What do you get when you combine centuries of traditional East African flavors with the best in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine? Well, you get Tanzanian food.
Food works like gravity in Tanzania—it will quickly pull you into the country’s orbit of culture and community.
If there is one failsafe strategy to better understand the essence of other people and other places, it’s through your taste buds, through food and drink, and it’s through sharing a meal together.
It’s about slowing down enough to savor the flavors and nuance.
And while you probably won’t find Tanzanian fare exported to the ends of the Earth, it’s because their food and drink is largely a fusion of several major culinary heavyweights. Indian and Middle Eastern spices complement the Tanzanian palate and make for some salivating and delicious meals. Hungry yet?
By far the most common addition to any Tanzanian plate is ugali, a starchy side made of corn meal or sorghum that everyone, EVERYONE, uses to complement a meal.
Here’s how it works:
First, pinch a handful, then squeeze the ugali into an egg-shaped ball in the palm of your hand, then dip it into your favorite spicy sauce of fish or vegetables.
My stomach just growled in Swahili. Meat consumption is fairly common in Tanzania, enjoyed in the form of goat, beef, chicken, and fish. Though not impossible to be vegetarian in Tanzania, locating reliable protein might be an issue at times. Worry not: there are always rice and beans nearby, and Indian food is a great option, too.
For drinks, sweet beverages such as chai or soda are typical. Sugar is the name of the game in Tanzania.
Green vegetables are also standard sides to complement the starch and meat. Chips (french fries) are also widely available.
Three Tanzanian Foods Not to Miss:
2. PilauSimple but elegant and filling, pilau is seasoned rice. Tanzania and its Zanzibar archipelago are famous for their historical spice trade, so you will find this Middle Eastern influenced rice dish everywhere. So. Good.
3. Ndizi KaangaThese are fried plantains or bananas, a very common and popular dish in East African and, more specifically, Tanzania. This is often served as a snack or as a side to a main course as something to push around with sauce or on their own.
We are now heading off to the kitchen, because we just made ourselves hungry by writing this 🙂