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Must-Try Cuisines in Pemba

Must-Try Cuisines in Pemba

Pemba Island is a beautiful and scenic island, and is a part of The Zanzibar Archipelago. Pemba Island is also called the Green Island because of its lush landscape and fertile soil. Some of the crops grown in the Green Island include coconuts, cassavas, and bananas. 

Although Pemba Island is well-known for its beaches and excellent coral reef (perfect for diving and snorkelling), its cuisine is also worth a mention. The Island is home to many unique cuisines that you do not want to miss. The local food is spicy and cooked with coconut milk.

Here are some of the must-try cuisines in Pemba:


  1. Uji – Uji is a sweet porridge that is often eaten in breakfast. Uji is usually made from millet, beans, or other flours. Uji is high in probiotics, providing you with a healthy boost in the morning, and it will also stimulate your gut health.  
  2. Vitumbua – Vitumbua, also known as coconut rice pancakes, are small and sweet cakes. These fluffy cakes of goodness are delicious and comforting. It is the perfect breakfast to start your day. 
  3. Fried Cassava – Cassava is abundantly available in Pemba. The vegetable has similar characteristics and taste profile to a potato. Cassava also has higher protein, calories, and carbs than potatoes. However, they have a lower glycemic index, making them more suitable for diabetic patients. Fried cassava is popular street food, similar to thick-cut French fries. Fried cassava has a chewier texture and a lighter flavour. 
  4. Chipsi Mayai – Chipsi Mayai is another popular street food found in this region. It is also called zege. Many street food vendors have created unique and flavourful variations of Chipsi Mayai. Essentially, it is a potato-egg omelette that you can eat at any time of the day. One of the most common variations is French fries infused in an omelette. 
  5. Urojo Soup – Urojo soup is another well-known street food that you can enjoy. It is a spicy and flavourful soup made with various toppings, including mashed potatoes, coconut chutneys, and several others.  
  6. Deep-Fried Octopus – This is a local delicacy for the foodies with a bold taste profile. You will be served with freshly caught octopus, deep-fried to perfection.  Made with a combination of spices, deep-fried octopus is a must-try for people that love seafood. For those that have never tried octopus, it tastes similar to lobster.
  7. Octopus Coconut Curry – Another octopus-based local delicacy, this dish is a local favourite. Known as Pweza Wa Nazi, the curry makes for a delicate and nourishing dinner-time meal. 
  8. Makai Paka – Makai Paka is a local version of corn cobs. Like other street foods, it has many variations. The corn is cooked or boiled in coconut milk. You can then add toppings to add more flavour according to your desires. 
  9. Mshikaki  – Mshikaki is skewered meat made with various spices and herbs and cooked over hot coals.  
  10. Ndizi na nyama – Also known as meat and banana stew, this flavourful local specialty is cooked using green bananas, meat, coconut milk, and other vegetables 

These are some of the many local delicacies you should try while in Pemba. Also, be sure to check out the Best Cities to Visit in East Africa? for more information and tips.