Tanzania’s history and location give it a unique cuisine that mixes the flavors of East Africa with those of the Arabic world and India. While some of the cuisine is similar to other countries in east Africa (we left out ugali and nyama choma, although they are popular), there are plenty of dishes that you’ll find more often in Tanzania. From fried treats to spicy eats, here are 10 Tanzanian street foods that you have to try.
You’ll find this yummy fried snack throughout the country and it’s a great way to quickly get some carbs for walking around. The dish is made from deep-fried cassava that has been coated in chili powder, salt and lemon. While it’s usually served in small pieces, when served whole it’s often coated with a lovely tomato and chili sauce that’s sure to give your mouth a flavor explosion.
This distinctive porridge is often the first thing Tanzanians eat when they wake up in the morning. It’s made with a bit of black pepper, sugar and lime that creates a taste unlike anything you’ve ever had. It’s usually washed down with a cup of chai as well.
Meat lovers won’t want to miss this fantastic Tanzanian street food. It’s made from giant cubes of meat that are put on a skewer and served like a shish kebab. You’ll often find mishkaki vendors right on the side of the road grilling it up over an open pit.
This coconut curry based dish is a favorite in Tanzania and is also referred to as kuku na nazi. The yellow dish would fit in nicely in India, but Tanzania knows a thing or two about curry as well. If you’re hungry and need something spicy, this dish should be on your short list.
Although the dish originates in India, you’ll find it served just about everywhere in Tanzania. Believe it or not, pilau in Tanzania is typically more spiced than what you’ll find in the Indian version, and is usually cooked with a copious amount of local meat and vegetables.
You generally won’t find this dish much in areas along the coast, but it’s popular in the northern mainland of the country. It’s one of the more traditional dishes and comes with potatoes, spices, veggies, and either fish or chicken. Mchemsho is certainly one of the heartiest foods that you’ll find on the street.
We swear this isn’t an article about Indian food! Samosas are extremely popular in Tanzania, but typically won’t have the the potatoes and peas that you often find in the Indian version. In Tanzania, they tend to be a bit smaller and are usually stuffed with a good helping of minced beef. Be sure to grab a few when you’re walking around the streets.
This healthy dish is one of the most popular side dishes in Tanzania and is made from a vegetable that isn’t found in most of the world — amaranth greens. It’s prepared similar to chopped collards and seasoned with Tanzanian spices.
Like samosas, you’ll find pani puri just about everywhere in Tanzania, especially in Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam where the Indian influence is the strongest. This round hollowed-out dish is fried and stuffed with chutney, masala, potatoes and more. It might just be the perfect street food.
We hope you saved room for dessert, because you’re going to need it once you find mandazi. These triangular treats are similar in texture to doughnuts, but are generally less sweet compared to the frosted kind you find around the world. The best thing about eating them off the street is that you can get a whole batch that’s just been pulled out of the hot oil. Bon appétit!
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