Chakula Hut ~ 1871 O’Connor Dr ~ (416) 752-2786

Chakula Hut is an East African mom & pop in the Bermondsey neighbourhood that serves the traditional dishes of Uganda & Tanzania.

Chakula means food in Swahili, and I chat with the friendly owner, Muni, as she prepares my lunch.

Full of Indian influence, the first dish out of her Ismaili kitchen is a wonderfully aromatic Ugandan Kalyo.  This is a mild curry of chicken thigh, yogurt, saffron and garam masala.

Bamia is an Okra stew that’s popular all over East Africa.  This dish tastes as good as it looks.  Full of tomato and chili, I bite into an unexpected crunch… a nice texture change from how slippery okra can often be.

The final dish we try is Kuku Paka, which I’m told is a popular dish from costal Tanzania.  Kuku means chicken in Swahili and Paka means to spread.  The chicken gets grilled before being added to a stew of coconut cream and black pepper.  Cassava is the starch component to thicken things up and add a bit of chew.  Muni’s family recipe comes finished with hard-boiled eggs.

Chakula Hut also prepares some of the tastiest kivutio (appetizers) in all of East York.  Indian influences abound with their samosa offering, wrapped in a much thinner pastry than I’m used to elsewhere.  Are these the best samosas in town?  They definitely have to be part of the conversation.

I’m not much of a dessert guy, but I made sure to save room to try their Mandazi.  These are sweet donut-like pastries that originated on the Swahili Coast; a perfect end to a very interesting meal.  Thanks, Muni, for your warm hospitality and delicious eats.

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