of it. There is a hummus shop in the Carmel Market I would like to go revisit in Tel Aviv. I enjoyed it as a light lunch with fried eggplant and olives. Olives are also a staple.

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Carmel Market

We spent a day exploring the market in Tel Aviv. So much good food. Stopping at a local vendor, I dined on traditional kufta kebab (pictured). It’s bits of lamb with roasted veggies served with warm pita and tahini.

You can get lost among the aromatic spices, sticky sweets, fresh fruits, and homemade breads!

Bedouin Feast

I had the unique experience of staying overnight at a Bedouin Camp. They served us traditional food like this plate of spiced couscous and lavash. Plated and eaten like Ethiopian food, the dishes are set in the center of the table to share. There are varieties of grilled meats with roasted vegetables and a huge center of spiced couscous with dried bits of fruit served with a bread similar to lavash but as thin as injera.

Shawarma

A wrap of delicious meat roasted on a spit and thin carved in a pita or lavash and served with a variety of toppings and sauce. Varieties of shawarma range from mixed meats to just chicken and served with hummus or tahini and typically cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions (sometimes fries!)

East African Refreshments

Some products are specific to regions and you can’t find them anywhere else. These drinks found within Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania, both alcoholic and non alcoholic, you’ll be glad you tried since you might not find them again. Novida and Alvaro malt non alcoholic. Maziwa LaLa. Malta Guiness non alcoholic and Harar Sofi.

Ambo Flavored : try the apple, tropical, or pineapple sparkling water, it is the best I’ve ever had
Stoney :  a very spicy ginger ale
Amarula : a fruit cream liquor, a lot like Baileys, but slightly sweeter

Ndengu

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Ndengu or green grams is a very popular lentil dish in Kenya. It is a small, green lentil that is easy to cook and very nutritious; it is one of the best ways to get protein in a primarily vegetarian diet besides beans. Green grams are very filling and best served over rice or with a side of chapati, plus some sukumawiki (greens), but I have seen them served with ugali. Generally boiled first then cooked with tomatoes and onions, seasoned with salt. It is also common to find a “stew” that just has the liquid from boiling included. I find that cooking ndengu at home, using the water reserves to make rice ensures all the nutrients are used and not wasted, as well as the water. I add different spices, and as a lentil it can be spiced any way you like.

Nyama Choma

The closest thing to BBQ in Kenya is the nyama choma (roasted meats) The most common is mubzi (goat), but you also can find ngombe (beef), or kuku (chicken). Many of the hotelis will do special orders for you if they don’t make a certain kind. For instance, the choma grill in my town only does kuku choma, but if I go there before I do my market shopping and request goat or beef they will prepare it for me just in time to either finish shopping and sit down to a meal or take it home and enjoy it a la carte. I hope to eventually see if they will do pork or rabbit because both would be delicious roasted.

Roasty, toasty, and scrumptious! Nyama choma is your best option if you want tender, flavorful cuts of meat. Best served with a side of greens and some chapati and an ice cold beer.

African Chapati

The African variation of chapati is not to be confused with the Indian chapati it is based on. However, like its origin, it is a staple of local cuisine and it is made in the same way; a combination of flour and water to form a dough, rolled out thin, but not as thin as a tortilla, and cooked over a hot flat surface. The difference is one key ingredient : oil.

Unlike the chapati from India, this variety has oil mixed into the dough and is fried in oil on both sides. The result is a less healthy version of the original, which is made with no oil, and generally made with whole wheat flour or millet flour over standard white flour. You can find a healthier, whole wheat chapati, less commonly, called chapati atta. Either way, there is no denying African chapati is delicious, especially right off the fire, slightly crisped, and goes great with the variety of local dishes. Use it instead of ugali to scoop up greens, meats, or just about anything else.

Githeri

This simple dish of beans and corn is filling and delicious. It is great served with sliced avocado or warm chapati. Unlike the smaller, sweet corn you’d imagine, a larger kernel variety is used and has more of a savory crunch to it. You can typically find this at any hoteli for a cheap meal that will most definitely fill you up.