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What To Eat In Tanzania: 6 Must Try Local Dishes

What To Eat In Tanzania: 6 Must Try Local Dishes

Of course, Tanzania’s spectacular wildlife and sweeping grasslands can sweep you off your feet and we’ve heard all about Mount Kilimanjaro, one of the world’s most intriguing destinations. While Tanzanian cuisine might be shy of such worldwide endorsement if you believe that the little delights count the most, hop on-board as we count out all the lip-smacking local delicacies that you shouldn’t miss while traversing Tanzania.

By Tcg1111 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

The local diet generally comprises of starchy substances like sorghum, millet, pilaf, beans, and cornmeal. It also includes a rich variety of vegetables, fruits, milk, and meat. A typical Tanzanian meal is always brimming with a plethora of colors and flavors on your plate. While your platter might not be the most flattering sight, what it lacks in appeal, it counterbalances by giving you the most wholesome, delicious, filling and fulfilling dining experience.

So, pick up your forks and brace yourself for some true Tanzanian indulgence.


Image by Mark Skipper

Ugali is the staple food widely consumed in Tanzania. It is popularly served with nyama choma, but
teams up well with any main course. It is usually offered with a sauce consisting of either fish, meat,
cooked vegetables or beans. One tends to grow a strange liking towards Ugali on an East African trip.

Nyama Choma

Image by Xiaojun Deng

Nyama Choma or grilled beef is a dish to wish for. Meat in Tanzania is fresh and always grilled to your liking. Slowly barbecued over a bed of hot charcoal, the chewy and smoky meat induces a delightful, rich burst of flavor. Served with barbecued bananas or Ugali, it is sure to entice your taste buds.


Chapatti is a fried flatbread which is a celebrated treat in East Africa. Special events and occasions call for Chapatti in a Tanzanian household. Little children eagerly await such Chapatti worthy moments. Also, Chapatti being the Indian staple food strikes the home chord for an Indian/ Asian traveler. If you’re one of them, you’re probably going to be at ease with the diet in Tanzania.

Wali na Wazi

Wali na Wazi is made by stirring rice in a mixture of coconut milk and water, leaving you with a creamy dessert. It is quite popular in the region, especially to the members of the Swahili community. It offers a subtle and sweet balance to the generally rich main course.

Ndizi Kaanga

Ndizi Kaanga is an impartial favorite amongst tourists as well as the local Tanzanians. This local dish is a serving of fried, green bananas. Plantains and green bananas are amongst the staple foods in the country. It is generally relished in its natural, unsweetened form. A drizzle of sugar will help you appreciate it all the more.

Chipsi Mayai

By Baldursgate (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Chipsi Mayai translates to chips and eggs and is popularly known as a French fries omelet. Grab a bite of this globally cherished delicacy at many of the food stalls and eateries lined up for you. As usual, Tanzania throws in a local twist and spins up the dish we know into something unique and spectacular. So if you’re looking for a quick munch, you know what to pick.

By Twit Rajat (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

While Tanzania is sure to quench your thirst for adventure, it also hosts a merry sequence of beverages to wash down the several delicacies that it offers.

Be it dawn or dusk, Chai or tea is never a bad idea in Tanzania. It is usually served at social gatherings along with some sweet fried bread and loads of local gossip. Also, you can always grab some treats from the streets. You’ll find vendors selling fresh black coffee, soft drinks and a variety of fresh fruit juices. Banana beer or mbege is a fascinating local drink that finds its roots in the Kilimanjaro region. Sip, slurp, and burp. Suit yourself with your preference of beverage to kick back after your exhausting adventures.

Now that you know what to pick from the menu, you’re probably wondering where to go. From shabby extensions of the sidewalk to exquisite fine dining restaurants, Tanzania covers the whole spectrum. Be it Chinese, Japanese, Indian or Western food, the food joint you need is sure to be right around the corner. Cities like Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar city are hotspots to satisfy your food cravings. While dining at a local restaurant is great, you mustn’t forget the cheerful stalls dotting the Tanzanian streets. They’re not only easy on your purse strings, but also offer the authentic flavors of the country.

Tanzania is a country brimming with surprises. Everyone knows all about grasslands and adventure but it also offers interesting local flavors for your plate to keep the food enthusiast in you alive and craving more.

A Food Fun Travel Guest Post by Ashutosh Bhaskar –