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Top 9 East African Street Foods

Street food is cheap and can be found almost everywhere. With changing lifestyle and very competitive economies, street food vending has become a very popular business and part of our culture. Of course, the menu and cuisine is different everywhere but here are the Top East African street snacks which are my personal favourites.

9. Roast Corn

It is popularly known by its Swahili name, “Mahindi choma”. This is basically made from a full maize cob that is roasted over a charcoal grill. It is very common in Kenya and Tanzania.

8. Boiled eggs with salad

This is mostly vended in Kenya and known as “egg pasua”. Pasua is a Kiswahili word which means break. The boiled egg has its shell removed and is cut into two with the salad placed in the middle. It may seem normal to you but the most special part about this snack is the salad. The salad is known as “kachumbari”. It is made from fresh tomatoes and onions. Sometimes the salad may include pepper and lemon.

7. Beef skewers

These are commonly known as “mshikaki” .It is very popular in the East African coast and Mombasa. It is very much associated with Swahilis. Mshikaki is very easy to make. It is just marinated beef that is slightly roasted. This snack is very tasty. It would have made top three in this list if it wasn’t for the fact that it is slightly pricier than the average street food.

6. Smokies with salad

This is very similar to the egg pasua. In fact, it is called “smokie pasua”. The smokie pasua is made of smokies split in between to place the salad, kachumbari.

5. Fries on Eggs


This meal is very popular in Tanzania. It is a bit on the pricier side but totally worth it and very filling. Like the name suggests, it is made of fries placed on fried eggs to make one. Tanzanians call it “chips mayai”, because mayai means eggs and most East African residents call fries, “chips”.

4. Bhajia

Bhajia is made from dipping sliced potatoes into a paste of your choice that has gram flour as the main ingredient. It is then deep-fried in oil and ready for consumption. This food is popular at the Coastal areas.

3. Rolex

Rolex is an East African delight, popular in Uganda. It comes from the term “roll eggs”. Get it? It comprises of fried eggs rolled inside a chapatti. Chapatti is a popular Indian cuisine that has been greatly accepted all over.  It is made from round flattened dough fried over a pan. For a twist, onions, tomatoes and pepper are added to it.

2. Samosas

The samosa is said to have originated in Central Asia. It has grown quite popular over the years. It is a fried pastry with a filling of spiced mincemeat. In east Africa, samosa have been variated to not only have mincemeat fillings but also mashed potatoes, spiced green grams and vegetable salads. Sometimes, it is served with kachumbari by the more competitive street food vendors. Some people may call it “ sambusa” but it is still the same.

1. Boerewors

Boerewors is commonly known as “mutura” in East Africa. It is a type of sausage that has different kinds of meat from beef to pork to mutton. The list is long and quite honestly, most people don’t even know what is in mutura. They just eat it because it and questions later.  It is not only affordable but tasty too. Too good to be true.

With these snacks, there is no reason to wonder why one would choose not to eat in a restaurant. The best food is found not in fancy restaurants, but in the carts and stalls lining busy streets and quiet alleys.


Written by How Africa

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