Just like the famous quote “ A happy tummy is a happy soul”, one of my favorite memories from Tanzania was relishing on the local vegetarian food (Apart from spending time with my husband, ofcourse ;)). I know one wouldn’t link Tanzania to a country offering variety of options for vegetarians. But after eating some of the delicious local food, I can happily say in Swahili “Hakuna Matata” to all my vegetarian travellers to Tanzania.
The Tanzanian cuisine mainly consists of Swahili cuisine with culinary influence from Indian, Arab and British cuisines. I have listed down below some of the food I absolutely loved, which are also favourites among the locals.
1. Zanzibar mix Uroja Soup
The Uroja Soup is a flour-based soup made with coconut milk, raw mango and spices. A lot of our Indian readers will instantly recognize this as the traditional kadhi pakoda and I have to admit even I was in bit of a fix when they first served me the soup ;). The soup recipe is inspired from Indian flavours and is a famous dish in Stone Town, Zanzibar Island. You can try Uroja at the local food stalls or any of the traditional restaurants in stone Town.
2. Mchicha wa Nazi
Mchicha wa Nazi is a Swahili delicacy made of Mchicha (Spinach) and a variety of local spices and is served with Plain rice. It is a simple dish, which will instantly give you a feeling of having a home cooked meal. It is famous around coastal part of Tanzania and also in Zanzibar Island.
3. Zucchini Turmeric burger
Well, this might not be a traditional Tanzanian dish, but I couldn’t help myself from sharing it here. I tried this at Emerson Spice Restaurant in Stone Town, Zanzibar, a nice rooftop restaurant in the middle of the old town. Initially I was skeptical about having a turmeric burger but kudos to the talented chef for preparing such a delicious meal.
4. Plantain curry with chapathi
Chapathi (Indian flatbread) is a staple food among the Tanzanians and this was served to us along with plantain (raw banana) in coconut-based gravy. One of the chefs served this traditional meal on special request while we were camping at Serengeti National Park. After an adventurous day of safari, we did not anything more relaxing than the homely meal.
Famously known as the Swahili Doughnuts/ bun, these were my daily must have for breakfast. This consumed along with freshly made fruit dips or powdered sugar is a perfect start to your day in Tanzania.
6. Avocado, Tamarind and Mango Sorbet
This again like the burger is a specialty of Emerson Spice Restaurant in Zanzibar. The tangy tamarind zest along with rich flavours of the mango and avocado and coolness of the sorbet were heavenly after wandering around the sunny Stone Town.
7. Zanzibar Pancakes
Head to the Forodhani Gardens after sunset to witness the Zanzibar’s street food market and enjoy an evening savouring the local food. One of the must have in the food market is the famous Zanzibar pancakes. Made from rice flour, you can have your choice of fillings inside ranging from nutella to scrambled eggs. I tried the Mango nutella pancake and it was utterly delicious. End your street food tour with a glass of freshly squeezed sugar cane juice and your all set for the evening.
My favourite task while travelling in Tanzania was binging on the fresh tropical fruits like mangos, passion fruit, pineapple, oranges and so on all around the day. It was like a much-needed energy booster during the game drives and helped stay healthy in the trip.
Hope you guys enjoyed reading our post, do leave us a comment on your thoughts about the vegetarian options in Tanzania!
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