ICS Volunteer Diary: A Guide to Tanzanian Food

We were warned before embarking that for the next three months our plates would be filled only with rice and beans. Rice and beans for breakfast, rice and beans for lunch, rice and beans for dinner. On the contrary however, our meals have been varied, and not always for the better. In village, we have managed to try quite a large array of food, some delicious, some not to everyone’s liking. Here are Charlie 1’s UK volunteers’ verdict of their first introduction to Tanzanian food.




This proved an instant success. Not dissimilar to the Indian Chapati or Paratha this bready delight has become a breakfast staple. Although it can be a little plain on its own, its becomes almost like a pancake if you sprinkle it with sugar or if you’re feeling daring; peanut butter.

Average score: 8/10


Creating marmite like divisions within the team, the people who love these deep-fried rice balls can eat six a day. For the rest, the gooey inside is a complete no go. According to Manuela it is like a ‘porridge filled churro’.

Average score: 5.5/10



Chipsi Myai:
Tanzanian comfort food doesn’t come any better than the classic gourmet dish; chip omelette. There really is no other way to explain it, chipsi myai is an omelette full of chips. I fully recommend this food as a hangover cure and will definitely be making it when I get home!

Average score: 9.5/10


Ugali was spoken about in such feared whispers that when we finally came face to face with it, it wasn’t so scary. When mixed with beans or fish the stodgy polenta dough makes for good filler. Although most of us have been defeated by the vast portion sizes.

Average score: 3.5/10




Wali and Mahargay:
We expected a lot of it, and we sure got it. But masses of plain rice piled high with soft beans is as delicious as it is filling. We don’t have it for every meal, but we do see quite a lot of it and some people’s enjoyment is starting to wane.

Average score: 7.5/10


It looks like a banana. But this is where the resemblance ends. This dry cooked item is mostly eaten at breakfast time. Overall, not everyone’s favourite.

Average score: 5/10


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They are a good source of energy but there are not many other positives to be said about these imitation potatoes. Generally eaten on their own for breakfast with a little salt.

Average score: 7.75/10


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