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Chinese cuisine gaining popularity in Kenya | Updated: 2014-06-03 11:18

Chinese food has long been part of popular dining culture in Europe and America, with Chinese restaurants spread across nearly every major city, some even having their own "China Towns". In Africa however, a trip to a Chinese restaurant is reserved for the middle class, with restaurants competing to attract customers with top-quality food.

A taste of the exotic in the Kenyan capital once seen as a rarity in the country, Chinese restaurants are now gaining popularity, and are competing to provide elegant and exciting dishes.

More and more Chinese restaurants are popping up around the country, but unlike Chinese restaurants in the West, here in Kenya, it’s seen as a high end dining experience, which can set one back between 15-25 dollars.

Situated in one of Nairobi’s more upmarket neighbourhoods, Emerald Garden provides both modern and traditional ambience for its customers, serving five star food, at a price. But in this part of town, many can afford it.

"We get a lot of the UN crowd coming in, Diplomats, the US embassy is just around the corner, that’s our usual clientele." Victor Mukenyi, Manager of Emerald Garden restaurant said.

Although the clientele are mostly international, Kenyans are getting a taste for Chinese fare.. Philip Yao has been a restaurateur in Kenya for more than 19 years, during which he’s seen an increase in the number of local Kenyan diners looking for authentic Chinese cooking.

"You see many Africans have been going to China, doing business, schooling, so they know what is good Chinese food and they usually come looking for it."Philip Yao, Owner of Emerald Garden restaurant said.

The rise of Chinese cuisine in Kenya is an indication that China’s presence in Kenya is not only infrastructural, but also gastronomical.

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