7 MUST TRY TANZANIAN DISHES FOR A FOODIE LIKE YOU.
Food is by far one of my favorite topics to talk about! I love good food and from a young age my uncle taught me to be explorative about my food and not be afraid to try new things. If you are a foodie like me and also enjoy trying new dishes from different cultures then this article will be of help to you. I decided to write about popular foods in my native country as a pre-guide for travelers who plan to visit Tanzania in the future.
One important fact most people dont know is that due to the influence of foreigners in the country, Tanzanian cuisines have a touch of Indian, Portuguese, British, Arabic and German styles which makes the food even more exotic. Get those test buds ready and lets begin!
Ah yes! Tanzania’s national dish. Ugali is not only popular in the country but throughout the East and even some of the Southern African countries such as Zambia and Zimbabwe. Why the dish is popular, I honestly have no idea. This native food is prepared by mixing wheat flour with water under moderate heat steering it until it is hard and sticky (people call it the wheat cake), what makes the dish desirable is the sauce served with it, Ugali is normally served with fish(stewed or fried), maharage(swahili for beans), vegetables, meat, you name it. There is this stereotype that Ugali is a masculine food hence preferred by Men, obviously that is not true, anyone can enjoy this African delicacy.
Carbs is a staple part of Tanzanian diet, so do not be surprised that rice and beans (wali na maharage in swahili) is one of the most popular dishes in the country. I know what you’re thinking,” that’s not exotic! I could make that at home!” But what makes this dish unique is the way it is prepared. The beans are prepared by adding beautiful aromatic East African spices while the rice is cooked in coconut milk and oil. The mix of flavors brings an amazing aroma and unique taste to the overall dish.
My favorite! It is similar to the Indian flat bread or Roti but it is made without yeast or baking powder. Chapati is a delicacy mostly preferred to be eaten during breakfast served with soup(beef or any other meat) or with a bowl of beans and tea, its all based on preferences. Chapati can also be served for dinner or lunch, there are no rules honestly so go crazy with it.
Tanzanian doughnuts (Locally known as maandazi)
These are not your regular chocolate creamy sprinkled Krispy Kreme doughnuts, these are far more guilt free. The doughnuts come in different shapes. There is the traditional spherical doughnut shape,rectangular shapes, square, trapezium, you name it. The doughnuts are normally fried in a pan (since most Tanzanian house holds do not have baking ovens), and they are delicious. Similar to chapati, Tanzanian doughnuts are mostly labeled as breakfast food.
A popular food especially for certain tribes in Tanzania such as the Nyakyusa. My mom loves this dish, It is uniquely prepared by mixing beans, maize, coconut milk and certain kinds of vegetables such as bell pepper(optional). I am also a fan of this food especially when prepared with coconut milk. The milk brings a buttery taste and texture to it. If you want to be a bit more explorative you can add a few table spoons of sugar and a little bit of butter and steer it. Delicious!!
Zege is a local name for french fries mixed with eggs and it is a popular delicacy among Tanzanians, especially the youth. the Zege can be served on its own or with vegetables such as cabbages or a mix of salads. Meats like beef skewers, fish, chicken are also popular options. It is downright delicious, I normally save this dish for my cheat day.
Pilau is a popular Tanzanian rice dish which is prepared by cooking in stock or broth, adding spices, and other ingredients such as vegetables or meat. To be more specific this is a popular family Sunday meal. Im not exaggerating when I say almost 80 percent of Tanzanian house holds prepare this meal on Sundays, why? I have no idea, I guess there is this perception that it is the perfect weekend food, or maybe its because it takes so much time to make that people just prefer to prepare in the least busiest day of the week.
All this food talk is making me hungry, luckily my Lunch break is a couple of minutes away. I hope you will make the most of your trip when you visit Tanzania and be as explorative as you can when trying new food. Of course you do need to be cautious especially with the environment where you eat for obvious health reasons. But apart from that, let your taste buds discover new flavors that you did not even know existed. Be adventurous, be daring and most importantly have fun!
If you have any questions,or travel enquiries please do not hesitate to contact us. Take care and Enjoy your meal!
Your Rafiki blogger here,