Food & Drinks

Pleasant time at Kibera Kuku Joint


Braised chicken legs. PHOTO | NYT

A reader who lives and works in Kutus, Kerugoya, has always held an open drink invite for me whenever I’m in her town. As it turned out, last week I was on my way to the mountain so I dropped in. Only I was on antibiotics so she said, "I will buy you the best chicken of your life.”

We met at Kibera Kuku Joint. It’s a famous joint, she told me, an institution like Njuguna’s Bar in Nairobi. There is legend around it.

It reminded me a bit like any local small town joint; gazebos, hard waitresses, beer advertisements painted on walls. The chicken was something else when it came. First, it was kienyeji chicken which I’m not a fan of because I have gums of an invalid. Plus I have two fake teeth and two missing molars so I hate to tag at meat because my teeth might remain on it.

The chicken was covered in a broth and big chunks of kale. In the looks department, it didn’t inspire much. Afraid to offend my hostess I picked through it cautiously. The broth had a nice chilli bite though. At some point she could tell I was struggling.

I gave up on it at some point, but I loved our conversation. We talked about politics a bit because we are Kenyans.

What stood out for me from that bar was a radio that was playing loudly. A man who sounded like a preacher was rattling on passionately in Kikuyu. He sounded like he was preaching because I heard ‘Ngai’ a few times. He was alone in the studio but undeterred he kept on talking and talking and often breaking into a song. He was infectious. I asked my hostess who he was and what that station was. “That’s Muturi Wa Mwiru,” she said. “Inooro FM.” What a guy!

He’s what I remember of that lunch; not that chicken, not the ambience, just that one man hollering from an old radio at Kibera Kuku joint, talking and talking and singing and singing and having a jolly good time alone.