Tanzania Food and Drink

Food in Tanzania greatly varies depending on where you are in the country and what food products are available locally. On the mainland and away from the coast, most hotels serve Tanzanian dishes that usually consists of meat stews or fried chicken, accompanied by staples including chips, boiled potatoes or ugali (maize meal porridge eaten all over Africa). Many Tanzanian towns have a significant population of second-generation immigrants from the Indian sub-continent, and restaurants serving Indian dishes like biryani, spicy curries and chapatti bread are not uncommon.

On the coast, the Indian Ocean provides a full range of seafood, and the Swahili style of food is delicately flavoured by spices and coconut milk and features fragrant rice, grilled fish and prawn curries; it's best sampled on Zanzibar where a tourist must-do is to treat yourself to a whole lobster (at a surprisingly affordable price). Tropical fruit such as coconuts, pawpaws, mangoes, pineapples and bananas are abundant, as are the delicious fresh juices made from them. There is much greater variety of cuisines in the cities and tourist spots.

Dar es Salaam is a fairly cosmopolitan large city with a good choice of world-food restaurants (the likes of Thai or Japanese feature for example) and the major hotels and safari lodges offer Western and other international food. Many of the larger beach resorts and safari lodges offer breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets for their all-inclusive guests. These vary greatly – some can be fairly limited and of poor quality while others offer a generous selection of fine top-class cuisine.

Specialities

Nyama choma (barbecued meat).
• Ugali (maize meal porridge).
Mandazi (doughnuts).
Kachumbari (spicy tomato relish served with meat).
Wali wa nazi (rice cooked with coconut milk).
Mchuzi wa kamba (prawn curry with tomatoes).
Matoke (boiled and mashed plantain).
Mishkaki (beef kebabs).

Things to know

Table service is normal in restaurants, while bars generally have counter service. On the coast and on Zanzibar, the population is predominantly Muslim, so while alcohol is available in the tourist hotels and resorts, it is not available in local restaurants and should not be drunk in public.

Tipping

In Tanzania tipping is not expected but a tip of around 10% for good service is greatly appreciated by restaurant and hotel staff, most of whom receive very low pay. Large hotels, safari lodges and beach resorts many have tip boxes in reception to be are shared amongst the staff.

Regional drinks

Safari (a good lager that is produced locally).
Konyagi (a popular, cheap, and frightfully strong gin).
• Coffee (is an Arabica variety grown on the slopes of Kilimanjaro and served black in small porcelain cups).
• Chai (tea served very sweet in small glasses especially on the coast and Zanzibar).

Drinking age

18.

Edited by Jane Duru
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