Zanzibar Island, located off the coast of Tanzania, is a true paradise for foodies and spice lovers.  With its unique blend of African, Arabian, and Indian influences, Zanzibar boasts a rich culinary tradition that will delight your senses.  From mouth-watering street food to tantalizing spices, there’s so much to explore on this vibrant island.

In this post, we’ll dive into the top 10 reasons why Zanzibar should be on every food enthusiast’s travel bucket list.

The Spice Tours

Zanzibar is known as the “Spice Island” due to its historic spice trade. If you’re touring Tanzania, spice tours are a must-do activity, allowing you to explore lush spice plantations and learn about the cultivation and uses of various spices, such as cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and black pepper.

You’ll also have the opportunity to sample and purchase these fragrant spices straight from their source.

Street Food Delights

Forodhani Gardens, located in Stone Town, is a bustling food market that comes alive every evening.  Here, you can indulge in a variety of street food, such as Zanzibari pizzas, grilled seafood, and sugar cane juice.

Don’t miss out on trying the famous “Zanzibar Mix,” a mouthwatering dish made from fried cassava, potatoes, and bhajias, topped with a tangy tamarind and chili sauce.

Swahili Fusion Cuisine

Zanzibar’s cuisine is a delightful fusion of African, Indian, and Arabian flavors.  Sample the local Swahili dishes like biryani, pilau, and chapati, which have been infused with Zanzibari spices to create unique, flavorful combinations.

Popular Swahili dishes include “Urojo,” a thick, spicy soup with meat, potatoes, and fried dough, and “Wali wa nazi,” a coconut rice dish often served with fish or meat curry.

Seafood Galore

Being an island, Zanzibar is a haven for seafood lovers. Freshly caught fish, crab, lobster, and octopus are readily available and prepared in a variety of delicious ways.

Visit the fish market in Stone Town or dine at one of the many seaside restaurants to enjoy a seafood feast accompanied by stunning ocean views.

The Zanzibar Coffee House

Located in the heart of Stone Town, the Zanzibar Coffee House offers a cozy atmosphere for sipping on delicious, locally sourced coffee.

With a selection of both traditional and modern brewing techniques, you’ll be able to taste the rich flavors of Zanzibari coffee beans.  Pair your coffee with a slice of their homemade cake for a perfect afternoon treat.

Cooking Classes

Immerse yourself in the local culinary culture by participating in a cooking class. Many hotels and private chefs offer lessons where you can learn to prepare traditional Zanzibari dishes using local ingredients and techniques. You’ll leave with new skills and recipes to recreate the flavors of Zanzibar at home.

The Rock Restaurant

Perched on a rock in the Indian Ocean, The Rock Restaurant is a unique dining experience that should not be missed. Accessible by foot during low tide or by boat during high tide, this picturesque location offers stunning views and a menu that highlights fresh seafood and local ingredients. Savor the taste of Zanzibar while enjoying a meal you’ll never forget.

Spice-Infused Desserts

Indulge in Zanzibar’s sweet treats, which showcase the island’s famous spices.  Popular desserts include “Kashata,” a coconut and nut brittle infused with cinnamon and cardamom, and “Mkate wa Ufuta,” a sesame and coconut cake flavored with clove and ginger.

Don’t forget to try the creamy “Mandazi,” a deep-fried coconut doughnut that is a true Zanzibari delight.

Cultural Experiences

Zanzibar’s food scene is deeply intertwined with its rich cultural heritage.  Participate in cultural experiences, such as dining with a local family or attending a traditional Swahili wedding feast, to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the island’s culinary traditions.


Zanzibar Island is a true paradise for foodies and spice lovers, offering a unique and delectable culinary adventure.  From its vibrant street food markets to its world-class restaurants and cooking classes, there is something for everyone to enjoy.  So, whether you’re a culinary expert or just love to eat, make sure to add Zanzibar to your travel bucket list – your taste buds will thank you!