Sunday August 29, 2010

NAIROBI, KENYA – Here we are – out last day in Kenya. We went on a “food safari” in local markets with Hubert des Marais (an American from the Carolinas), a prominent chef who has become Fairmont’s executive chef in Kenya (or maybe East Africa). Our first stop was a large covered farmers’ market where local residents bring vegetables grown on plots in Nairobi.

Food Market

Cell phones are the primary means of communications; many residents lack electric power so business that offer the charge cell phones, like this one in the market, are common.

A cell phone charging service in the market

There’s a food court in the food market where it possible to buy lunch. The word “hotel” on the sign means “restaurant” in this context.

The largest foreign food influence is Indian. The Indians were brought in by the English to build the railroad from Mombasa to Lake Victoria. Indians also came to the region as traders, merchants and professionals. Here we see an Indian pastry shop.

An indian pastry shop

This is a former aircraft hanger, from the era when the airstrip was in the middle of Nairobi, converted to a mall for small merchants.

Shops

Hubert des Marais at lunch at Chowpaty, a terrific Indian dive. In terms of Indian regional cuisines, what we appeared to see was everything pretty much mixed together.

Hubert des Marais

Finally before packing for our flight back to New York we managed a few hours in the Nairobi National Museum. It focuses on primarily on natural history, ethnography and geology, geared roughly to a high school student. Here is a group of high school students lined up for admission:

Nairobi National Museum