Saturday, 5 September 2009


As you walk through just about any town in Kenya, there will be hawkers and street traders offering you just about anything you could possibly want, or not.

Favourite among the goods is fruit and vegetables. These are piled in pyramid shapes on colourful blankets at the side of the road, where they get a liberal coating of diesel deposits from the passing traffic. But, no matter.

But this isn't the issue. What I found is that bananas are small, as much as half the size of those usually found in a British supermarket. But, unlike those sold here (in the UK), they are yellow all over, not a hint of green skin, and they are sweet. The flavour of these 'picked off the tree when they are ripe' fruits is unbelievable to those used to eating the 'picked green and ripened whilst in transit' fruits.

And it is not just bananas. In Kisii, where I spend most of my time when in Kenya, there are piles and piles of oranges. This is a mis-nomer. They are not orange at all. They are almost as yellow as grapefruit, and if you were offered them at Tescos (other supermarkets are available), you would turn your nose up.

But they are good. Sweet, juicy and delicious, despite their skins indicating the contrary.

You will never buy a pineapple with any hint of green on the skin. They are bright orange, and again, so sweet and tasty, you will wonder why you ever bothered to eat the sour fruit offered in the UK.

Avocados are ready to eat. There is no need to "ripen" them at home. Corn on the cob is delicious, roasted over a charcoal burner with no butter. I didn't think I would like it, but it is so succulent, it doesn't need anything added to it. And the vendor will thoughtfully leave some stalk on it for use as a handle as you nibble your way around the cob.

Little of the produce would pass muster in Europe because it is misshapen, or the wrong colour, but everything I have eaten in Kenya has a flavour we in the UK could only dream about.

So, if you are planning a trip to Africa, don't be put off by the shape or colour of the fruits on offer, unless, of course the colour is black from the diesel deposits!


DC9FO said...

I have to agree to what you are writing.
If you ever eat that fresh fruit you will always remember that taste when you are back home in europe and you shure will miss it.


Dad Mzungu said...

I try to imagine that the 'bananas' I eat here are as tasty as those in Africa.
When I can no longer imagine, I return to Kenya.


well, kenya is my country but this are some of the things inscribed in our hearts. am following this smart space

meet em at my blog

Mwangi Muthiora