Fish it is this week for Achola Rosario … and there is nothing ‘fishy’ about that …

(By Achola Rosario, Contributing Editor at

(Posted 11th June 2022)

There is a Luhya proverb that says: no matter how bad things get, eat first. Or something of
the sort. Now when it comes to Luos, that saying amply applies to fish. JaLuo love their fish
so much, that the ancient Egyptians used to coat their fish in gold and bury them with the

I have spent the better part of this morning trying to find a photograph I had as
evidence in vain, so you will have to take my word for it. (Post script: I found it! See below)

(Amenhotep Ill’s 3000 year old gilded mummified fish)

Back in Eldoret, there is a simple little restaurant that almost literally coats its fish in gold, so
sought after are each golden fried piece. It is called Cathy’s Fish Joint, in the heart of a row
of competing fish-wallahs, in Eastleigh behind Uganda Road. But Aunty Cathy’s is bursting at
the seams more than most, and her clients leave with that lip-smacking stomach stroking
satisfied swagger that is hard to fake. So naturally I had to investigate.

I jostle with customers offering her money as I try to film the succulent chunks of golden
catfish (Mbuuta), as well as the fresh crisp chocolate brown of the fried tilapia (Ngege),
arranged according to ever decreasing size to one the size of the palm of your hand. Once
picked, your slice of lake heaven is taken to the back for one more flash fry to seal up the
juices and crisp up the skin, and then gently stewed for those who like wet fry, the standard
mother’s delicacy.

You see, children and men don’t like it when the skin get slightly soft, shoving it in the
corners of their plates for the ever-hovering mothers to scoop up and gobble, and of course
tell you that you are missing out on the best part- for that is where the brain food is stored.
Therein lies the secret to a Luo woman’s powers of perception and divination. And for those
of us who grew up with one, can attest to their air bending skills when cornering a slipper
aimed your retreating head.

Therefore, it is kind of fitting that this 20-year-old restaurant be run by an extraordinary
“Mama” called Catherine Adhiambo, a 50-something year old with the skin of a 30-year-old
and smiley eyes, who like a typical mother, hovers around her clients topping up veggies and
ugali without asking, and generally clucking at her staff to ensure things run smoothly. In
fact, they run so smoothly, you only have to wait for a maximum of 10 min to get your
piscatorial fix, that even when dry fried is still moist in the mouth. 20 years is long enough
for one to hone one’s craft into Master Status.
To keep it short, because they say good things come in small packages (although I tend to
eat the fattest chicken in life), the next time you are transiting through Eldoret, or even if
you are going to visit Kipchoge’s Nandi Hills training camp nearby in Kapsabet, pass by Aunty
Cathy’s Fish Joint.

She will not leave you unsatisfied.

Unfortunately, I was so full, I forgot the receipt with her number on it.



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