There is no singular dish that represents all of Kenya. The food is mainly traditional and nearly all of Kenya's tribes boast a specific meal as their very own staple food. The food in Kenya is based on fresh and local ingredients, along with goat, beef and chicken, and fish from freshwater lakes and the Indian Ocean. Due to Kenya's long-standing relationship with foreign settlers and its colonization by the British, the taste, cooking methods and presentation of its foods have been greatly influenced by the Indians, Arabs, Europeans and Pakistanis as well as some western countries.
Traditional Kenyan foods reflect the many different lifestyles of the various groups in the country. Most Kenyan dishes are filling and inexpensive to make. Staple foods consist mainly of corn, maize, potatoes, and beans. Ugali (a porridge made of maize) and meat are typically eaten inland, while the coastal peoples eat a more varied diet.
Traditional food has evolved to incorporate a little bit of the exotic – spicy aromas and the delights of coconut milk blend with introduced foods from faraway lands.
Breakfast in Kenya consists mostly of a thin porridge called Uji which is taken with a cup of tea or chai (spiced tea of Indian origin). In some regions bread is also served which could be a type of flat bread (a chapatti of Indian origin), or a heavier fried bread like a doughnut called mahamrithat is made with coconut milk. A fuller meal could include potatoes or sweet potatoes (otherwise known as kumaras or yams).
The staple ingredient for lunch and dinner is a type of stiff, starchy porridge called Ugali. This cornmeal can be shaped into a ball for dipping, used as a wrap to pick up meat or shaped into a scoop. Ugali is usually eaten with all kinds of stews, meat, fish or vegetables. Greens are added to the stews or cooked as an accompaniment and come from cabbage (or kale), the leaves of pumpkin, cocoyam and cassava plants.
As regards drinks chai is a favourite tea-time beverage but another local drink is a type of buttermilk called maziwa lala. Coffee is also available as well as locally brewed beers.