Top 5 facts about Tanzania food

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A visit to Tanzania is a great idea for any travel lover, as the country offers the perfect vacation. Tourists can visit historic locations, lush green forests, serene beaches, stunning lakes, indigenous villages, vast safari parks, bustling cities, and busy marketplaces. They can interact with the locals and try the delicious food. Popular dishes include Nyama Choma, Ugali, Mandazi, Biryani, Pilao, Chapati, Samosa, Mshikaki, Uji, Kuku Paka, Samaki, Ndizi Nyama, and Chipsi Mayai. Here are 5 amazing facts that all travellers should know about Tanzanian food!

  1. The cuisine has a number of influences

Tanzania has a rich history and heritage, which has resulted in its cuisine being an amalgamation of a number of cultural influences. The food is a blend of Indian, Arabic, Portuguese, Persian, Turkish, Swahili, British, and African tastes. Foods such as samosa and biryani are inspired by Indian cuisine. Similarly, Kuku Paka is an Arabic-inspired dish, while Ugali and Samaki are traditional African dishes.

  1. The food is flavoured with a blend of spices

Tanzanian food uses a blend of delicious and aromatic spices and herbs, as the region is home to a number of spice farms and forests. Commonly used spices include cumin, coriander, saffron, cardamom, ginger, pepper, turmeric, vanilla, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, chilli, garlic, and lemongrass.                                                                                                                                                                            

  1. Eating with hands is acceptable

Eating with one's hands is a part of Tanzania’s culture, and cutlery such as forks and spoons is often not used while eating, especially for dishes such as Ugali and Nyama Choma. Therefore, locals tend to wash their hands before and after having their food. Handwashing sinks and basins are readily available at hotels, restaurants, and eateries. Even if tourists choose not to use their hands for eating, they may still be encouraged to wash them after having their meal.

  1. The National Dish is called Ugali

Ugali is a staple food that is regarded as the national food of Tanzania. This African dish is a stiff porridge made by kneading maize flour in milk or water till it reaches a dough-like consistency. It is often served with Nyama Choma, a dish consisting of a delicious tender barbecue. For travellers who wish to immerse themselves into the local culture, eating Ugali is a bucket list experience, as they can get an authentic experience of the local lifestyle and traditional cuisine.

  1. The cuisine is largely vegetarian and vegan-friendly

Much of the  cuisine is vegetarian or vegan-friendly, so it can cater to many different dietary needs and restrictions. Tourists can try Mboga Majani, a dish that contains greens such as spinach, collards, and kale and is often eaten as a side dish.  Coconut milk is a common part of the cuisine, and is used in a number of dishes. Tourists can also enjoy rice and chapati (the local flatbread) with beans such as red beans, soya beans, and kidney beans. Makande is a traditional dish that includes a thick soup of beans and corn and is a great option for vegans. Tourists can also find delicious fruit salads made with fresh fruits such as bananas, mangos, grapes, jackfruit papayas, and pineapples!

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