AB Blog

29 May 2020

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Zanzibar is an archipelago of islands, the most well known being Unguja 25 kms from mainland coast of Tanzania, Dar Es Salam. The island is famous for its mix of serene white sand and aqua blue water beaches, it’s long and diverse cultural history and most importantly it’s fertile land and mass of spice plantations. Part of the Sultanate of Oman for nearly two centuries, Zanzibar cuisine has many cultural influences from Persia, India, and mainland Africa.

From its seaside location, seafood is a favourite culinary and common go-to for locals and tourists. From its Persian influences, Zanzibar inherits the Persian-style dips such as baba ghanoush are often served as a starter (with Arabian flatbread) at fancier restaurants, along with falafel, tagines, rich goat curries and kofta, often with a uniquely Zanzibarian twist. From its Indian roots adds blends of curries and saffron. And from its authentic roots of Tanzania, Africa comes a cuisine from staples such as coconuts, maize flour, rice, beans and chilli leaving Zanzibar with the top spot for the most delicious, plentiful and diversity of cuisines. Spice and seasoning is a staple ingredient all meals with most popular on the island being ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, cloves, and pepper!


The Staples


The Zanzibar breakfast pallet…

Typical local breakfast that is popular with working people,

Zanzibar spiced coffee or tea delicious blend of coffee beans or tea leaf mixed with ginger, cardamom and milk is often complimented to:

  • Maandazi, Swahili doughnut, a savoury deep fried bread, soft crunch outside and lightly sweetened coconut flavours inside.
  • Chipsi Mayai are Swahilli style chips and eggs – soul food in Zanzibar. Essentially is an omlette served with French fries.
  • As an Island, tropical fruits are plentiful, eaten for breakfast and throughout the day. Eaten ripened and untampered with natural juicy flavours, on the fruits menu are the staple coconuts, amazing papayas, bananas, jackfruit, and passion fruit.


The Bakery

Flaky pastry pies and fried dough (the Nigerian equivalent to doughnuts) are on top of the list with an assortment of tastes, shapes, textures and fillings, eating as snacks.

Typical local snacks that is popular with local people,

  • Zanzibar Pizza is a local favourite and a must try! African bites is soon to have this on the menu.
  • This popular street food is nothing like traditional western pizza hut but is a pocket of dough filled with meat or fish, onions, peppers, raw egg, cheese, and mayonnaise. The entire thing is then fried in oil and results in crispy chewy savoury flavored paradise.
  • Octopus and Cassava is a common snack in Tanzania, made by frying pieces of octopus and cassava served with a side of chili tomato sauce and delivered in a newspaper.
  • Mshikaki is similar to Kebab and includes skewered marinated meats, slowly cooked over open coals often a communal dish, it draws a late night croud and is often served in streats near bars and clibs.

Savory Pallet

There are many savory snacks in Nigerian cuisine, fried, barbecued, boiled, roasted, baked or steamed.

Nyama Choma

This dish is similar to mshikaki in that it is slow roasted meat (typically goat). Often, they’ll take the meat off the carcass and throw it onto the grill right before your eyes – meat can’t get much fresher!

Be ready to wait for about an hour. But it’s worth it for this delicious, smoky meat that’s filled with flavor.

Ndizi Kaanga

This Tanzanian food is popular as a side dish or snack. What does it mean? Fried plantains, of course!

They’re usually not sweet, but some will add sugar before the frying process to bring out the sweeter flavors of the plant. Another variant chooses to sprinkle the plantain with salt and grill it instead.

Supa Ya Ndizi

This is yet another plantain dish and also known as Mtori. Here, the plantain is crushed into a paste, cooked in chicken broth, and then seasoned with pepper and salt. It’s usually served with bread, rice, roti, or chapati (sort of like naan).

Sweet tooth

Surrounded with tropical fruits and coconuts, Zanzibar cuisine also has an assortment of sweets created from

Most popular sweets for snacking and desserts

  • Ndizi na Kastad, a dish consisting of bananas that are covered in sweet custard and sprinkled with nutmeg and cinnamon.
  • Ice Cream and beachside is a great mix, its no surprise that many flavours of ice cream are popular with the Tourists including nutella, mint, cocoa or Amarena cherry. But to try something more exotic, get masala, ginger, baobab, peanut, hibiscus!


Zanzibar traditional main dishes are made up of a blend of cultures, mirroring its history.

  • Mchuzi Wa Pweza is Zanzibar food incorporating local seafood and curry. Octopus can be cooked with spices like turmeric, coriander, cardamom and scinnamon and simmered in coconut gracy or in a curry dish.
  • Ugali is a taple dish throughout East Africa is a cross between mashed potatoes and polenta and served with mchuzi, a soup local to Tanzania.
  • Biryani ya Zanzibar in a spectacular Tanzanian variation of spices such as ginger, cardamom, cloves and nutmeg. Separately served with beef, goat or fish curry.
  • Pilau Rice, like brriyani but is cooked with meat component at the same time and is not a curry base.
  • Nyama Choma is a popular dish and involves slow roasting meat, mainly goat, and eating every part of that his dish is similar to mshikaki in that it is slow roasted meat (typically goat).
  • Urojo is a simple ramen like dish, a coconut curry dish filled with many toppings.
  • Wali Na Maharage is a mushy red beans and rice dish soaked in coconut milk and served with your choice of meat vegies or fish seasoned with cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, cloves, and pepper.
  • Coconut Bean Soup is made from coconut milk, shredded coconut, tomatoes, kidney beans, and spices and is a delicious vegan dish!
  • Bokoboko (Bokuboku) a popular East African dish made of shredded meat, wheat, and spices combined together like porridge.

From the Zanzibar bakery online or contact us on 0424 456 291 and for any enquiries.