10 Tanzanian Food You Need to Try

  | 4 min read

How do you define the ultimate Tanzanian experience?

Yes, Tanzania is known for its amazing national parks, wildlife, beaches and of course Mt. Kilimanjaro. However, one of the greatest things about visiting the country is getting to try all the delicious local food.

However, finding information online about what local’s like to eat can be challenging. That’s why we compiled a list (in no particular order) of 10 of the finest local foods in Tanzania.

1. Chapati

One of the most common foods that locals consume, that can also be eaten at different times in the day is the famous chapati.

This unleavened pan-grill bread goes well with tea or coffee in the morning as well as stew and vegetables in the evening.

2. Vitumbua

This is can be described as a delicious fried rice cake that is great for breakfast or as a quick bite to eat on the go. Locals like it with milk tea or black tea, you can get a kitumbua from street vendors and bakeries all over Tanzania.

3. Vuruga

This is chips (French fries) mixed in with shredded carrots, bell peppers, onions and a choice of meat (usually beef, goat or chicken) and sautéed (fried) in a special sauce. It’s pretty heavy but absolutely delicious.

4. Nyama choma

This directly translates to grilled or roasted meat, like the name suggests, it can include goat, chicken and even pork. What gives nyama choma its amazing taste is that it is slow roasted to perfection, and eaten with lemon wedges and a homemade chilli sauce called pili pili.

Nyama choma is typically found in different pubs and bars all over Tanzania.

5. Maandazi

This is commonly referred to in English as the Swahili bun or Swahili doughnut. Maandazi has a bread like consistency despite being fried, which makes it perfect for breakfast on the go, a snack and bites for entertaining friends and family.

You can find maandazi in plenty of street vendors all over Tanzania as well as bakeries.

6. Mahindi ya kuchoma

In English this means, roasted or grilled corn. It is a unique and delicious style of eating corn that is mostly common in East Africa.

You honestly can’t find this in a restaurant in Tanzania and if you do, the taste and price will not compare to eating eat it from a street vendor.

Drizzled with lime and a bit of pepper, mahindi ya kuchoma makes for the perfect snack.

7. Mishkaki

A favourite amongst locals and tourists is the chunks of skewered, marinated beef, chicken and sometimes fish called mishkaki. This is typical bar/pub food for locals alongside fries. It goes great with a tusker, Kilimanjaro or any other beer of your choice.

8. Ugali na daga

This is probably the most essential of staple dishes in Tanzania. That is; ugali- boiled maize flour. Served with daga; sardines cooked in a stew.  While you may not be able to find this at any street stand, you can definitely find it at a mamantilie, ‘local street-side food courts’. You can have this with an optional bowl of greens called matembele.

9. Ndizi kaanga

This translates to fried plantains. Different pubs and bars have their unique style of seasoning and preparation, so you can try the dish in whichever bar you find yourself in.

A dish loved by locals for being sweet and savoury, ndizi kaanga makes for the perfect snack.

10. Chipsi mayai

Last but certainly not least would be chipsi mayai, Tanzania’s unique twist on fast food is a combination of chips and eggs fried together.

This dish is adored by locals and tourists alike and goes great with nyama choma and your favourite beer or soda.

Ready to eat?

Surely this list of local foods has made you hungry. So, find some great local restaurants in your area, and satisfy your food cravings right away!

Iman Lipumba
A digital storyteller, experienced in creating content that improves website visibility on search engines, enhances the user experience, and nurtures brand loyalty. With a background in the social sciences, an expert in researching complex ideas, and communicating them in engaging language to multiple audiences.