Stone Town, Forodhani Gardens food market

Tanzania’s food culture

The food in Tanzania is simple and hearty. The kitchen is slightly greasy and simple. Many dishes are accompanied by Ugali, beans or a typical side dish of green leafy vegetables such as cabbage, chard, and spinach. It doesn’t get much more versatile on the mainland. Ugali and chapatis are usually used as side dishes and utensils at the same time

However, Zanzibar and Stone Town are foodies’ havens. We had some of the best food EVER in Stone Town! Influenced by Arabian, Indian and Persian influences, combined with fish, seafood and exotic fruits, you will find here one of the most delicate food cultures in the world. Don’t miss out on the food markets in Stone Town!

Tanzania’s national dish


Tanzania’s essential ingredients

goat meat, chicken, rice, beans, and cabbage

Dining- etiquette

In Tanzania, people often eat from the same plate. It strengthens the feeling of togetherness. Therefore, try at least one bite to avoid being considered rude. Apologize for having eaten and not being hungry.
Never touch the food with your left hand and do not take the last rest from the common plate. It is typical to eat without cutlery. This is where Ugali or Chapati comes in. You conjure a small spoon out of the cornmeal porridge.


Food culture in Tanzania: Chapati

Chapati recipe - Bread and utensil in one

Chapati flatbread is a staple food of Swahili speaking people in Tanzania. Chapati is usually served as a side dish to vegetable or meat dishes. We often had chapati and chipsi mayei for breakfast. Chapati is not only a side dish but also used as a utensil to pick up food.
Pilau Recipe
Ugali, Tanzania recipe

Ugali Recipe - the Tanzanian side dish

The polenta-like side dish is popular across Sub-Saharan Africa. What's known as ugali in Tanzania and Kenia is called nsima or nshima in Zambia and Malawi or just pap in South Africa. Whenever we feel nostalgic, we turn to this exotic recipe. Learn how to cook a typical Tanzanian side dish! It's super easy!
Chipsimayei, Tanzania staple food

Chipsimayei - french fries omlette

Chipsimayei was one of the first dishes we ate in Tanzania. As you travel through Tanzania, you are guaranteed to find the dish on every corner. It’s basically an omelet with french fries.