NAIROBI’S CHINESE MARKET PLACE.
Hey there! Welcome to this post and thank you so much for stopping by!
I was on Argwings Kodhek Road about a month and a half ago after going to Four Points by Sheraton Nairobi Hotel for a meeting. It was in preparation for the review I did on their Pablo’s Restaurant. I stumbled upon this Chinese Market Place – Remax Village as I was looking for a place to eat. Google Maps directions here. If you’re on Argwings Kodhek from Yaya, then right after you pass Chaka Road, it’s on your left. I didn’t want to go to Yaya Centre because I automatically assumed it would be pricey. My first thought was to go to Nook Cafe on Woodlands Lane off Argwings Kodhek, Unfortunately, it was a Monday and so they weren’t open. My friend Susan, (who is also a food blogger), did a beautiful review on them.
After finding Nook Cafe closed, I decided to go to the Chinese Marketplace. Granted, I was very skeptical at first and just wanted to go in to see what they have. Yet, I ended up having a whole meal, snack and even some juice. It is still one of my best impromptu yet utterly satisfying escapades I have ever had. I am not really sure why I didn’t share it sooner. I think I had quite a few posts to do then and thought I would go back for better pictures, try more food and then share a post with better content.
Turns out, the pictures weren’t too bad and people actually really liked them. (Then again, I think people like the cost more than anything). I hope they haven’t altered the cost. Even if they have, I doubt it will be by so much. This market place has absolutely everything.
Everything and everyone here is Chinese except for a few employees in some places. For example, in the barber shop, there was no Kenyan. Same to the jewellery & cloths shops. However, restaurants, butcheries, grocery stores, hardware and juice shops have a few Kenyan employees. I actually never realised how many Chinese there are in the country until then. They have their own little town off Argwings Kodhek Road where they go do their shopping, eating, making hair etc. I won’t be shocked if they open a school and hospital there soon.
Most items sold here are imported and it would be nearly impossible to find them in any other place that isn’t a Chinese shop. The Chinese here speak very little to no English and so rely on their Kenyan employees or children (if present) to translate. Otherwise, they just need you to point at what you want; even if it’s written in Chinese, pay and receive what you pointed at. That is, irrespective of whether you are Chinese or not. It is definitely a unique place to be and a unique experience to have.
Granted, not all the restaurants are very sanitary or clean or even smell very good. Therefore, before I sat down to eat somewhere I had done enough homework to see how clean a place is, studied the menu and even tried to peep into the kitchen if possible. The best I found and I believe the most affordable too was this middle one with white and green stripes at the entrance. It’s on your right when walking in. See below:
The waiter was very kind, it smelt nice and the place was spotless! I ordered noodles and pork. The noodles at all the restaurants in this marketplace are handmade. Seeing this skill in action is quite satisfying. The meal was ready in about 10 minutes and I was slurping away as soon as it had cooled enough. Yes. I wait for my food to cool a bit before eating. A burnt tongue is never fun.
Best believe, this menu had only six items! Imagine! I think Kenyan restaurants should borrow a leaf instead of being ‘jacks’ of all trade yet masters of none. The food is mostly chilli so I settled for one with the least chilli. Zhajiang noodles are essentially normal sized (not too thin or too thick), are served with diced pork in a sweet n spicy thick sauce and have vegetables like bok choy, zucchini (courgette) and lots of carrots. The veggies were well-cooked. Crunchy but not raw. They were well coated with the thick pork sauce. Mmhh. Yet only for 600/=
Given that this first restaurant experience was very good, I decided to go on to another one to try something else. I went to a Juice Bar across the road (still in the market) to get a passion & lime juice drink at 300/=. It was packaged so well and I really loved the cup! C-Yoo Juice Bar has a wide variety of beverages (non-alcoholic). From tea to iced coffee, slushees, milkshakes and even smoothies! Definitely going back for that juice! Not sure it’s 100% freshly squeezed but I know it tasted amazing!
Lastly, I went on to try the Chinese Hamberg (yes. That’s what the menu calls it). It is actually sold at each restaurant. Unfortunately, I don’t remember if it was 150/= or 300/=. Maybe 150/= was for one. For this, I went to Fun House Restaurant. The restaurant was pretty empty and one of the employees was doing some work maybe sorting beans a few tables away.
The pork in the Hamberg was great! I thought the bread/ bun was a little hard/crunchy but since I didn’t try the same thing elsewhere, I assume, that’s how it is supposed to be. The pork was well marinated with coriander and other delicious herbs.
That’s all I had for you today. Let me know whether you have visited any of the shops or restaurants in this complex and what your experience was like. A popular place in Remax Village is the Silk Noodles Restaurant that Susan (afoodiescollective) also did a review on. See here.
Thank you so much for stopping by!