5 Street Foods Whose Prices Have Shot Up 

  • File image of smokie vendors lined up at a bus terminus
    File image of smokie vendors lined up at a bus terminus
  • A report by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics - KNBS on June 30 put the country’s inflation at 7.9 percent and Kenyans are feeling the pinch.

    The high prices of essential commodities such as cooking oil, flour, and fuel have shot up putting a dent in the pockets of most Kenyans in the middle and lower classes. 

    In fact, not even street foods enthusiasts have not been spared from the skyrocketing prices. From eggs to smokies, Kenyans.co.ke takes a look at some of these loved delicacies that have seen their prices go up. 

    Fried Fish

    Florence Alouch Odero a fishmonger in Migingo Island Hotel, a famous food stall in Nairobi Kenyatta Market laments that she has to part with about Ksh 6,000 to get 20 litres of cooking oil, double the amount she was spending months ago. 

    Fresh fish inside a basket
    Fresh fish inside a basket.

    As a result, she has passed that cost to her customers, making fried fish increase by up to Ksh100 per piece. 


    Chips or fries, another beloved fried product has also become unreachable. Street vendors are forced to reduce the quantity of the product or increase the price for the sake of profit margins.

    In the streets now, chips are going for at least Ksh100. Previously, vendors were comfortable selling fries from as low as Ksh 50. 


    The famous chapati slowly is going back to being enjoyed on special occasions or holidays like Christmas as it was back in the 90s. To get a 2kg packet of wheat flour, you have to part with at least Ksh200, excluding the cost of cooking oil.

    The size of chapati on the streets has also been reduced, with the price ranging from Ksh20 to Ksh30.

    In most cases, these chapatis have become thinner, and almost translucent as vendors grapple with the high cost of production. 


    A typical Kenyan breakfast has mandazi, a treat that has reduced in size as the price of cooking oil, wheat flour and sugar keep skyrocketing. 

    Over the past two decades, the price of mandazi has gone from Ksh5 to Ksh20 a piece in the average establishment. The size has reduced nearly by five times from its former shape - and even in greater proportions in places where the prices have not increased. 

    Other key players in the Kenyan street food business are fruit vendors. They provide Kenyans essential vitamins at affordable rates. High fuel prices have affected one James Nyayiemi who sells fruits. He used to outsource the fruits from a county 6-hours away but he has been forced to consider closer alternatives, which compromises quality. 


    Additionally, the price of  ‘smokie and mayai pasua’ common street foods has increased by at least Ksh10 and Ksh5 respectively. These two are treated as appetizers that keep you going before the next meal.

    Nairobi CBD hosts several street vendors that sell smokies which have increased from Ksh25 to Ksh35 and mayai pasua (an egg with a salad of tomatoes, onions and pepper) which now cost Ksh25 from Ksh20 a few months back.

    Smokie joints witness long queues especially early in the morning and late in the evening. 

    Smokie vendor attending to customers
    A smokie vendor attending to customers


    Ugali, a Kenyan staple food, is getting expensive day by day. Today, 2kg of maize flour goes for Ksh 200. Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya has been under fire after millers announced that the measures put in place by the government were insignificant and that prices would fall by only Ksh2. 

    Munya went ahead to ask Kenyans to consider alternative foods such as millet, sorghum and arrow roots which are more indigenous, healthy and affordable instead of relying on ugali. 

    “Kenyans farm a lot of different types of food. We have a variety of foods here. In instances such as this where we are having a shortage, we can turn to other indigenous foods. We can embrace things such as millet and sorghum. 

    "I am not saying we won't solve this problem, but we can also learn something that we have a variety and we can also look into them," CS Munya explained.