Culture Food

5 Tasty And Famous Foods of Tanzania You Should Try

Nyama Choma
Written by See Africa Today

Mt Kilimanjaro, the Serengeti, and the white-sand beaches of Zanzibar are just a few of Tanzania’s many treasures for tourists. However, the food culture in Tanzania is generally overlooked by tourists but everything changes with famous foods of Tanzania.

Good enough is that the simple yet tasty and flavourful meals are easy to get. In the streets, you have them all for a relatively low price.

So, the next time you visit Tanzania, be sure to indulge in the following popular meals in the Swahili land.

French Fries With Eggs

Chips Mayai

Chips Mayai is among the famous foods of Tanzania. Photo/

In the local dialect which is Swahili, they call this chips mayai.  Tanzanians love it as a portion of comfort food.

Essentially, it’s an omelette made out of French fries, but that’s exactly where its appeal rests. You may also observe that in Tanzania, French fries are fresh, hand-cut, and peeled potatoes fried to a golden yellow colour unlike in the West.

In most restaurants, you’ll find chips mayai, and locals prefer to eat them with toothpicks and ketchup. Its affordability ranks it among the famous foods of Tanzania.

Pizza in Zanzibar

The “pizza” that bears its name in Tanzania is one of the most intriguing and delicious things you will ever eat there.

Though among the famous foods of Tanzania, its first appearance is not striking enough.

The Zanzibar pizza appears like a sheet of dough rolled out and filled with onions, meat and eggs.

It’s placed on the pan to be fried in some oil. Oversized dumpling-like squares are what you get when you remove the lid. Also, there are dessert options, such as chocolate and banana, available.


The history of Kenya’s staple dish, Ugali dating back to the 19th century

Ugali. Photo/Food Kenya

Tanzanians eat a lot of ugali since it’s cheap and easy to make but this is not the only thing listing it among the famous foods of Tanzania.

Ugali is prepared from slowly boiling water and maize flour. The result is a dough-like consistency, which is then allowed to cool for a short time before eating.

To eat correctly, you break a chunk off and crush it into a ball in your palm before dipping it into the main dish and devouring it.

Nyama choma it is most commonly served as a side dish.  Ugali also goes down well with vegetables.

Although it takes some getting used to, it can become curiously addictive.


For those unfamiliar with African cuisine, mshikaki are skewered chunks of marinated meat slowly grilled slowly over open charcoal stoves.

Why is it among the famous foods of Tanzania?  Because the taste of African meat is unmistakable! The flavour is authentic and astoundingly sweet.

At night, Mshikaki is a popular street snack – you may see it served outside nightclubs and at outdoor pubs. You can prepare it from beef, mutton or pork.

You then cook it slowly over an open charcoal fire. Famous foods of Tanzania would never be complete without mentioning Mshikaki.

Nyama Choma

Nyama Choma

Nyama Choma ranks top in the famous foods of Tanzania. Photo/Uzalendo News

Mutton and beef are the most popular in the world of nyama choma which is basically roasted meat. Besides ranking top among famous foods of Tanzania, nyama choma is popular in East Africa.

Huge chunks of meat are cooked on a charcoal grill right in your presence. To achieve a great charred flavor, the meat is left to cook over hot charcoal for a long period on the grill.

Beef is a lot tougher than what you are used to. So, some people prefer goat meat because it is tender.

While the goat is cooking, it’s customary for a group of people to gather and enjoy a few beers and some friendly banter while enjoying nyama choma.

A plate of the dish can take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour to prepare.

Nyama choma brings people together and it is common to find many households roasting meat over Christmas and enjoying a couple of cold beers.

The next time you find yourself in the land of Swahili, sample the famous foods of Tanzania.

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About the author

See Africa Today

Pharis Kinyua is the editor of See Africa Today. With over seven years of experience in digital media, he has a soft spot for African tours and travel. His drive is to tell the rest of the world what Africa offers, the best accommodation facilities, national parks, culture, shopping malls and best airline deals to travel to Africa

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