*Nyama choma, which means “roasted meat” in Kiswahili, is considered a Kenyan national dish.
Many Kenyans celebrate events both big (birthdays) and small (payday) by going out for nyama choma. So when one of my husband’s coworkers decided to leave the organization, we knew it was time to take him out for nyama choma to celebrate his accomplishments.
Here’s what I learned about eating nyama choma:
- It’s the perfect meal for those on the South Beach/Atkins diet because it involves roasted meat, and maybe some vegetables, if you’re so inclined.
- Nyama choma restaurants abound, so be sure to get recommendations for the best place to go.
- Unlike typical steakhouses, a nyama choma restaurant will let you choose your meat, and then will roast it for you.
- Try ordering a variety of meats; the goat is actually quite tasty.
- Be prepared to wait (roasting a kilo of raw meat takes some time).
- Tusker, the national beer of Kenya, pairs well with roasted meat.
- Most people eat nyama choma with their hands, so it’s always wise to wash up before chowing down.
- There will be plenty of fat and gristle left on the meat, but it’s ok to take the fat out of your mouth and leave it on your plate or napkin.
- Popular side dishes include sukuma wiki (boiled kale), ugali (corn porridge that’s so thick it can be sliced), kachumbari (a salsa-like dish), and french fries.
- And if you’re really craving that roasted meat flavor, but just don’t have time for the full nyama choma experience, pick up a bag of nyama choma-flavored potato chips.