When Anthony Bourdain goes looking for his dream of Africa, he finds himself in Tanzania and gets to experience the spectacular wildlife and scenery, as well as an amazing local food culture, in this beautiful East African country. As he has discovered on this trip, Tanzania has it all – magnificent landscapes, incredible animals, extraordinary vistas, magnificent people, “all that stuff you thought you wanted, the most jaw-dropping moments; it’s here.”
If you’re planning a trip to Tanzania and want to eat well, or are just curious about all the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Tanzania, you’ve come to the right place. Below you’ll find a breakdown of all the spots Tony ate in Tanzania as well as what he ate. Let this be a guide to help you dive deep into the culture of Tanzania. Furahia mlo wako! (Bon appetit in Swahili!)
Jaw’s Corner (Zanzibar Stone Town)
Beginning his trip in the semi-autonomous province of Zanzibar just off the Tanzanian coast, Bourdain meets with local tour guide Saleh Said in the cultural epicenter of the renowned Stone Town known as Jaw’s Corner.
Here the two discuss Tanzania’s journey as a country, over a traditional local breakfast. Coffee and pastry are the order of the day in Zanzibar, and Bourdain is introduced to a type of Swahili fried donut known as mandazi, as well as bhajias, lentil fritters from India spiced with cumin, turmeric, and coriander.
Local home meal (Jambiani)
Two hours from Stone Town lies the tiny fishing village of Jambiani, and this is the next stop on Bourdain’s trip to Tanzania. Accompanied by Abeid Karume, a musician/artist, and grandson of the first post-revolution president, Bourdain visits a local dwelling for a home-cooked meal.
Being a fishing village, seafood is the main element of this lunch overlooking the crashing waves. Coconut rice is served with freshly caught fish called tasi (also known as rabbit fish) simmered in a garlic and lime broth, topped with a fresh salad of chopped tomato, eggplant, cucumber, and potato.
There is also mackerel marinated in lime juice and garlic, then pan-fried, with sides of Indian-style chapati bread and boiled cassava, a type of starchy root vegetable.
Forodhani Gardens Market (Zanzibar)
Returning to the city, Tony next experiences the impressive array of street food on offer at the Forodhani Gardens Market.
With this market offering every iteration of seafood snack you can think of, the options are at times bewildering. Bourdain opts for grilled octopus skewers, together with lobster served with a spicy masala and chili mango sauce.
He also tries the weird and wonderful Zanzibarian version of pizza. This is a mix of onion, beef, fresh tomato, cheese, and mayonnaise, combined with scrambled egg, then wrapped in bread and fried on a hot plate until cooked.
Moved out of town to protest against rising rent prices in the market itself, Zuma’s is an open-air grill setup popular with the locals and specializing in chicken.
In his element in this street meat environment, Bourdain selects beef skewers, cooked over an open flame with an array of spices, together with half of the famous chicken. This is slathered with a mix of garlic, lime, coriander, ginger, salt, and pepper, then grilled and served either as satay (on a stick), or as whole pieces topped with tamarind chili sauce, together with a generous helping of fries.
andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge (Ngorongoro)
Taking a plane 250km into the heart of the country, Bourdain lands in Arusha in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro, before taking a trip deep into the Serengeti to see a side of Tanzania that is culturally as different from Zanzibar as Texas is from the Philippines.
Following a steady 4×4 climb to the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater, he finds a collapsed volcano crater that has created an ecosystem within an ecosystem. Following a luxurious night spent in the lodge, breakfast is served on the terrace overlooking the crater, consisting of hot black coffee, croissants, fresh juice, an assortment of nuts and fresh fruit, eggs, and fried tomatoes with toast.
Picnic at Lake Masek
Coming down from the crater into the larger Serengeti Park area, Tony meets with Colin McConnell, a fourth-generation African born in Kenya, who lives in Tanzania and works as a Serengeti guide, for a decidedly not local picnic lunch.
By the banks of Lake Masek, under the watchful gaze of several hippos, the two share penne with pesto, steamed baby corn with snow peas, grilled tomatoes sprinkled with parmesan, brownies, and cold beer.
Masai Village (Ndutu area of Serengeti)
For the final stop in the country, Bourdain joins Ingela Jansson, a field biologist with the Serengeti lion project, to visit a local Masai village.
The Masai warriors share first a glass of amasi, a lumpy yogurt drink, central to the Masai diet, before the main course of freshly slaughtered goat, of which Tony has the honors.
This unfortunate goat is killed by suffocation to keep the blood, vital to the Masai diet, in the chest cavity rather than via the traditional cutting of the throat in other parts of the world. The animal is then skinned with a sharp knife, and the now-coagulated blood can be easily removed from the carcass.
A guest of the tribe, Bourdain is of course offered the first bite at this delicious, slightly gooey treat, together with a chunk of kidney cut directly from the animal. The meat itself is grilled Masai BBQ style, on long sticks held over an open fire.
Finally, what BBQ would be complete without some form of alcohol? For the Masai, this takes the form of beer made from honey, fermented in a manner similar to palm wine or pulque, the Mexican equivalent made from the agave plant. The result is a sweet beverage with a heavy kick.
Have any questions Have any other questions about the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Tanzania or how to visit them? Let me know in the comments below!