Tanzania Cuisine

Gain a new experience by trying the different food tastes while traveling around the world. Try some lip-smacking local dishes with several influences from around Africa and the world around.
Eating Lunch during Kilimanjaro Climb

Located on the east coast of Africa, Tanzania has a cuisine that has been influenced by several cultures and flavors. There are about 120 ethnic groups in Tanzania along with people from Asian and European descent and the rich diversity found in the country’s cuisine comes from these cultural influences. Indian, Middle Eastern, and local African ingredients and cooking styles are all coalesced to form the base of food culture in Tanzania. The mixed cultural heritage that the country offers makes the food of Tanzania stand out.

The most common meals from the Tanzanian diet include all the local plants and fruits such as rice, wheat, corn, beans, cabbage, various nuts, banana, mango, pineapple and coconut. Although Tanzanian foods are unsubtle, they are mostly mouth-watering, nutritious, and filling. Meat is not widely consumed and cattle are normally slaughtered only for very special occasions. The most important Tanzanian cuisine is the staple food of the country and it is known as Ugali. This dish can be served in breakfast, lunch or dinner and is the personal favorite of most of the local people. It is a stiff dough prepared with cornmeal, cassava flour, sorghum or millet and served with sauce containing either fish, meat, cooked vegetables or beans.

Tanzania Local Cuisine

What makes the Tanzanian cuisine so delicious and nutritious is the widespread usage of starches like millet, beans, cornmeal, sorghum and pilaf within almost every traditional dish. Chai or tea is the most widely consumed beverage that can be consumed throughout the day. Chapatti, also served with tea, is a popular snack among children. The diverse options of the Tanzanian cuisine reflect both the country’s history and geography.

Potato with Meat -Tanzania Local Cuisine

Food Items You Should Not Miss

Listed below are some of the most preferred food items of Tanzania, which travelers should at least try once during their trip to this marvelous country:

  1. Ugali: starchy food made out of cornmeal, cassava flour, sorghum or millet.
  2. Maandazi: fried bread that can be eaten as a side dish or as a snack. The common ingredients are water, sugar, flour, yeast, and milk and the product has a fluffy texture, quite similar to a donut and triangular, oval or circular shaped.
  3. Vitumbua: deep-fried dish made from rice flour, coconut and yeast with a heavier texture than a typical western pancake. It is commonly found in street food.
  4. Wali wa Nazi: a popular Swahili dish that consists of rice boiled with coconut milk and garnished with vegetable leaves. It usually accompanies a meal containing either red meat, chicken, fish or curry.
  5. Supu ya Ndizi: a plantain soup made by crushing up plantains into a paste, then cooked with chicken stock and seasoned with salt and pepper. It is usually served with chapatti for breakfast.
  6. Ndizi Kaanga: fried plantains that are usually unsweetened, but sometimes seasoned with sugar to give it a sweet taste. It is served as either a side dish or a snack.
  7. Nyama Choma: grilled meat, usually a barbecue of goat, fish or chicken with barbecued bananas or Ugali as side dishes.
  8. Pilau: rice dish flavored with spices and prepared in stock whereby poultry, fish or boiled eggs may be added. It is one of the dishes prepared only when there is a ceremony or during weekends.
  9. Chapatti Bread: similar to Indian flatbread or Roti, it is a leavened flatbread with no baking powder or yeast.
  10. Mchemsho: quite an expensive dish due to the many ingredients needed to prepare it. Ingredients include carrot, potato, green beans, eggplant, cabbage, onion, banana, tomato, ladies finger, sweet pepper and spices.
  11. Ndizi Nyama: green banana with meat or fish. It is a stew of carrot, onion, bitter tomato, sweet pepper, banana, ladies finger, fish or meat.
  12. Wali na Maharage: translated to rice and beans, is a dish eaten with fish, vegetables or meat. Often, rice is cooked with coconut milk or oil and sometimes flavored with spices like cinnamon, cardamom, cumin seeds, pepper or cloves.
  13. Mchuzi wa Samaki: fish curry dish that includes coconut milk bringing out a creamy texture.
  14. Mishkaki: beef or chicken kebabs but sometimes fish and mutton are also used. The meat is marinated, skewered, and grilled until tender. It is popular as a local street food.
  15. Chipsi mayai: meaning chips and eggs, is a commonly served fast food in Tanzania. French fries and eggs are its main ingredients and it is usually served with ketchup and fresh veggies on the side.
  16. Date Nut Bread: prepared by baking flour mixed with chopped dates and nuts on a pre-heated oven.
  17. Sweet Potato Pudding: sweet potato puree cooked in milk, cream, sugar, saffron and cardamom.
  18. Mchicha: prepared by cooking thawed spinach, grated coconut and chopped peanuts by adding salt and pepper and served as a vegetable with any meat, poultry or fish dish.
  19. Makubi: the dish combines spinach with tomatoes and creamy peanut butter.
  20. Coconut Bean Soup: special type of soup that is made from coconut milk as well as shredded coconut. It is a well-known food suitable for vegetarians.
  21. Kaimatti: fermented and fried balls made from white flour, yeast, sugar, and yogurt.
  22. Mkate wa Sinia: a rice bread/cake normally used as a snack whilst drinking tea. The ingredients for this dish are rice flour, sugar, dried yeast, cardamom powder, egg white, and coconut milk.
  23. Kashata: a street food from Tanzania with ingredients such as coconut, peanut and different types of nuts. This simple and cheap snack is not only sweet but can keep you pretty full.
  24. Vibibi: is the Tanzanian rice pancake. The main ingredients of this dish are rice, flour, sugar, yeast, cardamom and coconut milk.

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