Why Kenyans are craving Thai food

A rack of ribs served at the launch of Thai Chi by Sarova on 12th September 2023. PHOTO| BELLA OSAKO

What you need to know:

  • Kenyans cannot have enough of Asian cuisine as Thai Chi brand opens a new outlet
  • The new stand-alone restaurant is located in the quiet Lavington area, off James Gichuru Road at 102 Manyani East Road

The palette of Kenyan food lovers is a diverse one that continues to evolve as specialty restaurants offering specific cuisines from all over the world. Chef Rahul Rana, the sous chef at a new Thai restaurant opening in Nairobi, agrees that the curiosity of Kenyans continues to grow and crave new culinary experiences, especially for Thai food.

“People travel a lot, especially to Asia and Europe, and love to explore which is why I feel Nairobi is becoming a hub of food from different cuisines. If you are observant, you can see that there are a lot of new restaurants popping up which brings healthy competition,” he says.

Chef Rahul Rana pictured at Thai Chi by Sarova in Lavington. He is the sous chef at the newly opened restaurant in Nairobi. PHOTO| BELLA OSAKO

Chef Rahul has worked in Kenya for the last seven years as a chef.

“We decided to expand the Thai Chi brand by opening another restaurant. We also decided to situate it out of the CBD. The Thai Chi restaurant at the Stanley has been open since 2007,” says the chef.

The new stand-alone restaurant is located in the quiet Lavington area, off James Gichuru Road at 102 Manyani East Road. Chef Rahul says he plans to focus on creating a dining experience with well-established Thai & Pan-Asian culinary delights, taking its inspiration from the classic dishes of 5 Far East Countries –Thailand, Japan, Vietnam, China and Korea.

“The dominant part of our menu is Thai but we are also offering oriental options such as sushi and katsu curry from Japanese cuisine and a rack of lamb with Bulgogi sauce which is Korean,” he says.

The curries at Thai-Chi by Sarova are the red Thai, green Thai and panang curries and are all priced at Sh1,700 per plate.

 He recommends the Ped Ob Nam Phueng which is honey-glazed crispy duck with spinach to be accompanied by the Pad Thai which is a serving of rice noodles that are tossed in a wok with tamarind sauce, bean sprouts and peanuts. This meal would cost Sh4,050.

  Born in India, Chef Rahul also relates to Thai food because of how similar it is to Indian food such as the use of cinnamon and lemongrass. He says the restaurant has planted herbs outdoors of the restaurant such as basil that are used in the kitchen together with organic ingredients sourced from local farmers.

 Herbs and Spices (H & S) Pan-Asian restaurant at Serena Hotel in Nairobi is another Thai restaurant that recently opened, showing that there is an increased uptake for the cuisine. The food and beverage selection is a fusion of traditional composition of flavors from Japanese, Chinese, Taiwanese and Korean cuisine.