Roast meat, or Nyama as we like to call it, is an essential service. You just have to have Nyama choma as many times as is considered moderate consumption, a metric only defined by oneself.
Good meat is hard to find. When you find it, you actually travel for it and tell all your friends that you just found the best Nyama joint ever! Then you all huddle into your vehicles and head to said location that serves amazing meat. We have all gone to great lengths to find that perfect bite of Nyama. I have never met someone who actually hates Nyama choma. It is like the unifying factor across all walks of life. I dare say the staple food in Kenya.
My regular joint is Kamakis, located on the busy northern bypass. From that location to my current abode is a whopping 20km and yet, I take my pilgrimage with gladness aware that my reward lies in that first bite.
My last experience at my favorite Nyama joint wasn’t so pleasant. The place was surrounded by rowdy youth who I presume have been hired as marketers. They swarmed our vehicle like locusts trying to get us to go to their recommended seller. It felt like we had stepped into an active riot. They employed various tactics which we assume worked on other unsuspecting Nyama buyers. They pulled, pushed, yelled in our ears.
“Siste kuja uonje yangu! Si ni mimi nilikuita wakwanza”
The yelling involved trying to get our attention as well as fighting amongst themselves on if the other person was being too aggressive.
The men were hyper belligerent and now started employing a divide and conquer tactic. Isolating the one who seemed like they had the money and the one who seemed most vulnerable to try and make them influence the decision of the larger group. Very smart but also very ineffective.
Tired of their antiques we left our car and started the Onja Onja Trek. The Onja Onja Trek is where you go from seller to seller tasting the meat before making a decision on what is the best meat to buy. Here are some tips and tricks to help you navigate the tangled marbles of a good roast.
Everyone talks about it. Kenyans will just not shut up about good meat. They won’t. Even when you’re abroad, Kenyans will always direct you to their favorite meat joint back at home. They do it with so much zeal sometimes going as far as drawing maps. If you don’t know what I am talking about, then you’re likely under 25 and can’t relate anyway. Tip one. Listen to Kenyans. They know where all the good meat is.
Tip two, forget ambiance. There will be smoke. There will be rickety chairs and tables and there probably will be a one-man guitar band with screeching microphones. The dingier the place looks, the better the meat. This is a legitimate fact. If you don’t agree, please go argue with your ancestors.
Good meat doesn’t need “Salt for down”, “chumvi ya chini”, This means it is well seasoned and when it is served, you need not add salt. It will just be tasty as is. This is a very important thing to note when doing the Onja Onja trek. The meat needs to be tasty without accompaniments and extras.
It also needs to be tender and juicy when carving and not as dry as BBI jokes. Moist and glistening fat pieces should be seen. The meat needs to look like it was raised in a loving home and had an extremely privileged upbringing. If the meat doesn’t elicit pride in your African heritage when you eat it, if that meat doesn’t encourage you to speak in your mother tongue regardless of your ethnicity and if that meat doesn’t demand you take a cold beverage or beer AFTER your meal, then that wasn’t good meat. Good meat must do all the above, simultaneously.
Finally, good meat must coerce you to eat more than you would because you must experience a food coma after that meal. Good meat will triple your appetite and distend your belly like you are pregnant with twins. If your shirt or dress doesn’t fit a little snug after having Nyama, kindly ask for a refund from those thieving charlatans.
I am very invested in my meat. I love meat. I love people who love meat. I have never been friends with people that make meat because meat buying is always a bit transactional, just like prostitution. You go to your regular, you pay, you get it good. Rona ruined everything though. So here I was, Daughter of Wanjiru, experiencing the worst Nyama dry spell ever, because of Miss Rona. I’d dream dreams of going to my usual joint getting enough meat to last me the entire bloody lockdown period. They were wet dreams, as I would wake up and find my pillow soaked wet from my drool. Marooned in the house, feelings of despair begun to creep over me. Then I saw Kenyans on Twitter Raving, roving, bleating, and screeching about the Meat guy, who delivers all from their meat temptations with his succulent steaks and African sausages (Muturas). Ty, of Zulu Meats.
I have to admit I was apprehensive. Meat on the TL doesn’t sound like a great idea actually sound as bad of an idea as it is to jump from a building using an umbrella as your parachute, I digress. I had seen many testimonies of the goodness of his meat, and I too wanted to experience my own healing.
I hit his DMs like the dead weight from tonne of bricks and ordered 2KGs of roast Goat meat. I casually mentioned dinner was at 6pm though to be honest I didn’t expect that it would be on time given all the anarchy I have experienced with online sellers.
To my surprise, at 4 pm, my roast goat arrived. The 2-hour wait for dinner time felt like an eternity. When I finally unwrapped it, there it was in all its glory, a glistening, juicy shank of meat. My knife was useless in trying to carve it because the meat was falling off the bone. It was so well marinated and roasted, it didn’t need extra seasoning. I made a small piece of ugali and some salsa but to be honest we only ate the meat. I slept belly up, satisfied knowing fully well that if I do not achieve anything else this Lockdown, I have at least had a taste of Zulu Meats, and that in itself is enough.
This man Ty of Zulu Meats is the way, the truth and the life of good meat. We shall hereby call him the Meat Messiah. I abandoned my tweets and followed him to meat heaven. If you have not accepted him as Lord and Saviour of your roast meat, then you are not living according to the purpose that you were created. Seriously, all hail Ty, The Meat Messiah.