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Nyama Choma Lunch with Charles and John

Nyama choma is a Swahili phrase that means roasted meat. While visiting Kenya in September 2012, Leslie, Jenna and I took part in a nyama choma lunch at beautiful Gray's Oak Hotel near Kitengela as a special treat from two of our most vital Kenyan gentlemen, John and Charles.

roasted goat nyama chomaRoasting the meat takes a while, so John and Charles placed our order while Leslie, Jenna and I chose a poolside table. We were overjoyed to discover that a wedding party was in the process of capturing photographs on the gorgeous hotel grounds.

wedding party at nyama choma lunchFor our lunch, Charles and John ordered roasted goat (mbuzi) and chicken (kuku). Kachambari, a traditional East African salad of tomatoes, onions and cilantro, was the delicious garnish.

roasted chicken nyama chomaCharles has been producing soapstone products for Swahili for years from his warehouse in Nairobi's industrial neighborhood. John organizes our smaller Kenyan suppliers and together with Charles, orchestrates our container and air shipments leaving Kenya.

Charles in his warehouseBoth John and Charles were trained by the incomparable Alan Donovan of African Heritage as export agents. They regaled us during the meal with stories of being uninitiated young men learning the ropes of design and export under Alan's exacting and sometimes incomprehensible standards.

enjoying lunch

ugali and greensUgali and greens are another traditional side for nyama choma, as well as mukimu, a mixture of boiled potatoes, peas and stinging nettles that really rounded out our meat and starch feast.

Tusker beerTuskers, White Caps and orange juice (for John) were the beverages of choice. We downed a few big bottles of water, too, as we savored our roasted meat and sides.

beautiful little Kenyan boyGray's Oak is a family-oriented destination, and we were delighted by the children swimming, dining and laughing around us. This sweet little boy was transfixed by a drip of water falling from the awning after a mid-meal rain shower.

the joy of friendshipLike our American barbeques, nyama choma is about getting together and enjoying good food and good company. After a long day of designing, we couldn't have been in better hands on that beautiful Kenyan September afternoon. Nyama choma now has a splendid association in our minds.


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