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Kenyan Cuisine's owners know their culinary heritage is downright extraterrestrial in Orange County, a place that has a miniscule African-American population, let alone an African one; to help, they've taken the extraordinary step of providing a glossary to explain every item on the menu. So don't be intimidated when the accompanying sides for the delicately sautéed chicken are your choice of chapati, ugali or wali and sukumi wiki or mboga; they're just flat bread, cornmeal mush, white rice, collard greens and pickled cabbage, respectively. It's a limited menu-12 main dishes and three appetizers-but here be hearty meals that taste primordially familiar, a back-and-forth between meats and veggies.
Samosas are usually stuffed with meat and spices and deep-fried. They are very popular in areas that were part of the Spice Route - India, Southeast Asia, Arabian Peninsula, Mediterranean, and Africa. It generally consists of a fried or baked triangular, semilunar or tetrahedral pastry shell with a savory filling, which may include spiced potatoes, onions, peas, coriander, and lentils, or ground lamb or chicken. Kenyan Café offers beef or lentils and cheese. The beef samosas are to die for! Think of an empanada or wonton but better. The spices that are used to flavor the beef definitely taste of Indian and Asian influence. The outer crust reminds me of crispy wonton or gyoza. The ground beef reminds me of an Asian meat filling with green onions and spices. I could eat these all night long because they are addictive. Thumbs up, way up!
Obama Meal is fried tilapia on a bed of freshly cooked sauce. The tilapia was whole and perfectly fried. The fish was tender and fall-off-the-bone delicious. The sauce was light and added a textural dimension to the fish. The presentation was beautiful! No fighting over who gets the eyeballs! Roll up the fish in the chapati (unleavened flatbread similar to naan in Indian cuisine) for a unique eating and flavor experience. Thumbs up, way up!
Vegetarian Combo Dish is a delicious hearty and filling meal of lentils, githeri (corn and beans boiled together and served as a stew), collard greens, and cabbage with your choice of chapati, ugali (simple staple made from corn or maize flour and water, similar to grits in flavor, but much more doughy), or rice. This is a vegetarian’s paradise. The lentils were cooked to perfection and stewed with spices and vegetables. The collard greens were braised but still green. These have to be the best collard greens - better than any Southern-style collard greens that I’ve ever had. The cabbage was a surprise. It was sweet and didn’t even taste like cabbage. It was scrumptious! The githeri is like a vegetarian chili with beans and spices. It went great with the rice. Thumbs up, way up!
Mbuzi Karanga (Lamb Stew) is a tasty meal of lamb stew in a blend of Kenyan spices and herbs. The lamb was tender fell off of the bone. The Kenyan spices were amazing! The ugali was an interesting vehicle to use to grab your food. It had a faint corn flavor to it, but the texture reminded me of stiff mashed potatoes. Use it to soak up all of the stew juices. You don’t want to waste a drop! Thumbs up, way up!
I am so excited that I found this hidden gem! My husband is from Kenya, and we traveled there last year. We have missed Kenyan food so much! But then we found this place!!! It is the real deal folks. The chef said he came to the USA less than a year ago. And the food (right down to the T) was exactly like it is in Kenya. If you want to see what real African food is like, go to Kenyan Cuisine!
Savannah SmilesMore proof Anaheim is the county’s best city for foreign food: OC’s first Kenyan restaurant. It’s in a strip mall that’s turning into a Little East Africa (with an Ethiopian joint and African clothing store among its neighbors) and... More »
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