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Zanzibar's Culinary Delights: A Gastronomic Journey for Your Tastebuds

Updated: Sep 28, 2023


Let us take you on a virtual culinary tour, where your senses will come alive with the exotic aromas and appetizing tastes that make Zanzibari cuisine truly unique.

The Swahili cuisine of Zanzibar reflects the long history of conquest along the East Coast of Africa by the Portuguese, the Arabs and the British. Arabic and Indian immigrants and traders influence bear the strongest influence on Swahili food.


Widely spread by the locals is Ugali, a polenta-like side dish made from maize, accompanied by meat, fish or vegetable curry, greens or soured milk. You want to try it? Here is our Chef Saleh's recipe:

· 250 g maize flower

· 1 tbsp butter

· 
salt

· 
pot with 500 ml boiling water, butter and salt added
 (var.: add coriander powder, 300 ml water/200 ml milk)


Mix 1 tbsp of maize flower with 1 tbsp of water, bring to the boil in a small pot and make fluid porridge (use wooden spoon and watch that it does not touch or stick to the floor); add porridge to the boiling water or water/milk mixture in the big pot, than add rest of flower, mix by moving the wooden spoon from the centre to the edge of the pot to form dough avoiding clumps, cook for 5 minutes until Ugali can easily be separated from the floor of the pot. 
To eat Ugali, pull off a small ball of mush with your fingers. Form an indentation with your thumb, and use it to scoop up accompanying curry and other dishes.

The first stop on this culinary adventure is the aromatic world of spices. Zanzibar's spice farms boast an amazing variety of cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, vanilla and more. These fragrant ingredients serve as the foundation for the island's signature dishes.

One of the island's most beloved delicacies is Zanzibar Mix called “Urojo” in Swahili, a vibrant street food creation that combines the flavors of fried potatoes, limes, and spices in a soup. As you stroll through the bustling streets of Stone Town, be sure to sample this local favorite.

For seafood enthusiasts, Zanzibar is a true paradise. From succulent lobster and prawns to grilled fish infused with aromatic herbs, the island's waters offer an abundance of culinary delights. Indulge in a seafood feast by the beach, where the freshest catches are expertly prepared to highlight their natural flavors.

No culinary exploration of Zanzibar is complete without a taste of Zanzibar Pizza. Don't be fooled by its name; this delightful dish is more akin to a savory stuffed pancake. Bursting with an array of fillings like minced meat, vegetables, and cheese, these crispy delights are a true local specialty and a must-try during your stay. Don’t hesitate to come at our Zatiny restaurant, where our skilled chefs meticulously craft Zanzibar Pizzas.

To quench your thirst, don't miss out on Zanzibar's refreshing juices from local fruits such as pineapple, coconut, and mango. These natural elixirs provide the perfect respite from the island's warm embrace. As a special welcome treat, upon your arrival at our hotel, you'll have the opportunity to enjoy the pure delight of fresh coconut water from our very own garden. For an extra touch of tropical flair, feel free to request a splash of Malibu to elevate your experience even further.

At Matlai, we are dedicated to providing you with an authentic Zanzibari experience in your accommodation and on

your plate at our Zatiny restaurant. Our passionate chefs draw inspiration from the island's culinary heritage, sourcing the freshest local ingredients to create exquisite dishes that showcase the very best of Zanzibar's flavors. Indulge in our delightful Swahili breakfast, featuring an array of local bread varieties, flavorful beans, nourishing porridge, and mouthwatering rice balls. Allow yourself to be tempted by the famous coconut crab soup prepared by our talented chef Saleh, an unforgettable culinary masterpiece that exemplifies the richness of Zanzibar's gastronomy. For a truly personalized dining experience, we offer the option to reserve our special Swahili menu. Delight in traditional dishes such as aromatic Pilau rice, Ugali, and Urojo soup. Our attentive butlers will be delighted to accommodate your preferences and guide you through the culinary journey, ensuring every dish is tailored to your liking.

Prepare to embark on a gastronomic adventure like no other, as you explore the unforgettable tastes of Zanzibar.

Karibu sana! (Welcome!)

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