ENCOUNTERS OF MNAZI AND KINYOLO WHILE EXPLORING GIRIAMA FOOD CULTURE IN KILIFI KENYA.
When I travel to a new place I always try to sample some local cuisines and brew. I believe it’s a great way to quickly get to know a culture or people plus good food is always a celebration. While in Kilifi I opted to try some Mnazi wine; a fermented coconut wine some Giriama food, the local cuisine of the area. The Giriama are one of the 9 ethnic groups that make up the Mijikenda.The Mijikenda occupy coastal Kenya with the Giriama being the largest of this ethnic group.
Alice from Distant Relatives helped me and Lynette get a guide who would take us on a brief village walk and help us on our pursuit of said food and wine. His name is Saidi. Saidi picked us up and we bee lined straight to the wine place. We walked into someone’s compound where an old man disappeared into one of the huts, emerging later with a large bottle full of white liquid. Our wine was fresh so to speak, about one day old. He proceeded to pour us a sample in a make shift recycled cup and a homemade wooden straw with some sisal attached at the bottom. A filter he called it. Now I’ll just tell you it wasn’t the cleanest of cups and only Buddha truly knows where that straw has been. Blowing a little bug that flew in and died instantly upon contact to the side, we tasted it. Mnazi wine reeks! Think of something weird, like duck balls or something. That’s what it smells like. The key is to not inhale cause you just might not make it! Strangely however, it tastes really good .Honestly, I liked it. It has a mildly sour coconut taste. We said thank you and continued on our merry way. We had a brief walk chatting with Saidi about this and that. He then took us to this beautiful flower garden his brother owns that had the most excellent view of the sun setting below. It was incredible. Kenyan music from some invisible speakers and the sun setting, Lynette and I whipped out our wine and went about getting comfortable as we waited for our food. This would have been perfect where it not for the mosquitoes. I swear Kilifi mossies are on an entirely different mission. Saidi did provide some repellant that took a whole 9 minutes to kick in, the agony!
A short while later the food arrived. A very impressive spread I tell you. Ugali, Chapati, Greens, Coconut beans, roast chicken, rice and Kinyolo; a banana, moringa and flour mixture) this food was incredible! Especially the kinyolo. I must find a way of recreating this back home. Good and stuffed we finished the rest of our wine watching the sky darken.
I don’t know what I was expecting but this was above and beyond. If you’re ever in Kilifi give this a go. Get on your eating pants and carry your bug spray. The tour runs for 1200Ksh.The village tour is 400Ksh while the food tour is 800Ksh.Thank you Saidi for sharing that wonderful experience with us.