Imagine you have booked a trip to Tanzania and are excited to come and have an experience of a lifetime. What are the most important things on your list to experience? Probably the Serengeti, the Ngorongoro Crater and Zanzibar. You are excited to take pictures, not just a few but thousands or as many as it will take to capture those once in a lifetime moments.
To be honest, I would totally be in the same mindset and there is nothing wrong with that!
But when you come to Tanzania and spend a week or two in our country it is a great chance to also learn about our culture and everyday life. I believe, it is a chance to experience Tanzania with all senses and this includes tasting our delicious Tanzanian food.
Depending on your travel arrangements, you will have different opportunities to enjoy Tanzanian food. Let’s have a look!
Tanzanian cuisine is packed full of flavours that many visitors may not be accustomed to. It gets its influence from different cultures like Indian and Arabic. If you are booking a lodge safari, then it is important to know that most lodges prepare food which most visitors are acquainted to. Even though the menus consist of Western dishes, they are given an authentic flavour thanks to the infusion of Tanzanian spices and ingredients.
A camping safari on the other hand is much different, in that each group has their own professional chef who joins the safari. The chef’s main job is to keep the clients happy and full with delicious menus throughout the safari. It is incredible what the safari chefs conjure up with the bare minimums. Since you have your own private cook, you can ask them to prepare traditional Tanzanian food and they will be happy to share their culinary culture with you!
Another great way to experience the traditional cuisine is by booking a cultural tour which can easily be added to your safari itinerary. A great option is the traditional lunch at the village of Mto Wa Mbu which is situated right on the door step to the Lake Manyara National Park.
A group of local women have joined forces to cook traditional meals for visitors at their homes. The location is set in a lovely garden with different fruit trees. The ladies have a traditional clay stove on which they cook and prepare traditional dishes in clay pots. The menu changes daily, but on most occasions when I was there with a group we had a choice of plain rice and pilau rice (spiced rice with beef), red beans in a sauce, potato and beef curry, roasted goat meat, cooked bananas, local spinach, fried aubergines, a warm cabbage salad, chapatis (flat bread), Okra curry and a spicy chilli sauce. Most of the ingredients used are from the ladies’ own garden and they spend the whole morning preparing this delicious culinary safari for your taste buds.
When you come to Tanzania make sure you not only experience the sights and smells but most definitely the tastes as well. You are bound to be surprised at how delicious traditional Tanzanian food can be.