I enjoy reading about different experiences. Just a while ago I stumbled upon a great article documenting the snacking experience in Dar. Read along……
On Street Food by nomansour
There’s a lot to say about recent developments in my Tanzanian life, but I’m going to leave all that till I’ve gained more perspective on them and can be more accurate in my reportings. So instead, motivated by my eating an orange on the daladala today, I’m going to give you some sort of introduction to Dar’s street food. I am generally a street food aficionado: get me on the right day and I’ll rant about how Princeton is the worst place to get street food, and how I want to eat more frequently at good food vans. Which is why I was delighted to land in a country with excellent street food.
From Kariokoo to Mwenge, you actually don’t have much variety- it’s pretty consistent with about 8 different types of vendor. I typically stop at anywhere between 3 and 6 food stalls/carts a day. They’re highly specialized and typically only sell one thing, unless they’re doing drinks, candy, and biscuits, and are scattered along the masokos and the roadsides.
If you’re in the mood for something sweet: go for an andazi. They’re basically little puffs of donut, unsweetened. You can get bigger ones in cafes, but the BEST I’ve had in Dar were at the woodcarvers we teach at. I was hanging out with my favourite woodcarver, Lawrence, and this lady, with her bucket full of fresh maandazi (plural of andazi), walks by. They’re each about 100 shillings, which is roughly 1/15 of a dollar and are the perfect antidote to sweet cravings.
If you’re in the mood for something sour: Ubuyu or baobab seeds rolled in this sweet-sour purple powder. I saw the kids at the orphanage eating them and I bought some at an all-purpose sweet vendor coming back from church. Pop them in your mouth and suck until all you’ve got is a kidney-shaped bean. Baobab tastes like… apple, but a bit more bitter and sour at the same time. This is a bit more pricey than an andazi but lasts longer at 1/7 of a dollar (200 shillings)
If you’re going to miss dinner: Mahindi Choma or grilled corn. There’re vendors everywhere who grill it fresh and let you buy an entire corn cob or just a part of it. Then you use lime to rub salt all over it before walking off with it wrapped in the husk. It’s less like American grilled corn and more like eating grilled popcorn; it’s lighter and is actually maize, but I still call it corn. This costs about 33 cents, less depending on where you are.
While you’re at it, grab a boiled egg to throw some protein into your dinner. Vendors buy cartons of eggs, boil them, and sell them on the side of the road for 100 shillings each with a bit of salt. The yolks here taste a bit different, but it isn’t anything you aren’t getting used to. The first time I had one people were pretty sure I was going to sick, but the only way to really get over bugs in your food is to just eat it. You shouldn’t get sick again after eating it once. And that’s what Ciprone is for.
For the health freaks: there’s fruit everywhere, but most commonly you’ll see oranges. Vendors peel them, then cut them in half for you, so all you have left when you’re done is the white stuff. They’re about 200 shillings for a full, peeled orange
You could buy other fruits, especially bananas, grapes and apples, but oranges are the most popular, I suspect because they quench your thirst as well as end your hunger. There’s one guy who hangs out near the daladala stop I use most often and I have been caught often on a daladala without a seat holding on for dear life while juggling my two orange halves.
For the child in you: I loved coconut water and fresh coconut flesh as a kid. So when Jasa and I saw a coconut vendor, we got them, downed them pretty quickly, then held onto the waterless coconuts to eat the flesh as we battled to get onto a busy daladala For 33 cents (and the Vendor will chop it open for you!), that was a steal.
That day, Jasa and I also got sugar cane. You chew, then spit it out. It’s also popular I suspect because of its thirst-quenching abilities. Needless to say, it’s sweet and pretty cheap at 200 shillings.
You can get ice cream pretty much anywhere as well and there’re a couple of other things you can eat when you’re out, but these are my absolute favourites. On days like today, however, when you’re craving chocolate, you shell out the big bucks ( 3-5 dollars) at the supermarket at the local mall, which may be where I’m heading right