Tanzania Food

What to eat in Tanzania

Tanzanian Cousine

Food in Tanzania and on Safari

TANZANIA  is well know as destination of choice to see lions, leopards and other big animals while on Safari. Cousine however is a big part of your trip, so what can you expect? What are some of the traditional foods?

Tanzanian Cousine is unique, colorful, nutritional and quite filling as well. And 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.

“Food works like gravity in Tanzania—it will quickly pull you into the country’s orbit of culture and community.”

Tanzanian Food

Origins of the Tanzanian Cuisine

Nowadays, there are about 120 ethnic groups in Tanzania, including people of European and Asian descent. The rich diversity found in Tanzanian cuisine comes from these cultural influences.

  • The Muslims set up the trade routes going in and out of Tanzania around 800 A.D. As a result, spices from India and citrus fruits were able to reach Tanzania. The Muslims’ influence is mostly present in the coastal region and on Zanzibar Island; the latter is well-renowned for its spice farms.
  • The Portuguese introduced cassava, a root containing a large amount of starch, and groundnuts, both staple ingredients of Tanzanian cuisine.
  • The British are responsible for the presence of tea plantations in Tanzania.
  • The Germans established coffee plantations.
Traditional African Food

Typical Tanzanian Meals

One of the Tanzanian customs entails hand washing at the table prior to the meal, using a large bowl of water and a towel. You must at all times only use your right hand even if you are left-handed! This is because the right hand is perceived as ‘the pure hand’ whereas the left hand is considered unclean.

The sun rises in Tanzania and it’s go time. Like much of East Africa, traditional breakfast here is light. They often include tea or coffee (Tanzania grows some of the finest coffee in the world!) and perhaps bread or chapatti. Another common breakfast is uji, a sweet porridge made from millet or sorghum.

As morning turns into day, you will find that Tanzanian lunch happens from noon to one in the afternoon. It is common to eat communally and with your hands, often scooping up Tanzania’s number one pillar of food: Ugali.

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.

The sun lowers and with it the temperature too. A typical dinner in Tanzania consists of similar all-stars we found at lunch: grilled meat and sauces, endless ugali, and perhaps rice mixed with spices.

Closer to the coast and on the island of Zanzibar, you will find coconut or banana as common flavors.
Green vegetables are also standard sides to complement the starch and meat. Chips (french fries) are also widely available.

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