Mr. Sato follows a hot lead from a Maasai warrior for some elusive Kenyan food in Japan, and isn’t disappointed.
Like most major cities, Tokyo is home to a wide range of international foods from countries such as India, China, France, Italy, Thailand, and so much more. Even though they’re not always perfectly authentic, they still give a sense of what people eat in these foreign lands.
However, African nations all seem woefully underrepresented in this tapestry of food cultures. Surely a continent so large and diverse would have a plethora of unique foods to try.
Luckily, we happen to know a Maasai warrior who knows a guy who knows about a place not to far from central Tokyo where you can experience the foods of Kenya. We were told that the restaurant is run by former Kenyan Embassy staff so we could be fairly sure of the food’s authenticity too.
So we sent Mr. Sato to investigate… which is a fancy word we like to use for “eat.”
After taking the short walk from JR Gotanda Station, Mr. Sato was a little surprised at the storefront for Masyuko’s Buffalo Cafe. Far from exotic, it blended in so well with the other shops that it would be hard to even tell that this was a Kenyan restaurant from a casual glance.
▼ “Kenya Cuisine Specialty Shop”
Mr. Sato was very unfamiliar with Kenyan cuisine, so he didn’t really know what to order. Using the pictures in the menu as a guide he decided on the Beef Karanga for 900 yen (US$8) because it looked the most delicious.
It was a stew-like dish that resembled curry but had a very distinct aroma. The sweet smell from the dusting of coconut on the surface was enough to make Mr. Sato’s mouth water. It came with a serving of turmeric rice, but he had a choice between that or white rice.
However, when digging into the rice Mr. Sato noticed something odd: olives! It seemed as if they were cooked in with the rice.
He was surprised by the flavor of the olives. It was like cooking them in the rice drew out more of their sweetness and sourness for a very tasty result.
The beef was thoroughly cooked to the point that it seemed to burst with the flavor of vegetable juices with each bite. The taste was both very natural and yet very foreign for Mr. Sato, but it had a certain warmth and nurturing feeling like a big hug.
Overall, although there was a certain similarity to Indian food, this Kenyan dish felt neither Asian nor Western to Mr. Sato. It was a completely new experience for our reporter who would welcome the chance to try it again. Only next time he would sample something else from the sizable menu of Masyuko’s Buffalo Cafe.
If you’d like to see if this delicious cultural exchange of food goes both ways, be sure to take a look back at our reporter Hattori Go’s journey to find a good sushi restaurant in Kenya.
Masyuko’s Buffalo Cafe / マシューコウズバッファローカフェ
Tokyo, Shinagawa, Nishigotanda 2-30-10 Seven Star Mansion Daiichi 1F
東京都品川区西五反田2-30-10 セブンスターマンション第一 1F
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Closed Sundays and Mondays
[ Read in Japanese ]