Chips Mayai (French Fries Omelet) – A Staple of Tanzanian Junk Food

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A plate of chips mayai in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

Chips mayai (also known as chipsi mayai) is one of the most widely available and popular Tanzanian street foods in the country.

Chips, is of course another word for French fries, and mayai is the Kiswahili word for eggs.

Together it’s French fries and eggs, or to put it more clearly, a French fries omelet.

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If you want to eat chips mayai, this is what you need to look for

In Tanzania, anytime you see that black wok sitting out front of a restaurant or street food stall, hovering over flames, with yellow oil bubbling up, you can be pretty sure they serve chips mayai.

You’ll find it everywhere from Dar Es Salaam to Arusha and even in small little village dining establishments.

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Some chips poking out

I’m going to be honest, for myself, chips mayai is not the most exciting thing in the world.

It consists of a handful of French fries that are tossed into a frying pan and a few eggs are cracked on top to create a hearty oil and potato filled omelet.

Sure, it tastes pretty good, but it tastes exactly like you’d expect it to: French fries and eggs combined.

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Browned crispy section of omelet

One thing you can be certain of is that any plate of chips mayai will be greasy – no way to avoid oil!

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A marriage of French fries and eggs

Some of the French fries in chips mayai are crunchy while others are soft with only slight crunchiness on the edges. The egg, also fried in a little more oil, sometimes gets a little crunchy too.

This particular plate of chips mayai I ate was served with a side of kachumbari (tomatoes and onions), hot chillies, and the all necessary bottle of East African style tomato chili sauce – kind of like ketchup, with a little extra spice, and a little less acidic.

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Chipsi mayai!

Adding lots of tomato chili sauce, kachumbari, and chili peppers improves any plate of chips mayai.

Overall, I much prefer to eat a full Tanzanian food meal of rice or ugali with fish and beans, but chips mayai has its place in the repertoire of Tanzanian food and makes a tasty and filling snack.

Price – most places should cost 1,500 – 2,000 TZS ($0.90 – $1.21)

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Comments

  1. says

    It looks yummy!
    It reminds me of Spanish Omelet in Spain, which is basically slow fried potatoe cubes omelet – sometimes with onions too. I don’t know why “Spanish omelet” abroad always includes tomatoes, bell peppers and a bunch of other stuff..
    Anyway.. I’d totally give Chips mayai a go!!

  2. says

    I love eating omelet cooked in different methods…………….. I always at home try to make omelet with different things…………. Even I love sweet omelet which will be very tasty.

  3. says

    I’ve never thought about putting together the egg and chips into an omelet.. even if I eat them separately on one plate. I did try putting them together into an omelet after seeing your YouTube video on this, and it was great! (although probably not as great with the Tanzanian ingredients and sauces).

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