Zanzibar has made up of many small islands and two large ones. The main island is Unguja but is more commonly referred to as ‘Zanzibar’. The second largest island is Pemba in the north.
While most accommodation and things to do on Zanzibar are located on the main island, those seeking a quiet escape will find plenty of options on Pemba and Mafia as well. Although officially apart of the United Republic of Tanzania, Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous region.
This means that your passport and visa status will be checked on arrival at immigration. You don’t need a specific visa to enter Zanzibar. The following are foods and snacks that you should eat in Zanzibar.
The rice with beans
of all foods in Zanzibar this the best food ever to be eaten by the people of Zanzibar, this lovely food is eaten by all ages, in any time it does matter the time. The rice is cooked normally until it gets completely ready. The beans are boiled early because it will take almost 3 hour to ripe, then put coconut milk in the beans, wait until is ready. The food is ready for eating.
this is the food which is origins in the Middle East and parts of India, is also one of the most famous dishes to eat in Zanzibar. The rice is cooked in a variety of spices, and then paired together with a meat or fish curry, that always accompanies the rice. As opposed to pilau, biryani is the style where the rice and curry dishes are cooked separately and then combined together to make the dish complete. Popular versions include fish, beef, and goat.
Unlike biryani, where the rice and dish are cooked separately, pilau normally intends that the rice and meat and spices are all combined and cooked together. So it’s a bit drier than biryani (as there’s no curry sauce), but it also tends to be a little more spice flavored than biryani. Both biryani and pilau are excellent, and you should definitely try them both to see which one you prefer. I like them both equally, and can’t pick a favorite, so I normally just order 2 plates!
Octopus Curry (mchuzi wa pweza)
Octopus is a favorite seafood in Zanzibar and it’s widely eaten at both street food stalls and fancy hotels throughout the island. On the eastern beaches of Zanzibar, you’ll often find people searching for octopus trapped in coral rock pools when the tide goes down. They then will often beat the octopus on a rock to tenderize it. Slices of octopus are normally cooked in a blend of rich spices like turmeric, coriander, and then simmered in think coconut cream gravy. The result is nothing short of marvelous. Octopus curry is easily one of our favorite things to eat in Zanzibar.
In mainland Tanzania, they call it Zanzibar Mix, but on the island they call it urojo and to my understanding, they are basically the same dish. It’s a mishmash of a dish, a unique creation that begins with bhajias and other crispy fritters, all mingled in curry gravy and topped with more crispy fritters. It’s sort of like the ultimate Tanzanian Zanzibar junk food in a bowl, and you should definitely give it a try.
(Other Cakes) The dough is usually cut into a triangular shape, then deep fried until it turns dark golden brown, and usually enjoyed with a hot and sweet cup of chai. You’ll find mandazis everywhere from sit down restaurants to street food stalls where they often sit in glass cabinets waiting to be purchased. There are all sorts of other random deep fried treats to snack on in Zanzibar such as: samosas (a triangle of fried dough usually filled with meat or vegetables), vitumbua (rice flour coconut cake), among others.
They basically take a small ball of dough, thin it out and start frying it on a hot pan surface. Then goes in whatever ingredients you asked for like chicken or beef or fish and then a mixture of peppers and onions, and and egg then gets poured into the middle of the dough. The final step is to add some mayonnaise and processed happy cow cheese to the mix, and fold up the Zanzibari pizza into a rectangle. But it is famous throughout the island, especially at the Forodhani night market in Stone Town.
For a delicious meat snack, usually either chicken or beef, grab a few skewers of mishkaki. The sticks of mishikaki are great to eat for a meal, and in Zanzibar, especially around the streets of Stone Town, you’ll find them grilling them up in the late afternoon. In Dar Es Salaam, you’ll find huge skewers of meat, while in Zanzibar they are normally a little smaller.
Octopus and Casava
Along with mishkaki, another popular street food snack in Zanzibar is the combination of octopus pieces with fried cassava. The octopus is usually fried as well, diced into bite sized pieces, and served on a piece of yesterday’s newspaper along with some chunks of fried cassava (like a starchy potato). Once you get your street food snack, you can either sprinkle on some salt, or get a squirt of the chili tomato sauce that’s often provided.
Comfort food at its finest would describe this popular east African fries (chips) omelet. The fries are first deep fried, then tossed into a skillet with a couple of eggs, and fried into a circular omelet. The result is far from anything remotely healthy, but I would have to say that it’s quite tasty. I like to eat my chips mayai with some extra chilies, kachumbari (tomatoes and onions), and a douse of tomato sauce to make things tangy.
To make a long story short these are the very foods to eat when you are in Zanzibar, and you will definitely enjoy the test of all foods.
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