Culture Food

10 Delicious Breakfast Options in Tanzania

Breakfast in Tanzania Vitumbua - Coconut Rice Pancakes.
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Written by Jesca

Breakfast food in Tanzania offers a delightful array of flavors and options to start your day on a delicious note. As is the case in many cultures, breakfast in Tanzania is light and provides a nourishing start to the day.

From street food favourites like chipsi mayai, to traditional specialities like mtori, and the revitalizing mchemsho broth; there are delicacies offering a wide range of options for your taste buds. Accompanied by aromatic teas, rich coffees, and fresh fruits. They set the tone for a flavorful and fulfilling start to the day.

What Do Tanzanians Eat For Breakfast?

Tanzania is a country that offers a diverse and flavorful breakfast experience. Let’s embark on a culinary journey and explore the delicious breakfast foods that grace the tables of this vibrant East African nation.

1. Tea/chai, Coffee and Uji

Tanzania tea with milk

Tanzania tea with milk. Photo/Based Cooking.

When it comes to drinks, Tanzanians share a love for tea and coffee. This comes as no surprise, as Tanzania is a major producer of high-quality Arabica, Robusta, and Peaberry coffee beans. One popular breakfast ritual involves sipping a cup of chai, a tea infused with milk. Another breakfast option with cultural significance is uji, a millet porridge that offers both sustenance and warmth in the morning. Whether it’s a steaming cup of tea, porridge, or a rich and aromatic coffee, these beverages are an integral part of the Tanzanian breakfast experience.

2. Mtori

Breakfast in Tanzania, Mtori

Breakfast in Tanzania, Mtori. Photo/Our Big Escape.

For those seeking a unique and traditional breakfast food in Tanzania, “mtori” is a must-try dish. Originating from the Chagga tribe in the Kilimanjaro region, mtori is a soup serving as a starch source. It is particularly popular among the Chagga people for its energizing properties, providing sustenance for the day’s work in the fields and essential nutrients for nursing mothers.

They traditionally make the soup with Kilimanjaro green bananas (known as ndizi mshale), Irish potatoes, short beef ribs (with bones removed), vegetables, and salt. After boiling and simmering, the ingredients are pureed to create a soft, creamy, and hearty, comforting, and nourishing texture.

3. Chipsi mayai

Breakfast food in Tanzania Chipsi mayai

Breakfast in Tanzania Chipsi mayai. Photo/We Eat At Last.

One popular street food breakfast option in Tanzania is “chipsi mayai,” which translates to “chips and eggs.” This dish combines French fries with eggs, creating an omelette-like preparation with the fries dispersed throughout. It can also be customized with additional ingredients like bell peppers or onions to add extra flavour and texture.

Often served with a side of kachumbari sauce, made from tomatoes, chilli peppers, and onions, chipsi mayai is a go-to choice for locals and visitors alike. When you spot a big black wok filled with bubbling yellow oil in front of a Tanzanian restaurant, it indicates that they serve this popular street food.

4. Mchemsho

Breakfast food in Tanzania Mchemsho

Breakfast in Tanzania Mchemsho. Photo/International School.

Another beloved breakfast food in Tanzanian is “mchemsho,” a flavorful broth found in households nationwide. This revitalizing food is also commonly consumed by pregnant women, nursing mothers, and hospital patients. Tanzanians prepare the broth for hours, by simmering beef, tripe, local free-range chicken, or goat, allowing the flavors to meld together.

Fresh vegetables like potatoes, green bananas, carrots, onions, and green peppers are added to enhance the nutritional value and create a well-rounded dish. For an extra kick of flavour, slices of fresh green scotch bonnet chillies and a squeeze of lime or lemon juice are added, resulting in an explosive and mouthwatering taste experience.

5. Vitumbua – Coconut Rice Pancakes

Breakfast in Tanzania Vitumbua - Coconut Rice Pancakes.

Vitumbua – Coconut Rice Pancakes. Photo/Sanjana Feasts.

Vitumbua is a breakfast food in Tanzania commonly accompanied by a cup of tea. These delightful pancakes are made from rice flour, yeast, coconut milk, coconut sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, and aromatic cardamom spice. With their sweet and melt-in-your-mouth texture, vitumbua leave a lasting impression and is found throughout the country.

6. Bahjia

Breakfast food in Tanzania, Bagia

Breakfast food in Tanzania, Bajhia. Photo/Swahili Mom Kitchen.

Bahjia, also known as Bhajia or Bajia, originated from the Kenyan coastal region but has become a breakfast food in Tanzania. This treat consists of thinly sliced potatoes coated in a spiced wheat flour paste infused with ginger, scallions, and green onions. The potatoes are then deep-fried to a golden crispness. Freshly ground turmeric adds a vibrant yellow hue to these delectable bites commonly served in Tanzanian homes and hotels.

7. Chapati

Breakfast food in Tanzania, Chapatti

Breakfast in Tanzania Chapatti

While chapatti is a popular breakfast snack in East Africa and has its roots in India. Tanzania has embraced this flatbread and gave it a unique twist. Tanzanian chapatti is thicker and heartier than its Indian counterpart, making it a filling breakfast option enjoyed throughout the day.

8. Supu Ya Ndizi – Plantain Soup

Supu Ya Ndizi - Plantain Soup

Supu Ya Ndizi – Plantain Soup. Photo/TasteAtlas.

Supu ya ndizi is a vibrant Tanzanian soup prepared with mashed green plantains and chicken stock. Unripened green plantains give the soup its distinct color and flavor. They season the soup with salt and pepper. Supu ya ndizi is traditionally served alongside chapatti, creating a comforting and satisfying breakfast meal to kickstart the day.

9. Mandazi

Breakfast food in Tanzania, Mandazi

Breakfast in Tanzania, Mandazi. Photo/

Mandazi, often referred to as Tanzanian doughnuts, are a popular breakfast treat. These fried bread delights are not overly sweet and derive their unique flavour from the inclusion of coconut milk. With their various shapes, including round, triangular, and square, mandazi offers a delightful visual appeal. Whether enjoyed with a cup of tea or a traditional soup, mandazi is a favourite among Tanzanian locals.

10. Date Nut Bread

Date Nut Bread

Date Nut Bread. Photo/Kichanga Lodge.

Date Nut Bread is a nutritious and flavorful breakfast food in Tanzania. Tanzanians make this bread with baking soda, butter, sugar, flour, nuts, and dates and boasts a moist and delightful texture. It is a beloved choice for breakfast, offering a satisfying blend of sweetness and nuttiness.


Tanzanian breakfast cuisine presents a fusion of flavours, drawing inspiration from local traditions and influences from neighbouring countries. From the tempting sweetness of vitumbua and mandazi to the savoury delights of bagia and chapatti, each dish showcases the rich culinary heritage of Tanzania. So, when you embark on your Tanzanian adventure, don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in the diverse and mouthwatering breakfast food in Tanzania.

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About the author

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Besigye is a Ugandan writer and a teacher by profession. She loves adventure and travelling that's why she loves writing travel blogs.

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