How to eat mtura like a pro

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Kenyans’ love for mutura is so unshakeable, that not even government warnings of disease outbreaks caused by contaminated water or food, would stop us from devouring this delicacy. The famed African sausage has an allure that makes one forget its questionable contents, leave alone how and where it is prepared. We eat it, get the runs and go back to get more. It is addictive. To savour the full benefits of mutura, however one has to observe these unwritten rules:

1.      Kuhara si kesi

You don’t file a medical case or threaten to call the cops because you got stomach upset or had diarrhoea for three days non-stop after eating mutura. “Hakuna kesi hapo.” The rule is once you fall in love with mutura, get a solid plan to tackle stomachaches and kuhara. It comes as a package, including several trips to the toilet a day or two later.

2.      Ask no questions about ingredients

“Of course, ni nyama” is the response you will get if you ask about the contents. Form ni just buy, munch it and wait for the outcome. Mutura is not made from pricey steak. Don’t be surprised if the ingredients include the udder or other offal. Just enjoy every bite.

3.      Stale kachumbari is normal

Mutura is not complete without some kachumbari which has pilipili kwa mbali. It is offered for free and in abundance but should you suspect it is stale, don’t raise a ruckus about it or try to spit it out. That is normal. That kachumbari was prepared hours earlier or a rotten tomato may have found its way there. The rule is you eat or decline it but “Ukanyangie hio stori”.

4.      Roadside affair

A jiko, table and chopping board completes the mutura business. It is an outdoor thing and these are what attract customers in droves. Lots of decorum and a neat locale makes it appear pricey, driving wateja away. This stuff is a two-minute chew and go.

5.      No hand-washing

We are talking about a delicacy prepared and served in the open or under some sack-thatched shed. Don’t expect the seller to be in a sparkling white bib apron and a chef’s hat. Be prepared to be served by a sweat-soaked man in oily clothes and most likely will not wash his hands after collecting money. So, don’t question his cleanliness. Just eat or “Kanyaga makubwa”.

6.      Serviette ni gazeti

In mutura dens, don’t expect services close to even the cheapest hotels in your shagz. So, once you have munched the thing, don’t ask “Nitanawa wapi?” or “Can I get some serviettes please?”. You will be lucky to get some old newspaper cuttings to use to wipe your hands. Just swab the remnants on your hair and be on your way.

7.      Evening deal

Utamu ya mutura is having it late in the evening or at night, especially after a long day out. It brings a feeling of winding up a hectic day as you ask the guy “Mtaa imeshindaje?” as if you’re in your local bar. Another reason why jioni is the best deal is so you don’t get a clear glimpse of ingredients and the wanting hygiene. And in case you develop tummy issues, you have the whole night to get over the stomach upset.

8.      Buy kidogo kidogo

If you want to enjoy it, buy it in small bits. You don’t make an order of Sh50 or Sh100 at once. Hapo utachezwa. The trick is to ask for Sh10 a piece, then Sh20, another for 10 bob, and so on while engaging the vendor in a conversation. It is a ploy that in the end offers you a bigger piece compared to a lumpsum one bought at the same cost.

9.      Appreciate houseflies

Mutura den is not a model of cleanliness. Houseflies are part of the deal. They say a mutura joint without nzi wa nyumbani buzzing around is questionable. The joint teeming with houseflies and stray dogs hovering around is deemed to have uncontaminated foodstuff. You just play cat and mouse games with nzi trying to have a taste of your order.

10. Salute the seller

This is a tactic to endear yourself to the vendor. Whether you know him or not, start with salamu and compliments; “Hii mutura imeweza.” That way you charm him and you are unlikely to be shortchanged plus kachumbari will be served generously. Greeting them is key if you are in unfamiliar territory. By doing so, you have just “bought” yourself some protection.  

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