Food in Zanzibar: 11 Dishes You Should Definitely Try In Zanzibar

by Fay

The tropical island of Zanzibar has more to offer than just beaches. The local food in Zanzibar is one the most important highlights that a traveler should enjoy to the fullest.

The cuisine of Zanzibar is shaped by centuries of migration and trade with its neighbouring African countries and the world. The Zanzibari food offers distinctive ingredients, techniques, and dishes. So, here are the must-sample dishes in Zanzibar.

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Octopus Coconut Curry

food in zanzibar
Coconut Octopus Curry

They say Octopus has healing powers, so there is no better place than Zanzibar to heal yourself! In Zanzibar, you can have Octopus grilled, smoked, or roasted but one of the famous Octopus delicacy dishes to try on the Island is the octopus coconut curry.


food in zanzibar seafood
Grilled seafood

If the food in Zanzibar was known for one thing only, it would be seafood. Zanzibar has an incredible variety of seafood including tuna, marlin, prawns, calamari, octopus, kingfish, lobster, tuna, snapper, and barracuda and many more.

Zanzibar pizza

We all know pizza but the one in Zanzibar is something else. The Zanzibari specialty street food pizza might include meat chicken or fish, chopped onion, and peppers, processed cheese, mayonnaise, and an egg. The mixture is put into a thin layer of dough, pan-fried, and served with tomato or chili sauce.


food in zanzibar
Ugali porridge

Ugali is a type of stiff maize flour porridge made in Africa. Ugali is the traditional food in Zanzibar.

Fish Biryani

food in zanzibar
Swahili Biriani

Food in Zanzibar is known for the Swahili Biryani, another version of the popular Indian Biyani. You can have Biryani with chicken or meat but fish Biyani is certainly a must-try food in Zanzibar. The spiced Basmati rice with the heavenly fish sauce is just too much for the soul.

Zanzibar Pilau (Rice Pilaf)

food in zanzibar
Zanzibar Pilau

Pilau is another rice dish that the Zanzibaris are proud of. Originally an Asian and Middle Eastern dish, the Zanzibar Pilau is made with Basmati rice that is infused with aromatic spices like cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves, sauteed onions, and then cooked in coconut milk for added richness. The Zanzibar Pilau is usually paired with vegetables, beans, meat, or fish stews such as the Octopus curry.

Tropical fruits

food in zanzibar
Excotic fruits in Zanzibar

The local markets of Zabzibar are full of all kinds of tropikal fruits such as mango, guava, citrus fruits, avocados and bananas. Most of these fruits are cultivated for the local market only and rarely exported. Tropical fruits is considered a important part of the Zanzibari cuisine and food.

Chipsi mayai

Chipsi mayai

Chipsi mayai is the most popular comfort street food found all over Tanzania and Zanzibar island. In its most basic form, chipsi mayai is a simple potato-egg omelette that can be accompanied with kachumbari salad and chili sauce.

Zanzibar Tandoori Chicken

Tandoori Chicken

Super crispy tandoori chicken is a must eat when in Zanzibar. In case you have no idea, the Tandoori chicken is an Indian spiced chicken roasted in in a tandoor, a cylindrical clay oven. However, you don’t need to travel to India to try the Tandoori chicken, because this dish is one of Zanzibar’s famous street foods. The hearty chicken is always paired with Piri Piri and other sauces.

Urojo (Zanzibar Mix)

Zanzibar Mix is a popular favorite food in the Zanzibar. A blend of Indian and African flavors, Urojo is a bowl mix of viriety of ingredients and toppings. Some of these ingredients are potatoes, chickpeas, fried bhajias, peanuts a creamy curry sauce. As for the toppings, potato chips, fresh coconut chutney, and Piri Piri sauce are always adding the final flavor to the Urojo.

Pani Puri

Pan Puri

Pani Puri are little hollow chips filled with spiced potatoes and chickpeas and then submerged in flavorful herby liquid.

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