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Tanzania Street Food Guide

Tanzania is one of the most extraordinary tourist locations in the world! It is known for its scenic beauty, diverse wildlife, and gorgeous landscapes. But what truly makes a trip to Tanzania unique and memorable is the mouth watering cuisine. The food is delicious, and is influenced by Swahili, Indian, Turkish, Arabic, British, German, and Portugese cuisines! Tanzania’s Zanzibar archipelago is also known as the Spice Islands.


Local culture is called ‘Swahili’. The food uses a blend of spices that give it its unique flavour. In local spice farms, tourists can observe, smell, and taste colorful and fragrant spices such as turmeric, vanilla, ginger, coriander, pepper, cardamom, garlic, cumin, lemongrass, and cinnamon.


While restaurants offer the most exquisite international and local dishes, an authentic experience of Tanzania is incomplete without trying its street food. Vendors use traditional recipes to make delicious foods which can be enjoyed warm, and often, tourists can even witness the food being cooked for them!


Here are some of the top street foods for tourists to enjoy!

  • Rice, biryani, and pilao are famous. Biryani is made with a blend of spices, and is influenced by Indian cuisine.
  • Chipsi Mayai are french fries served with eggs. Locals enjoy this famous dish with tomato sauce and vegetables. Tourists can also enjoy it with a side of sauteed potatoes.
  • Pani puri are hollow chips filled with potatoes, chickpeas, and a liquid containing a blend of spices and herbs.
  • Ugali is a staple food and must be tried by any tourist who wants to have an authentic experience of Tanzania. The bread is made with maize flour, and often eaten with a Swahili dish called Nyama Choma, a rich, tender barbecue of lamb, chicken, goat, or beef, marinated in lemon juice, turmeric, and curry powder, and roasted over hot coals.
  • Curries, such as Kuku Paka, are very popular in Tanzania. The delicious octopus curry uses spices such as turmeric and coriander, and creamy coconut gravy.
  • Street food also includes soups such as a type of plantain soup called Mtori, and Urojo soup, made with mango and ginger, and a blend of flavors such as tamarind and lime. Coconut Bean Soup is also famous. Made from coconut milk and shredded coconut, it is blended with tomatoes and beans, and then seasoned with spices.
  • Another traditional street food is Mchemsho, which comes with potatoes, spices, veggies, and either fish or chicken.
  • For those who like meat skewers, Mshikaki is the perfect dish. The marinated meat is cooked over open coal!
  • Tourists can also try Mchicha which is rare as amaranth greens are not found in most of the world. The vegetable is seasoned with spices to create the unique, healthy dish.
  • Fried triangles filled with minced meat, or vegetables are samosas and are one of the popular Indian street foods.
  • Muhogo is a deep fried cassava, coated in chili powder, salt and lemon. Tourists can enjoy it with a tomato sauce.
  • A staple that tourists must try, especially for breakfast, is Uji, a porridge made with black pepper, sugar and lime.
  • Mandazi, sweet doughnuts, are a famous street food.
  • Other popular snacks are maize cobs, boiled eggs, grilled bananas, and grilled sweet potatoes!
  • Street food should be accompanied with drinks such as ginger tea, chai, sugarcane juice, and avocado shake.