Mombasa is known for the rich culture and vibrant traditions; one of the most attractive part of Mombasa is the Swahili Food and the mix-culture cuisine. It’s not a trip to Mombasa without trying the Viazi via Karai and bhajiya to mshikaki and biriyani. The Swahili cuisine is a mixture of the different cultures that live in Mombasa, people have adapted each other’s cuisine into a unique mix-culture cuisine. And of course nothing brings people together than food. On the Easter Weekend the Mombasa County Department of Trade, Tourism and Investment held a Mombasa Shopping and Food Festival at Fort Jesus.
The food festival was aimed at bringing Mombasa visitors together during the Easter weekend to shop and sample some of our cuisine from the coast. The event was from Friday 30th March to 1st April at the street next to Fort Jesus from 11am to 11pm. A row of tents were set-up with different vendors occupying each tent to sell their food and products. Some of the food tents were street food vendors, restaurants and catering companies. There was a variety of food from the Swahili viazi via karai , bhajiya and sambusa. Also including matobosho, ndizi ya kupika, kababs. There was also vendors grilling chicken tikka, mishkaki, fish, and prawns and also restaurants selling Shawarma and juices. Mabuyus and acharis were also sold from different vendors. All the food vendors were provided with tables and chairs for customers to seat and savor the food. Other vendors included, Youth Enterprise Development Fund, Kenya Association of Women in Tourism, Multi Choice and Major restaurants including Dormans, Tamarind Tree Hotel and A & F Foods Chicken Hub. Temptations Ice cream was there to give visitors something to cool off with during the heat. Two Up-coming jewelry designers also seized the opportunity – Wawuda Carol and Grace Kimaru occupied two stalls, they showcased their jewelry making skills by selling their own hand-made accessories. The was a few entertainers including cultural dance by Likoni Cultural Boys , ladies drums Kishuri and Kirumbizi (stick fight). Ladies who attended the event had the opportunity to adorn their hands and feet with beautiful henna. Craftsman were also not left behind as well, different souvenir vendors were also available selling different products from Kenya key chains to animal carvings and etc. Last But Not least there was the Kids corner, where games and bouncing castle was placed.
Although, this was the first of the series of Festivals in Mombasa it brought many people together. Mr. Fawzi Rashid, the new CEC for Mombasa County Department of Trade, Tourism and Investment shows promising leadership for the Mombasa tourism industry.
In a statement issued to Life in Mombasa he says:
“The idea of the festival was to market fort Jesus and old town and to show that we not only have some of the best beaches in the world, but also historical and cultural sites for the food vendors. We wanted to give our visitors a taste of our local dishes. Future festivals are on our priority list in different parts of Mombasa.
My message to Mombasa residents on tourism is that responsibility begins with us, the people of Mombasa, we are well known for our hospitality and kindness in welcoming our guests.
Through my extremely able department we are available any time as our doors are always open. We all need to work together to ensure we not only bring Mombasa to where it belongs but take it beyond.”
We look forward to marketing Mombasa, and changing the narratives of Mombasa.