Tanzania is a melting pot of cultural ethnicity and this reflects in the food. The local culture is vibrant and lively much like the local dishes you can find populating the menus and market stalls. Zanzibar is also known as Spice Island and you can find plenty of bright and beautiful spices over-spilling at the famous markets of Stone Town. The air around Stone Town is rich with the exotic scent of spices permeating the streets.
Tanzanian dishes generally reflect African cooking techniques comprised of fresh vegetables, locally sourced meat, coconut milk and the traditional spices. Be sure to sample Ugali, a local side dish made from maize flour and rolled into bite sized balls – perfect for dipping into fresh and spicy sauces or mopping up rice and meat. Rice is a staple part of the African diet and you can expect to find plenty of grains making up the bulk of most local dishes. Sugary pumpkin and sweet potato are commonly found in local curry dishes and compose the perfect blend of sweet and savory. A popular afternoon lunch can consist of spiced goat with hot peppers and bright and zingy lime juice whereas a local breakfast can include hot chicken broth and thick and creamy buttermilk.
Thanks to the tropical climate Tanzania is rife with fresh vegetables and delicious jeweled fruits. Ripe avocados, fragrant papaya, golden pineapple and oversized watermelons are often available throughout the year. It’s best to pick up homegrown fruit from the roadside stalls laden with colorful fruits from bunches of yellow bananas to zesty bags of oranges.
The abundance of fruit makes for some wonderful opportunities to taste a range of local jams and spreads. Honey is also a local specialty and the colorful pots range from rich amber to pale liquid.
For breakfast and light snacks you can sample the sweet biscuits known as mandazi. Fried plantain, fire roasted corn on the cob and handfuls of fried fruit make for the perfect mid afternoon snack and can be found throughout the city.
When it comes to beverages you can find rainbow colored juices in abundance, most are freshly squeezed and full of goodness to kick start your day. With the surrounding coffee plantations you can expect the rips scent of dark African coffee to waft through the streets. Tea lovers will be overwhelmed with variety and you can see the Indian influence through the beautifully spiced cups of chai.
Locally sourced beers in Tanzania vary and are often laced with honey, plantain and corn. From light Kenyan brews to darker, thicker tastes the local beers on safari are certainly worth tasting. You may come across the local spirit known as konyagi which is similar to gin in taste and color.
Many hotels will cater for Western tourists with a wide range of continental options.