Tanzanian Street Food, a la Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam

Street food is a window into the soul of any nation’s cuisine. What foods are battered, sold wrapped in paper and bags are often the bedrock upon which a great proportion of the population eat and feast.

I find it one way to discover a city, to embrace it, to discover all the ways in which we’re similar, or ways I wish we were.

In Nigeria, some of our most popular street food are fried – Akara, fritters of beans and puff puff, fried dough. It’s fascinating to see the same sort of foods on the streets of cities and places unfamiliar. A kind of taking one home but not – a connection, a sharing of ways in which we are similar in the multitude of our differences.

I spent the better part of March and early April in East Africa, my first visit to the ‘Indian’ ocean. I had an AMAZING time and if truth be told, I’m still suffering withdrawal from the stunning oceans blue, fresh Passion fruit juice and more.

As can be expected, a lot of the cuisine is influenced by Indian and The Middle East and the result is delicious.

Here is a short summary of what I ate on the streets of Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam.

Bhajia | Bean Fritter | Dar Es Salaam

Crunch balls of bean paste – like Nigerian Akara but round, and thick with a really crunch exterior. Served with Pili pili sauce from a street cart. I loved them. Note the name, from the Indian Bhaji, of a fritter cf. Onion Bhaji

Streetfood - Bhajia. Crunchy balls of bean paste. Like Akara but round and thick and really crunchy exterior. Loved em. Passed on the traditional Pili Pili serving sauce. I no wan hear. Cc @yajibox #kitchenbutterfly #daressalaam #travelinAfrica #trave

Chipsi Mayai | Chips & Eggs | Dar Es Salaam

A Tanzanian Specialty of fried potatoes and eggs. Think of it as the cousin to Spanish Tortilla. I had these in a restaurant overlooking Coco Beach. I loved every bite and am desperate to try a New Nigerian Kitchen yam version!


Nyama Choma | Barbecued Goat Meat | Dar Es Salaam

Traditionally served with Kachumbari – a fresh tomato salsa/salad, this reminds me of the smoky flavours of Nigerian suya.

Dinner- Nyama Choma/ Barbecued goat meat with Kachumbari, tomato salad #dinnerindar #breakpoint #kitchenbutterfly #travelnoire #daressalaam #travelinAfricaThe green chili sauce was my absolute fave - fresh, hot, sweet and perfect for dipping pieces of bread and meat in. #sightsandsoundsofdaressalaam #streetfood #choma #inseason #diningindar #daressalaam #dinnerindar #travelnoire #travelinAfrica

Roasted Corn With Chili Salt & Lime | Dar Es Salaam

Served with a spiced salt mix and lime, it was intriguing to see this variation on roasted corn. I loved the fragrance of citrus, the sweetness and the way the combination of salt, spice and lime freshened things up

It's corn season in Dar and roasted corn is served hot off the grill and rubbed down with limes dipped in piri piri salt #streetfood #corn #inseason #diningindar #daressalaam #limes #piripiri #streetsnacks #roastedcornMakes me think of Nigeria and Mexico at the same time. We have so much in common across borders and cultures #streetfood #corn #inseason #diningindar #daressalaam #limes #piripiri #streetsnacks #roastedcorn

Chapati | Flat Bread | Zanzibar

It was here I discovered the awesomeness of the two textures found in Chapati. A thin, crispy outer layer and a middle, thick, doughy layer. Popular all day, every day, I enjoyed this for breakfast with milky tea, lunch with rice and salad and dinner with meats. Yum, all day, every day.

_DSC0489We feasted on a gorgeous local lunch of chapati, naan, biryani, sweet tamarind drink and spiced, milky tea. #kitchenbutterfly #travel #travelnoire #Zanzibar #Africa #travelinAfrica #chapati #foodinZanzibar #onthetable

Naani | Flat Bread | Dar Es Salaam

Made like a naan in a metal oven similar to the Indian clay tandoor and somewhat similar to Naans but not, this bread was thin and sweet and crunch and everything delicious. I loved watching it made. It came with roast chicken and a variety of dipping sauces.

Bread. Smoke. Meat. #sightsandsoundsofdaressalaam #streetfood #choma #inseason #diningindar #daressalaam #dinnerindar #travelnoire #travelinAfricaThe bread, naani was stunning. Made like a naan in a metal oven similar to the Indian clay tandoor, it was thin and sweet and crunchy and everything. Everything about life and communion and nourishment and celebration. Sigh. I have a thing for flatbreads.

[Tweet “What’s you favourite street food – at home or away from home? Here are some of mine”]

I thoroughly enjoyed these! Coming soon? What I ate in Nairobi, and drank!

What are some of your favourite street foods?


  1. This is brilliant; loved sharing in this journey East with you. As I scrolled I realised: even the foods you encountered tell that it’s the Indian Ocean indeed–or the coast where Africa’s encounter with Indian traffic really began, and sustained for a long time.

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