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Five Foods you Must Try in Tanzania

Five Foods you Must Try in Tanzania

Tanzania is a country that offers many gems for travellers – the majestic Mt Kilimanjaro, the Serengeti, and the pristine beaches of Zanzibar to name a few, and I would like to introduce Five Foods you Must Try in Tanzania

Many travellers often overlook on a trip through Tanzania is the food. Simple, filling and flavourful, what it fails to offer in flash, it will more than make up for in tasty, hearty goodness, this is why I would like to share Five Foods you Must Try in Tanzania

Here are Five dishes you’ll need to keep an eye out for during your time in the country:

1. Chipsi Mayai

Chipsi mayai is Swahili for “chips and eggs” and is a favourite comfort food in Tanzania. In its purest form it is nothing more than a french fries omelette, but that’s exactly where the beauty lies – in its simplicity, this is amount the Five Foods you Must Try in Tanzania

You may also notice that french fries in Tanzania are a little different to the west – always made with fresh, hand-cut and peeled potatoes and fried to a crispy yellow.

You’ll find chipsi mayai sold at most eateries and outdoor food stands, and locals usually enjoy eating it with toothpicks and a squirt of ketchup. Breakfast of champions!

Forodhan Zanzibar Mshikaki

2. Nyama Choma

Nyama choma translates to “grilled meat,” the most common type being goat meat. Normally the meat will be hacked off the carcass and thrown on the grill right in front of you, so you definitely know it’s fresh. Once on the grill it’s left to cook very slowly over some hot coals, giving it a wonderful smoky flavour.

You’ll also notice the meat is chewy, gamey and bursting with flavour, a big contrast to the soft and tender steaks we get in the west. The goats aren’t babied in a farm and the meat is not aged, and this is exactly how the locals like it.

Nyama choma is best enjoyed with a group of friends; a plate can take up to 45 minutes to an hour to cook, so it’s common for a group to come together and have a few drinks and chat while the goat sits on the grill. As you’ll find out, sitting around a table with friends chewing on goat and sipping on beer is a great way to spend a sunny African afternoon.

Mshikaki Nyama Choma Ugali

3. Ugali

Ugali is the most common staple food in Tanzania due to its ease of cooking and affordability. Maize flour and water is cooked slowly until it reaches a dough-like consistency, after which it’s left for a moment to set before being eaten.

It is difficult to draw a good comparison, but one could possibly liken it to a cross between polenta and mashed potatoes (maybe).

The correct method of eating is by breaking off a chunk and mashing it into a small ball in the palm of your hand; this is then dipped into your main dish and popped into your mouth.

It can be served with almost any main dish, but is popularly eaten with nyama choma or mchuzi, a kind of soup or stew. It can be an odd food to get used to but once you do it can be strangely addictive. Watch out!

Ugali & Vegetables Ugali & Maharagwe Zanzibar Pizza

4.Zanzibar pizza

Popular on the island from which it draws its name, this “pizza” is probably one of the most interesting and delicious things you will eat in Tanzania.

It starts out with a sheet of dough which is then filled with onions, peppers, meat, a raw egg and maybe a slice of cheese, all wrapped up into sandwich sized pocket and then placed on the pan to fry in a puddle of oil.

What comes out is a crispy, chewy, oversized dumpling-like square of deliciousness. It’s also possible to get dessert versions, such as chocolate and banana.

On my first trip to Tanzania I ate these almost daily, but the damage on the waistline quickly forced me to tone it down. Nonetheless you’ll definitely need to try this one at least once (or twice or three or four or five times).

While the first thing you associate with Tanzania may not be the food it offers, I can almost guarantee you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you find. Don’t be afraid to try new things here; they’re fresh, safe and all around delicious. Happy tasting.

Zanzibar Pizza

Zanzibar Pizza


5. Pilau

This food is common where there is ceremony or it is weekend, but you can get Pilau anyday in most street Restaurant in Tanzania. This beef pilau recipe is one that you will get right every single time you make it. The aroma from this dish is inviting and warming, and it is an extremely popular Kenyan dish.

Most pilau’s often have the same method of preparing the base, so once you get that right, you have mastered the art of making any type of pilau. Pilau originates from India. The taste and look of Tanzanian pilau is very different from the Indian version as Tanzanian rice uses more spices than Indian pilau.


Do you have any Questions about Safari or Kilimanjaro Climbs to Tanzania?  Feel free to ask any Questions about Tanzania, it’s easy  Click here and ask any Questions you may have about Tanzania and our Panel of Travel Experts will be happy to help you free of charge ~ The only Neutral Advice about your Safari!


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