Food & Drinks

Culinary Delights on Wheels

 Grillz on Wheelz food truck
Grillz on Wheelz food truck. PHOTO | DIANA MUTHEU | NMG 

A few metres from the ocean in a serene relaxing spot called English Garden in Old Town, Mombasa, a colourful truck sits parked on the pavement.

As I move towards the truck, my nose is met by the aroma of the culinary delights being prepared in the truck dubbed Grillz on Wheelz.

The food truck is one of the latest additions to the growing dining culture in the coastal city.

Inside the truck is Chef Matano Rumba busy turning some chicken cooking on a griddle machine as customers queue patiently, waiting to be served.

"In a few you are going to enjoy the best from GW (Grillz on Wheelz)," the bubbly chef says to the customers.


The truck is the brainchild of Jameel Nabhan, founder of Grilz on Wheelz. Living in the United States of America, he saw the fast food business on vans and other vehicles booming there.

Most of these trucks were found in many of the larger cities. Food trucks have taken a front seat in the world of American street food and are part of an ongoing food revolution.

On his return to his hometown of Mombasa, Nabhan decided to venture into the food truck business.

"I started early this year. In Mombasa, I see there is potential for the business to thrive because the idea is not yet exploited. So far people in city are appreciating what we are doing and it is evident through good comments and reviews we get in our social media pages. We are also learning," Nabhan says adding that the delivery service they introduced is also a major boost.

In the four by two and half metre truck, fireplace is not the only thing-it is a full kitchenette. On the left side as you enter the truck is a preparation table where all the ingredients are chopped to the right size. Also, serving and wrapping of the food is done here.

Underneath the prep table are some cabinets adding to the storage. On far end is a griddle, where the burgers are made and also a deep fryer. In addition is a ventilation area that allows smoke to find its way out. The right side has a special machine for making the shawarmas and a fridge.

"One has to buy the truck, register it, get the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) approval, meet all the requirements needed by the county government, the health department among others before being operational." he adds saying that one should be ready to spend hundreds of thousands before actualizing the project.

Grillz on Wheelz food truck

Head chef Ali Nassir (left), chef Matano Rumba (Centre) and chef David Ngiti who work at Grillz on Wheelz food truck. PHOTO | DIANA MUTHEU | NMG

The GW food truck boast of selling Shawarmas which have a touch of the coastal people and also a Turkish vibe. They refer to them as tantuni, as they originated from Southern turkey.

Also, GW burgers and sliders(Mini-burgers) are other statement food at the truck. Fries cannot miss in the list and also one can try out sweet potato chips.

Fresh juice is also available. On this day I quenched my thirst with a cold mixture of lemon, mint and cucumber juice. Their prices range from Sh50 to Sh350 depending on what one wants to eat.

They are mostly stationed at the Central Business District, near Makadara grounds.

The business has three chefs, Ali Nassir, the head cook, aided by Chef David Ngiti and Rumba.

"We also market through word of mouth and our website. Also, we get all kind of customers young to elderly through referrals. To meet a larger crowd, we started catering for birthday parties and weddings,"Mr Nabhan adds.

They also capture the attention of the customers through limited offers.

"For instance during Ramadhan period, business was slow because majority of the population were fasting. We introduced offer where if you buy three burgers you get one for free and we made huge sales, especially after the Muslim faithful were breaking fast," he adds.