The way to a Kenyan's heart is through his stomach. Chinese restaurants are offering Kenyans diverse cuisine to their taste buds.
Eliud Ekiring is a chef who has worked at Fang Fang, a Chinese restaurant in Nairobi, for seven years. He learned the Chinese cuisine as a quite exotic skill, just because he loves it.
As most of his local colleagues did, he has learned the art through experience while serving in the kitchen under the tutelage of the Chinese restaurant owners. It took him about six months to be fully compliant in the skill.
"Although I cannot say that I can cook all types of Chinese foods, I am very conversant with those that are served in the eating place. However, given a recipe, it wouldn't take me long to come up with a tasty meal," Ekiring said.
More and more Chinese restaurants pop up in Kenya, especially in Nairobi, an indication that the Chinese presence in Kenya is not only technological, but also gastronomical.
With food averaging 15 U.S. dollars in price in Fang Fang, the culinary outings are restricted more to the middle class and upper class Kenyans. Weekends have seen business thrives as mostly Kenyan customers take their families out.
Jacob Lukaka, a lecturer at the Confucius Institute at the University of Nairobi and also a gourmet, found the consonance between the Chinese food and Kenyan food.
"The community where I come from has a craving for chicken. When I was in China, I found out that chicken is a very popular delicacy in the country and hence my favorite dish was spiced chicken and noodles," he said.
To him, the Chinese food is also a reminiscence of his good days in China. He studied Chinese language and culture at Tianjin Normal University for four years before returning to Kenya.
"My Chinese workmate introduced me to their oriental cuisine, and ever since, I have become a frequent patron of Chinese eating places," Martin Obiero, a patron, told Xinhua at a Chinese restaurant in Nairobi.
"During lunchtime, for me it is usually a battle of wits between choosing nyama choma (roast meat) or chicken soaked in Shaoxing wine. More often than not, it is the latter choice that prevails," Obiero, an IT technician at a Chinese-owned company said.