Taking inspiration from Africa, Arabia, India and Europe, Zanzibar’s cuisine is as varied as it is delicious. Given its plethora of spices, you can guarantee that anything you eat on the island will be brimming with flavour. A popular dish for locals is biryani, an Indian dish that consists of rice cooked in spices and then mixed together with a fragrant meat or fish curry. Pilau rice, on the other hand, is served separately to the curry but is equally sublime.
With water all around, it should come as no surprise that seafood plays a big role in the local culinary scene. Octopus curry is a delicacy on the island and is cooked in a flavoursome coconut-cream sauce. Octopus makes another appearance as a street food, served with pieces of friend cassava. For some land based meat, mishkaki - skewers of grilled chicken or beef, make a great snack.
Once you’ve tackled the main course, all that’s left is to seek out something sweet. A favourite dessert option is mandazi, deep fried dough that has been sweetened and occasionally contains just a hint of cardamom. Wash this down with a cup of chai and a slice of durian or jackfruit for the perfect end to a meal.
Safe eating while travelling in Zanzibar
Food hygiene standards in Zanzibar may differ to what you are used to back home so to avoid getting sick take extra precautions with your food. Ensure that all hot food is served piping hot rather than lukewarm. If something looks poorly prepared, especially meat or fish, it is better not to eat it. When it comes to street food, don’t eat anything that might have been sat in the sun for too long. A good tip when buying food is to look for somewhere with a queue of locals as this will invariably be where the good food is. Be careful when eating salads or consuming drinks with ice, as the water, although generally safe, may upset your stomach.