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15 Popular Kenyan Street Foods Compilation in Nairobi

This list is a collection of the fifteen iconic Kenyan street food delights that you definitely must try. While the list may not be comprehensive to the core, the 15 listings are what define and shape the Kenyan Street food culture.

Street foods are not veryyy hygienic so I’m not responsible for stomach upsets that may ensue, remember I’m just a messenger, not the cook. But still, I’m the one who knocks

Not all of the listings are traditional and authentic to Kenyan roots, this post is in popularity. The listings are not ranked in any particular order.

Also, the street food landscape in Mombasa Kenya is different, and the niche foods in Mombasa only will be covered in a separate post.

Kachumbari, referenced multiple times, is a tomato and onion salad sometimes with chopped chilies (raw salsa) used to accompany most of the listed eats.

Content List

  1. Chipo Mwitu
  2. Chapo Smokie
  3. Mutura
  4. Mayai Pasua
  5. Smokie Pasua
  6. Mahindi Choma
  7. Mahindi Chemsha
  8. Bhajia
  9. Viazi Karai
  10. Njugu Karanga
  11. Samosa (Sambusa)
  12. Mshikaki
  13. Virenjee
  14. Nyama Choma
  15. Kenyan Kebab
  16. Chapati
  17. Sim-sim
  18. Sukari-Nguru
  19. Mabuyu

1. Chipo Mwitu (Chips Mwitu)

Chips Mwitu: Street Fries
Chips Mwitu: Street Fries

Price: KSh 100 (per bag)

Okay, this is basically french fries but with a sneaky twist. Spoiler alert, no special procedures are used, but they somehow turn out different. Restaurant-style fries ain’t a match. 

It is rumored that transformer oil is used to fry chips mwitu and that is why they are so good and unique, but I think that is a myth as it is not practical. But people have been arrested and sent to jail for doing that

chips mwitu, transformer oil

It is somehow magical how their production is just bare basic, but the product is way more aromatic and appetizing. 

Also, note that its texture is more on the mushy side. Potatoes are hand peeled, sliced into fries, then deep fried in a deep iron wok heated by wood or charcoal that’s it.

Fries are scooped into a clear plastic bag, and salted and tomato sauce is added; the sauce used is normally watered down and has a thin consistency that coats everything evenly, it is then garnished with shredded cabbage or kachumbari or both.


Smocha, Chapo-Smokie
Smocha, Chapo-Smokie

Cost: KSh 65

The name smocha is derived from the constituent of this wrap; chapatis and smokies. 

It is like a mini burrito but instead, it is filled with kachumbari and a smokie (a precooked smoked sausage) and a chapati (flatbread) is the wrap. 

It is a campus delicacy by street food vendors, especially near universities e.g. Klabu, University of  Nairobi.  

Smocha is probably the most loved item on this list, and I personally swear by it.

Read more about smocha: Kenya’s Newest Food Sensation: Smocha Obsession.

3. Mutura (Blood Sausage)

Mutura, Kenyan Street Sausage
Mutura, Kenyan Street Sausage

Cost: Starting KSh 20

Mutura is a traditional blood-filled sausage using the intestines as a casing, originating from Central Kenya’s Kikuyu community. 

Sometimes soft organs; the liver, kidney, and tripe are chopped into tiny pieces and are used to fill the intestine membrane alongside the blood. 

Intestines are cleaned all through, one end is tied as a knot, then the filling process follows, and the opposite end is tied as well. 

The mutura is then pre-cooked by boiling to make it plump and firm, before finishing off on a smoky charcoal grill. (The smoke gives it its unique barbecue flavor).

Once done, It is then served on a chopping board with chopped-up diced chilies, kachumbari, and salt.

Mutura is notorious for food poisoning, so make sure you get it from a reputable vendor especially the ones next to butcheries. 

Mutura costs as low as KSh 20 for a finger-sized portion, and KSh 50 gets you a more generous portion  

kid named finger, meme

4. Mayai Pasua

Mayai Pasua

 Cost: KSh 25

Also known as mayai boilo, is basically hard boiled egg, unshelled with the back of a spoon slit open into halves with a knife,(but not all the way through) and filled with kachumbari salad, salt, and chilies added and optionally topped with tomato sauce.

5. Smokie Pasua

Smokie Pasua
Smokie Pasua

Cost: KSh 35

Same mechanics as mayai pasua above but here instead of eggs, a ready-to-eat smoked sausage known as smokie is used. 

It is slit open longitudinally (but not all the way through) and filled with kachumbari salad, salted and peppered then optionally topped with a sauce of your choosing; tomato, garlic, or chili sauce. Or a combination of all if you want to.

6. Mahindi Choma (Grilled Maize)

Mahindi Choma, Grilled Maize on Cob
Mahindi Choma, Grilled Maize on Cob

Cost: KSh 30, for 1/3 a piece

Sold along roadsides, it is maize grilled on a charcoal grill that’s about it! It is finished off with chili lemon; chili powder in a bowl and a lemon wedge. 

The wedge is dipped in the chili powder and rubbed against the corn kernels all around for a bursting bussing flavor. 

7. Mahindi Boilo/ Mahindi Chemsha

Mahindi Chemsha, Boiled Maize on Cob
Mahindi Chemsha, Boiled Maize on Cob

 Cost: KSh 30, for 1/3 a piece

Nothing special about this one, just maize on the cob boiled till tender. Salted upon completion or the water that cooks it is salted before for better infusion. 

8. Bhajia

Bhajia, Spicy Fried Potato Slices
Bhajia, Spicy Fried Potato Slices

Cost: KSh 120

These are deep-fried sliced potatoes that are coated in gram flour and spices batter before frying. They are aromatic, presentable, and appetizing, crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. 

9. Viazi Karai

Viazi Karai, Spicy Whole Potato
Viazi Karai, Spicy Whole Potato

Price: KSh 30

For Viazi Karai, potatoes are cooked whole instead of slicings, they are mixed with spice seasonings too. 

Viazi Karai, unlike bhajia, is boiled, seasoned with spices, and then deep-fried until crispy on the outside. 

The distinct flavors and aroma are from the spices; the spice blend consists of; turmeric, cumin, chili, and coriander. Turmeric gives the appetizing yellow-orange color.

10. Njugu Karanga

Njugu Karanga, Groundnuts, Roasted Peanuts
Njugu Karanga, Groundnuts, Roasted Peanuts

 Price: KSh 20

Njugu Karanga is a Swahili name that translates to roasted peanuts or groundnuts….(which is basically it). 

Sold in the streets and crunched on by itself. Variations are; with skin or without skin. They are either prepacked in plastic bags or served straight away in a cone rolled from old newspapers or plain paper. 

11. Samosa

Samosa, Pastry with filling
Samosa, Pastry with filling

Price: KSh 35

Same as Indian samosas but with an African twist; they are either minced meat filled or veggie filled(with spices) cased by a thin pastry, cut into triangles, and deep fried. Samosas here are generally known as sambusa in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia.

Sambusa may be served with kachumbari or chutney as a side, or filled with an opening as illustrated below.

Samosa, Sambusa

Growing up, samosas used to be my second favorite street food just behind the holy chips mwitu; (which probably didn’t have that name back then).

12. Mshikaki

Mshikaki,  Skewed Kebabs
Mshikaki, Skewed Kebabs

Price: KSh 50

Meat skewer consisting of meat and veggies (mostly colored bell peppers) that are marinated and cooked on a charcoal grill. 

The marinade gives a tangy flavor and it’s made from spices and vinegar infused. Usually served with a side of kachumbari.

13. Virenjee

Virenje, Chicken Feet
Virenje, Chicken Feet

Price: From KSh 50

These are chicken feet, throats, and other conventionally unwanted parts that are fried and spiced on the street. 

Virenjee shares the stage and is cooked alongside, chicken heads, necks, wings, goat testicles, and other organs.

Virenje is a Luhya name for chicken feet, as the tribe is known for its good appetite for chicken and ugali dishes. I discovered these existed during my school days in the neighborhood of Ngara in  Nairobi.

14. Nyama Choma

Nyama Choma, Berbecue, Grilled Meat
Nyama Choma, Berbecue, Grilled Meat

Price: From KSh 100

Grilled meat; mostly goat or beef cooked in an open flame, until charred on the outside and well done on the inside(if not congratulations). Goes together with beer at pubs

But on the streets, it is served with kachumbari, boiled whole potatoes, or ugali as a whole meal

15.Kenyan (Swahili) Kebab

Swahili Kebabs, Kenyan Kebabs
Swahili Kebabs, Kenyan Kebabs

 Price: KSh 80

I wonder why it is called a kebab, the closest to the Persian kebab is the mshikaki outlined above (No.12). Swahili Kebab is different.

Minced meat is combined with eggs, spices, chopped veggies, and flour and rolled out into a corn dog shape. After setting it is egg-washed and deep-fried, taken out egg-washed again, and fried.

The process is repeated as egg layers are added, cooked, and crisped out. It is fluffy and crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. 

Kebabs are probably the most filling of the street food and go really well with fries (chips)

Kebabs with Chips
Kebabs with Chips

Swahili Style Kebab Recipe


What is the most popular street food in Kenya? Without a doubt, it is mayai pasua and smokie pasua, they just go hand in hand and are available in every part of the country.

What is mutura in English? Kenyan blood sausage

Is it healthy to eat mutura? mutura is prone to having high levels of bacteria E. coli, which makes sense since it normally lives in the intestines of animals, this is the culprit in causing food poisoning, diarrhea, and vomiting associated with eating mutura. 

E. coli can be denatured if mutura is properly cooked to perfection and completion.

What can you eat viazi karai with? Kachumbari and tomato sauce are the best accompaniments, making it saucy and adding texture.

Why is Nyama Choma important in Kenya? Nyama choma goes beyond just a dish, just like barbecue it brings people together whether it is a family event or a hangout with friends. It is culturally a celebratory dish, as sharing nyama choma is a social activity by itself.

Check all posts from the category: Snacks, Fast Food & Street Food; here.

Related Articles

Why Nairobians Love Street Foods 

Kenya’s Newest Food Sensation: Smocha Obsession.

The Ultimate Guide+Review to Fast Food in Nairobi:(20 Listings)

Kenyan Kebab Recipe: Swahili Style

Kenyan Chips Masala Recipe, (Masala Fries)

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