All about food, Tanzania

A vegetarian delight in Tanzania

TanzaniaJust 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, of course ;)). I know one wouldn’t link Tanzania to a country offering a 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 travelers 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 favorites among the locals.

1. Zanzibar mix Uroja Soup

Tanzania food
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 a bit of a fix when they first served me the soup ;). The soup recipe is inspired by Indian flavors 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

Tanzania food
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

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 chapati

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.

Related post: Glamping with Tanzania Bush Camp, Serengeti

5. Mandazi

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

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 flavors of the mango and avocado and coolness of the sorbet was heavenly after wandering around the sunny Stone Town.

7. Zanzibar Pizza

Tanzania food
Forodhani garden food market
Mango Nutella Pancake

Head to the Forodhani Gardens after sunset to witness the Zanzibar’s street food market and enjoy an evening savoring 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 you are all set for the evening.

8. Loads of fresh fruitsTanzania food

My favorite task while traveling 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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51 thoughts on “A vegetarian delight in Tanzania

  1. Wow! Unbelievable. Who would think Tanzania could offer such a delicious mix of vegetarian food. The pictures make me drool already. You also found chapathi there? That’s incredible. 🙂

  2. looks yummyy. i recently turned vegetarian and these options look great 🙂 BTW i am Vinitha from potpourriofmylife , i am Kannika’s ex colleague 🙂 I love ur blog! Keep up the good work

  3. We haven’t been to Tanzania but we’ve read so much about it. Thanks for sharing the vegetarian options – they look so scrumptious and of course healthy! How long did you stay during your trip? Are prices in restaurants okay?

    1. We were there for about 10 days. The restaurants seem to be of decent price everywhere with great food quality.

  4. Great post! My wife is vegetarian so everywhere we travel we’re always looking out for veggie options. The plantain curry and Mandazi sound delicious! Thanks for sharing, have already pinned it for future reference. Beautiful photos too.

  5. Oh! This looks so amazing. My girlfriend, she is a vegetarian, she would love to read this one. I’ll share this wit her. I am sure she’ll even try to cook few of these.

  6. I’m just delighted! I’m a veggie too. Though I love to explore street food & local cuisines wherever I go, at many places, I end having just 1 or 2 options for veggies! Good to see these many options. The Uroja Soup & Turmeric Burger looks soo yummm…

    1. We totally relate to the not finding local veg food issue. It is so frustrating sometimes. I was lucky while in Tanzania.

  7. I love to find out new recipes from new different places and I must say, about Tanzania I did not really know that much. But what I see here looks really delicious. The Mango Nutella Pancake I would love to try right now, this combination just sounds delicious! And as a starter the Uroja Soup – yummi! Very interesting recipes, thank you for these inspirations.

  8. Usually I’m wary of veggie-only meals but these look really good! I’m surprised they have so many options, especially at local food stalls! Also, that avocado sorbet looks interesting, but I’m not sure if I’d like it! haha

    1. The sorbet flavours all together are very delicious. And all these veg options were a happy surprise for us as well.

  9. I didn’t realise Tanzania was a very veggie country – but these options look delicious! I’m not a veggie myself but often prefer the options. I love the look of the Zucchini Turmeric burger, tempted to try that one at home

  10. I am so glad to discover Tanzania has many veggie options. I am slowly eliminating meat from my diet. Dairy isn’t an option wither for myself, but these dishes seem dairy-free friendly as well. I would love to try the turmeric burger as well the Uroja soup sounds delicious!

  11. I’m not vegetarian, but looking at your photos made me think that one can actually pull it off without sacrificing the pleasure of tasty meals. Very tempting shots! I love your insight as well.

  12. You’re right that I wouldn’t associate Tanzania with delicious vegetarian food but you seemed to have found some good examples. I was veggie for many years and I often ended up eating fruit or bread when I travelled; and even the bread was a bit iffy on whether it actually was veggie sometimes.

    1. We can totally relate to it. Have been so disappointed sometimes when there is not a single place offering veg food around while travelling.

  13. You did well home work this best of Tanzania. Thank you so much for this information!
    I am planning a trip to Tanzania for the year of 2018, and was quite concerned with me being a vegetarian, and weather or not I could survive their eating no meat. So this has been great help for the beginning of my research.

    1. As vegetarians, we found it absolutely ok travelling in Tanzania. There are options in veg everywhere, so you need not worry much :).

  14. I didn’t know anything about the food in Tanzania despite reading so many things about their wonderful places. So this post came as a surprise with Indian origin food like Chapati and Uroja. Thanks for this virtual food tour!

    1. Tanzania has a lot of Indian influence, hence you will find many of the traditional food similar to Indian food.

  15. Wow!
    Finding vegetarian options in Tanzania could mean only one thing, our dream of traveling to Africa one day would just become easier. Thanks for the informative post.
    Your style of writing is very good and the theme chosen is also good.

  16. Wow, my husband is vegetarian and always has trouble finding great food. This looks amazing and I’m going to have to share it with him. I’m not vegetarian and it looks delicious to me!

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