No doubt where the idea was birthed from. There is a neighbourhood just outside Makerere University where food once cost Shs 100 per item, thus the nickname of the area and its restaurants: kikumi-kikumi.
When the concept first started, a university student could feast on a ‘buffet’ lunch, all at Shs 500 in total, by sampling different kikumi-kimumi items.
While the place is still called Kikumi-kikumi, students say the food now goes for Shs 1,000 and above. Kya Kulya’s lunch buffet start price is Shs 3,500 for all local foods including posho, matoke, sweet potatoes, pilau, white rice, pumpkin, yams, millet bread (kalo) and cassava, served with peas, beans, beef or groundnuts.
But if one prefers goat’s meat, then one adds an extra Shs 1000, another Shs 1,000 for liver sauce, Shs 2,500 for chicken, Shs 1,500 for fish, and Shs 2,000 for pasted fish or beef. In essence, all their food is well under Shs 6,000. The extras of chips fetch an extra of Shs 100, egg plants Shs 500, kachumbari (salad), Shs 500 for half a chapatti Shs 500, avocado etc.
The dessert goes for Shs 3,500 and comes in a lunch pack and includes jackfruit, mango, generous pieces of watermelon and pineapples. And for Shs 1,500 Kya Kulya delivers your food.
Kya Kulya is maximizing the potential of social media with most of their engagements occurring on WhatsApp. On their four-page website, they say they “work with local vendors to offer the quickest food delivery solution ever.”
So basically, Kya Kulya does not prepare the food on its own. It connects vendors to diners. For those looking for cheap food but feel ‘too corporate’ to enter Wandegeya market or Nakawa taxi park and wrestle for bench space with taxi touts, Kya Kulya just made it easy.
Surprisingly, the food comes packed in airtight lunch boxes with well-marked stickers – giving the cheap food a corporate touch. Food and sauce are packed differently.
My fish in groundnuts sauce was a bit loose but passable for the price of Shs 2,000. The smoked fish wasn’t free of bones but the pilau was so tasty and so were the collard greens (sukuma wiki).
The chapatti was too dry for my liking but very much in fitting with the price. Most foreigners are puzzled by the large quantities of food served in Ugandan restaurants, and Kya Kulya keeps that tradition going.