The first time I declared my love for food before a guy the creator possibly shook his head thinking "there she goes again ,ruining her chances."
The relationship never lasted a week.
But something better than him came from that short-lived relationship: He introduced me to the Diamond Plaza food court, with all its culinary trappings.
That day, I noticed something funny.
A man approached the food court area and was followed by up to six waiters from different eateries at the mall, all shoving their menus in various states of dereliction. Despite being on the better side of town, the waiters were overly aggressive like those nyama choma joints along Kang’undo Road, on your way to Ruai. Or the Kenyatta Market. Or that mall at Mfangano St. Or at the City Market.
You can taste the food from each of them to your fill, and if your name is Dick, you can walk away. But this is a good psychological trick these waiters play on you. Imagine tasting someone's food and refusing to order from that person.
I prefer just doing a random pick since I don't want to be choked by my food because someone is cursing at me with their eyes.
In my subsequent visits to Diamond Plaza, I discovered where perhaps the best bhajias are served in Nairobi. They are not only good, but they serve in portions that can embarrass and induce the worst guilt in any woman watching her weight.
I know each fast-food joint’s warus by size, quality and even quantity. The fat ones. The greasy ones. The ugly ones. The ones that leave a foul smell in your mouth.
Confession: I don’t share food with anyone. This is informed by the fact that most fast-food joints in town serve such small portions that sharing with someone is a path to self-ruin through deprivation.
But at Maru Bhajias, they serve large portions, it is not uncommon for many people to ask them to pack for you and take home. Though lately with the stupid plastic bags’ ban, it is not easy to find polythene bags to wrap the leftovers.
Here is how you eat the Maru Bhajias (notice the capitalization):
Make sure you use the red sauce that looks like blended kachumbari. That thing will work your soft-palate like magic. Whether you like chilli or not, you have to. This is a command. To this, try their mkwaju. With chilli and mkwaju, it will justify the drive or the matatu ride to the place.
I have scientifically established that the best time to go to Diamond Plaza for your Bhajia is 3 p.m. The better to go there with one of your sillier friends. The friend has to be the slow-eater type, so that when you gobble yours fast enough, you can help them with theirs in the pretext of saving time.
Last time I was there with Sue, one of the most weight-conscious people I know, I sympathized with her plight. It was too much for the poor girl, as she tried to push down one bite after another through her narrow throat. But, Lord! She did. And wanted some more. I wondered aloud, does her boyfriend know that she can murder a mountainous heap of bhajia at Marus and chase it down with sugar cane juice for good measure? This innocent looking women are ndejalas!
In my brief adult life, I have possibly tasted all the warus in town. I know each fast-food joint’s warus by size, quality and even quantity. The fat ones. The greasy ones. The ugly ones. The ones that leave a foul smell in your mouth. By price. And taste. I will vote for the Marus.
Sue agrees. As she struggles with the few remaining pieces.
“We didn't come all the way to bite bite food,kazana tu ,hata mimi na kazana,” she urges me on.
See why every girl needs this type of friend who is shameless in the face of too much food.
By now, Sue is so full and the warus proved to be too soporific. On the other hand, I am trying to find a sitting position to gobble up some more. But it is not working.
The thing about this Maru’s Bhajias, is that you can never forget that taste. For some reason, you'll ever find yourself in Parklands yet you live on the other end of town, sneak there and bring your verdict.