What I Ate Today
For the folks who have been curious about what I’ve been up to, and being an admitted foodie, I have painstakingly documented what I eat in a average day in Nairobi.
The morning usually starts with something like this. Hi-fiber cookies. Without a working refrigerator, and with cockroaches having general run of the kitchen, very little food is stored in the house, so I try to have some at least somewhat nutritious snacks around.
After running to the store to grab some bread, I have a more proper breakfast. This day it is peanut butter on toast, which has become a staple for me. Without a toaster the toast is prepared on the stove, in a skillet. Papaya and tea round out the breakfast.
One of my favorite parts of Nairobi are these hard-boiled eggs with fresh tomato salsa (they call it salad) that are served all over the place (at least in the poorer areas). Tasty, nutritious, and they cost about 25 cents US. When I am walking to the bus stop I find myself buying one at every cart I pass!
In Nairobi they have a slightly different meaning for the word “Inn”. Here it basically means: A chain that specializes in a single type of food. Along with Bakers Inn they also have Pizza Inn, Chicken Inn, and Creamy Inn which has ice cream.
At the Bakers Inn I quickly grabbed a couple pastries to eat on the bus out of the city center. I would have gotten more of a meal, but it was already after four, and if you try to catch a bus during rush hour you can spend hours waiting in line, and then longer waiting in traffic. Unfortunately on this day there was huge traffic jam getting into the city, so I ended up waiting over an hour for my bus to show up.
This butcher shop has the best french fries around. It is the only place with an actual fryer which means the fries actually get crispy. They also assured me that they only fry in vegetable oil, so as long as you don’t mind a side of beef and plate of raw liver staring back at you while you wait for your chips, it is vegetarian friendly.
Back home I would very rarely eat Heinz ketchup, but here it’s the best thing going. What they put on fries they call “tomato sauce” but it tastes like sweet and sour sauce and has not ever a hint of tomato flavor.
Finally my hosts got home and cooked some dinner. This is the standard local vegetarian food that they call “mboga”, which literally translates to “vegetables”, but generally means kale sliced into super thin strips and cooked. Telling someone I’m a vegetarian tends to result in them serving me this, so I have gotten tired of it pretty quickly. In the background you can see more nsima, which in Swahili is called ugali, the staple food throughout most of Africa.
Finally, I have to mention ramen noodles, as I eat them about every other day. Not the greatest thing to eat, but they keep the hunger away.
Hey Austin, Sounds like a good diet. Those egg/salsa items are really novel! We are having very cold weather here, in the 40’s during day this week. Nice to hear from you. Love, P.
The egg with salsa sound like a street food I could get behind too. Do you eat the ugali–and how does it taste?
What is the ugali made out of? Bean paste? Sesame?
The kale looks really good!
Hah, Corn! It’s mostly tastless, but not unpleasant. It is truely the simplest food on the planet; grind corn, add water and heat, stir vigorously.