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Judging the 8 Most Hated Kenyan Foods

Welcome, to this exploration of Kenya’s most controversial dishes! In this blog post, we’re diving fork-first into the world of misunderstood and maligned foods that have sparked debates if they should really exist, and why they are hated, and I will give personal verdicts on each.

Let’s get started!


8. Matumbo (Tripe & Intestines)

Matumbo, Tripe
Matumbo, Tripe

Ah, the delicacy that’s not for the faint of heart, or stomach. 

Matumbo, with its chewy texture and distinct aroma, has earned itself a special place on the list of most-hated Kenyan foods. It takes guts to appreciate this dish, pun intended!

Verdict: Hate is justified

While I personally love matumbo, I understand why many people will hate it, I mean it gives you all the reasons to hate it.

Starting with the stinky smell(even when cooked), chewy rubbery texture, and weird textures of rough and soft pieces, and also appearance, looks like Resident Evil food.

You can, however, work around to love matumbo, if your turn-off is the smell, then soak it in water and add vinegar or lemon juice,

Read: Recipe: Matumbo, Kenyan Tripe and Intestines Delicacy


7. Nderema (Vine Spinach)

Nderema, Vine Spinach
Nderema, Vine Spinach

Some might say, “Spinach is spinach,” but oh, how wrong they are.  Nderema is common in Western and Nyanza parts of Kenya; 

It normally grows on its own as a weed, especially on the fences and near rivers where it threads on trees, hence the name “vine” and its resemblance to baby spinach, thus “vine spinach”

Nderema with its slimy consistency and acquired taste, often finds itself pushed to the side of the plate – and sometimes straight into the bin.

Verdict: Hate is justified

I used to hate it as a kid, but now It doesn’t bother me, the texture is way off, it is slimy and slippery like you’re ingesting a snail, and it is disgusting. But tastewise? It is delish!


6. Githeri

Githeri
Githeri

Githeri usually leaves many wondering if there’s a secret ingredient missing – flavor. Githeri sounds low effort yes, just boil and stew beans and maize together, but does it taste good when you cook it properly? YES!

Verdict: Hate is Unjustified

Githeri isn’t that bad, you only hate it because it was you ate all your school life, grow up now and get over it! 

Try different ways like using green maize and beans instead of dried ones, or if you have to use dried maize then shell the skins off to have a different twist on the githeri

Importantly try pairing it with avocado, it is sooo good, personally, githeri is the only food that upscales upon the addition of avocado.


5. Malenge (Pumpkin)

Sad Pumpkin
Sad Pumpkin

Malenge, often relegated to the role of a reluctant side dish, struggles to win over hearts despite its rich nutritional value, especially in the seeds. 

Maybe it’s the eerie resemblance to baby food that puts people off.

Verdict: Hate is unjustified

People hate it because they prepare it the wrong way, try exploring different pumpkin recipes that don’t involve just boiling it.

I don’t like pumpkin that much either but I feel like it doesn’t deserve the hate, try pumpkin soup for instance next time you are at a restaurant. 


4. Cabbage

Sad Cabbage

Ah, cabbage, the vegetable that’s as loved as a rainy day in Kenya. It’s like the distant cousin of broccoli and cauliflower.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a gourmet meal featuring cabbage—Well, unless you count coleslaw, but let’s be honest, that’s just cabbage’s attempt at being relevant, thanks to the mayo.

And personally, I don’t fancy coleslaw either. The next best use of cabbage will be in stir-fries and salads.

While some culinary wizards can transform it into something edible, for most of us, it’s just a sad and cheap excuse for greens.

But hey, it’s not all bad. There are apparently multiple ways to cook cabbage, though stewing definitely ain’t it

Give sautéing a shot with a bit of butter, water, salt, and pepper, and you might just uncover its hidden sweet side.

Verdict: Hate is justified

Cabbage is a bit of a miss veggie—hated when paired with ugali, but acceptable when alongside rice and chapati. 

So, maybe cabbage isn’t the worst after all. Just make sure you’ve got some good company (and maybe a hefty dose of seasoning) to make it bearable.


3. Njahi ( Black Beans)

Black Beans,Njahi
Black Beans,Njahi

While beans generally get a bad rap; (kidney beans, red beans, rosecoco beans, black-eyed peas, chili beans), black beans take the crown for repulsiveness.

I personally don’t fancy most beans, but that doesn’t mean I hate them. Something about the texture, I just can’t seem to like them. I will however eat them sometimes.

Beans are notorious for bloating stomachs and causing issues which is why beans are mostly hated and not for the taste. Black beans however are hated for both, to me have little to no taste, and possibly the unappealing black soup.

I’ve given black beans every opportunity to win me over, prepared by a multitude of cooks, and yet, I just can’t stand them.

Verdict: Hating on them seems a bit harsh.

Trying to eat well with less meat. It seems like beans are hailed as the ultimate nutritious non-meat cheap food.

But let’s face it, it’s all about the spices. Black beans simply serve as vessels for flavor, so look into a variety of recipes and experiment with different spices.


2. Kunde (Cowpeas Leaves)

Kunde
Kunde

Kunde, the vegetable that seems to have missed the memo on flavor. With its bitter taste and stringy texture, it’s no wonder Kunde finds itself at the top of the hate list.

I hated this as a kid, it’s that vegetable that is so chewy, chewy like a bubblegum, I never touched it in years. on top of that it is bland and has no good taste

Verdict: Hate is justified

 This vegetable should just stay in the forest where it belongs, there is no preparation way that could redeem it since the problem is the texture which cannot be altered, unlike flavor. 


1. Omena

Omena
Omena

Omena, the infamous “chakula ya paka” (cat food), is beloved by few, and despised by many. 

Whether it’s the pungent aroma, bitter taste, or the miniature size that puts people off, or the fact that the eyes of the fish are open and watching you devour it, whatever it is… omena has earned its place as the ultimate supervillain of Kenyan cuisine.

Verdict: Hate is Unjustified!

Omena is good, it is only hated because most people do not know how to correctly prepare it, try some prepared by your Luo friend or communities from the Lake regions and you will re-evaluate your hate

Read: How to Cook Omena: Step-by-Step Recipe (With or Without Milk)


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