The best way to explore Kilifi is by trying the local dishes. Kilifi is known for its grand hospitality and it offers a wide variety of culinary options which makes the Kilifi cuisine unique and spectacular. The locals spice their meals to create the perfect flavour, aroma and colour. With a combination of the Mijikenda and Swahili influences, Kilifi food will take you on an unforgettable culinary journey. Here are the 10 dishes for distinctive Kilifi flavours, packed with heart and soul.
1. Coconut Bean Soup (Maharagwe ya nazi)
Kilifi has an abundance of coconuts and one of the most regularly, enjoyed dishes on the creek town is the Maharagwe ya Nazi. Coconut Bean Soup is prepared from beans and coconut milk. It is then seasoned with pepper, spices and salt. The dish is rich in nutrient and perfect for vegetarians. It’s sumptuous and loved by both locals and foreigners, and it will awake your taste buds if they are dead.
2. Biriani ya Kilifi
Biriani is also a popular meal in Kilifi. Biriani is popular across the coast region but Biriani ya Kilifi is unique. The rice is prepared in Kilifi style, with a variety of spices and blended with fish curry or meat. The curry dishes and rice are cooked separately before they are combined to give you a complete dish. Most local eateries prepare Biryani ya Kilifi on Fridays.
3. Wali Na Maharage
Wali Na Maharage is an ultimate dish of rice and beans. This traditional Kilifi meal is delicious and decadent. The rice is cooked with oil or coconut milk to give to a creamy flavour, the beans are also cooked till they are mushy. The meal is usually seasoned with a variety of spices including cinnamon, cumin, cloves, pepper and cardamom.
4. Mchuzi wa pweza (Octopus Curry)
Octopus is sometimes referred to as the super seafood for the belief that it boosts libido. It is one of the revered seafood you will find in most hotels and street eateries. The octopus is prepared in a combination of spices like coriander, turmeric, and then, simmered in thick creamy coconut gravy. Once you get used to Octopus Curry, it is difficult to do without it. There’s no way you can leave Kilifi without trying this stylish meal.
5. Viazi Karai-Fried potatoes
Viazi Karai is a popular meal in Kilifi, can be used as a snack or side dish served along a meal. It’s the locals’ favourite snack, delicious and nutritious. The potatoes are usually prepared by adding a pinch of salt and wheat flour before frying it.
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6. Kilifi Pilau Rice
The aroma of Pilau rice will hit you from a distance. It is one of the dishes you will find in fancy restaurants and local eateries. Pilau Rice is different from biryani because everything is cooked together. It is more spice flavoured and drier than biriani.
Ugali is the most common staple dish in East Africa and must-try meal in Kilifi. It is difficult to compare this meal made from maize flour and water to any meal, but we can say it is a cross between mashed potatoes and polenta. It is dough-like in nature and can be eaten by breaking it and mashing it like a ball before it is dipped into a saucy dish. You can eat it with a local soup called Mchuzi or with Nyama Choma, grilled meat.