ACHOLA ROSARIO VENTURES OUT IN SEARCH OF GRILLED MEAT
By Achola Rosario, Contributing Editor at www.ATCNews.org
(Posted 28th May 2021)
Ask most Kenyans and they will tell you that meat (specifically goat meat) is the Elixir of Life.
The gatherer of ‘men’, the soother of frayed egos (both earthly and beyond), and the perfect way to spend an idle afternoon, goat’s meat does it all. Vegetarians may argue about nutritious values, but “Sukuma-wiki” (spinach) and “Mokimo” (mashed potatoes mixed with greens with some corn thrown in for good measure) can only be but wing-men in these grave instances mentioned above. Here meat rules, and they know how to do it so well.
There is one particular butchery I have been having my eye on, more for its owner than his meat, but what the hey, there is nothing wrong with killing two birds with one stone. Situated on the Ruaka/Kiambu stretch of the Northern Bypass, at a place formally known as Red Lion meat stop, lies Mount Zion Butchery, run by RASTAMAN (as he is plainly known), a large caramel concrete block of a man with an impressive beard and flirty eyes. You can tell this man has many wives, but I can assure his equally cute 20-something son that I have no interest in becoming one of them. Just window-shopping. The meat however, I want to eat, so after a few introductions while he tosses each flank across the flames, sometimes with his bare hands (*flutter*), I get shown to a rather large dining room reminiscent of From Dusk Til Dawn. It is a large grass-thatched hall with a fully stocked bar on one end and opens out into a large green garden with individual huts and real leather sofas at the end.
It definitely looks like it has been the scene of many “discussions”.
The meat is marinated from morning in a hot broth of lemon, garlic, onions and salt before being roasted over an open-flame, giving it that distinctive Kenyan Nyama Choma flavor that you cannot get anywhere else in Africa. I think it is also the way they treat their goats, what with all that Masaai-nomading and Kikuyu barter-trade farming, forming and maintaining a symbiotic relationship where mostly the goat benefits- until it is eaten of course. And when the meat is thinly sliced and slipped in the mouth, it leaves a moist but firm sensation that speaks of being smoked and basted with love and attention from the slaughter to the plate. All meat is slaughtered Halal in the morning, with due respect given to the animal before he kicks the bucket. A scared animal releases toxins and adrenalin in the flesh, making it tough to eat and defiant to your pleasure-seeking. Therefore, happy goat, happy meat. And from the way RASTAMAN periodically strokes his meat, good things are arriving.
But enough with the puns and on with the price. A leg of goat will set you back $12 (kshs1200) and can be crushed by a single hungry manly-man, while the ribs go for $15 (kshs1500) and a usually a favorite with the ladies as the waitress comes and cuts everything into little manageable pieces. Yes, this is traditional country so stereotypes are assumed like an old coat. My pink hair stuck out like a sore thumb, attracting a steady stream of Masaai sandal dealers who I think spent more time laughing at my meat-eating skills than admiring my shouting attire. Apparently, I eat meat like a Muzungu. I humbly agreed (which is a rarity for me) and packed my bones to go gnaw at them at home where I don’t have to try and look pretty while doing it.
All meals come with a side order of chips, ugali, mokimo and kachumbali salad at a manageable $15 (Kshs1500) for the lot. You are free to order for as many side-dish top-ups because guaranteed as the evening and the beer flows, one leg and one rib will definitely not be enough. Only goat and chicken are served here, no beef and certainly no pork. This is an Ital establishment (of sorts).
To reach Mount Zion Butchery:
RASTAMAN: +254 720 924 703
Whatsapp: +254 705 696 957
To watch Episode 68 of The FOMO TRAVEL SHOW:
Happy Africa Day. Eat Meat.