In Seattle, United States, an unassuming restaurant named Lims Nyama Choma has been making waves.
Its specialty? Mutura, a beloved Kenyan street food that has found a new home in the hearts and palates of Kenyan expatriates and adventurous food enthusiasts in the USA.
The man behind this culinary phenomenon is John Kamau Karanja, whose entrepreneurial spirit and love for Kenyan cuisine have transformed a simple dish into a gastronomic sensation.
Originally hailing from Limuru, Kenya, Karanja’s journey to culinary success was anything but straightforward.
Before establishing Lims Nyama Choma, he worked as a plumber in South Sudan and sold curios in South Africa and Zambia, all in an effort to make ends meet.
However, fate took a turn when he won the green card lottery in 2013, granting him the opportunity to pursue his dreams in the land of opportunities.
Karanja’s culinary adventure began when he prepared nyama choma, a Kenyan grilled meat delicacy, at a friend’s party.
“One time at a friend’s party, I cooked for them nyama choma and they were very pleased. Days later, I kept
receiving calls from various people asking me to cook for them nyama choma at a fee,” Karanja said in a past
Encouraged by the positive reception, he decided to venture into the restaurant business, marking the inception of Lims Nyama Choma.
Despite facing the challenges inherent in establishing a business in a foreign land, Karanja’s determination and the unwavering support of his family became the cornerstone of his success.
His wife, Caroline Kamau, became the backbone of the kitchen, infusing each dish with authentic Kenyan flavors.
Their sons, Simon Kamau and Steve Kamau, contributed their skills as a waiter and accountant, respectively. What started as a family venture soon blossomed into a culinary haven for Kenyans longing for the tastes of home and local Americans eager to explore the rich tapestry of Kenyan cuisine.
Lims Nyama Choma quickly became more than just a restaurant; it became a cultural bridge, connecting people through the universal language of food.
Karanja’s dedication to providing an authentic Kenyan experience resonated deeply with customers from various backgrounds, including Kenyans in the diaspora, South Africans, and locals curious about global cuisines.
Each dish served at Lims Nyama Choma is not just a meal but a journey through the vibrant flavors and aromas of Kenya.
What makes Lims Nyama Choma truly special is not just the food but the sense of community it fosters.
The restaurant, open from Tuesdays to Sundays, 10 am to 10 pm, has become a cherished gathering place, bringing together the Kenyan community in Seattle and enthusiasts of Kenyan cuisine.