Tanzania has a good mix of food with a strong Indian influence. A strong Indian influence is something that we think every country should have, but you might find Tanzanian food difficult if you disagree. Like most things in Tanzania, food if very cheap as soon as you get out of the touristy areas. Enough babble--here are the pics.
One of our first stops was an Indian restaurant in Dar. The vegetarian thali (essentially a meal of different dishes for those who don't eat a lot of Indian) was very good and filling. And at $2, attractively priced. We aren't sure about the things that look and taste like giant Chex are, but we have never seen them at another Indian restaurant. Or anyplace on Earth for that matter.
Tara had a really hard time finding yogurt in Tanzania, but she thought this one was okay.
We did find some hibiscus juice (of Ugandan origin, but found in Tanzania). It reminded us of all the tasty bissap of West Africa, but it wasn't as good. Probably it was missing the added dirt from the woman making it on the street.
Tara ordered an octopus dish when we went to dinner with our friend Krisitin in Dar. IF you look at the picture closely, you can see the tentacles. At one point, her food tried to attack her, but she fought it off by slicing the tentacles into bits. Thanks for dinner, Kristin!
We bought these balls on the street in Zanzibar mostly due to the glowing yellow color. As it turned out, they were terrific. Little balls of potato and Indian spices dipped in some kind of great batter (with a faint lemon taste) and fried. We ate many more.
Zanzibar has a huge, touristy night market each night that is mostly seafood. Tara got this masala lobster and some "naan", which isn't so much naan as a generic flat bread, but not bad.
On my generic garlicly semi-flat bread, I also go some salad and hot sauce, which improved its taste. It is funny to see all the Indian-inspired breads that aren't quite actually Indian.
Zanzibar has people selling fresh squeezed sugar juice everywhere, and we decided to try some despite not liking it much in South America. As it turns out, it was amazing. They add ginger and lime to make it extra tasty.
I watched a couple of Indians buy a soup-like bowl of stuff from a vendor and since they might have been the only locals around, I followed their lead. I got this super cheap concoction of broth, beans, potato, and other unidentifiable stuff for maybe 30 cents. Not bad, but not award winning.
This touristy night market has many people selling "Zanzibar pizza", which is a thin, crepe-like dough with fillings inside. We got banana mango, which wasn't bad, but not the best thing ever.
Here is a guy squeezing the sugar juice. All made fresh right in front of your eyes. They run it through the machine many times, folding it in half every couple of runs to get more. A whole cane makes about one big glass of juice.
Everyone had what they called falafel. We bought one, but it wasn't like any falafel we had ever had. Fluffy and filled with bad tastes, we fought over who had to eat it. I finally ate most of it with a huge side of hot sauce.
I wonder what this is. While on a bus, I used the rest of the little money we had at the time to buy a package of random fried things. One was a samosa, one was a banana, and then there was this. It had some vaguely meaty stuff inside and was then breaded and fried. Not so great.
Like most West African and East African countries, Tanzania has its own maize or cassava fluffy stuff that you eat with your hands and dip into some kind of stew. In Tanzania, maize is more common, and it is called ugali. Fortunately, they don't like it fermented like some countries, so it has little taste and takes on the taste of the sauce. I like it. Tara tolerates it. Most Westerners despise it. The ugali to stew ratio in this picture seems typical, though most places are nice enough to give some extra sauce if you ask.
When visiting our friend, Andrew, in his village outside of Mwanza, we were buying fruit and I saw these things. We asked the lady what they were (actually, Andrew did in his impressive Swahili for the short time he has lived there), and she replied that they are called the same word as an ant. We asked how to eat it, and she took a bite of one and looked like she was about to barf. So, I immediately bought some. They smell very nice like a flower. They taste a weird mixture of floral and bitter and sour. They are not good. I have no idea who eats them. None of us could stomach more than about a third of one and they are only the size of an olive.
During our time in the Serengetti, Tara and I each cooked a meal. Here is Tara tasting the pasta dish that we had for dinner that night. We were able to pay a dollar or two to the kitchen staff to use the facilities, which was about 20 times cheaper than it would have been to pay people for dinner.
Pulau is a popular rice dish in Tanzania, which is sort of a rice pilaf with some Indian seasoning (or other seasoning) in it. Normally, it is way better than normal rice. Here is a typical dish that comes with the pulau, the meat stew, and some greens.
Azam is a company that makes many Tanzania products, including the ubiquitous juice box that I am consumming in this picure. They aren't real juice, but they have a bit of juice in them.
Our friend, Andrew, decided to experiment with battered, deep-fried bananas. His first round was not so good, with all the batter falling off, but the latter rounds were terrific. I ate about five bananas. Here he is with his best crazy face like Dr. Frankenstein with his monster.
That concludes our show. Hope that you enjoyed it. I give Tanzania high marks for food, with Zanzibar being an especially good cuisine location. Tara liked the Indian and Zanzibari stuff, but thought that other Tanzanian food was boring. Hooray for the Indians making the food tastier!