Zanzibar Mix and Tasty Gujarati Street Food Snacks in Dar Es Salaam

By Mark Wiens 26 Comments
Dar Es Salaam meets India at this street food stall
Dar Es Salaam meets India at this street food stall

About 5 pm each evening, when the sun dies down, a number of Dar Es Salaam street food carts specializing in Indian food emerge.

From downtown Dar Es Salaam and throughout Upanga, people finish work, and head straight for a tasty snack to cover themselves over until dinner.

After just having traveled through India for two months, I was excited to see the menu including a few of my personal favorites like pani puri, bhel puri, and dahi / sev puri.

The other item on the menu, Zanzibar Mix, is homegrown Indian Zanzibari Tanzanian creation.

Fresh veggies and herbs
Fresh veggies and herbs

Fresh vegetables like bright red tomatoes, red onions, green chilies, and coriander are the beginnings of any great Indian street food snack.

Pani puri - one of the world's great street food snacks
Pani puri – one of the world’s great street food snacks

We first began with a round of pani puri.

These little hollow chips are filled with spiced potatoes and chickpeas and then submerged in tangy herby flavorful liquid.

In Kolkata they were a little different, the water was more sour and a little thinner, while these Tanzanian ones were Gujarati style and the water was filled with mint and coriander and they were sweet savory.

They were outstanding – literally gushing with flavor!

Price – 3,000 TZS ($1.80)

An incredible plate of bhel puri!
An incredible plate of bhel puri!

I loved the Kolkata street food, and bhel puri was one of the first things I ate when I arrived in India.

So we were happy to sample the Dar Es Salaam version of bhel puri. It was a glorious pile of little crunchies and puffed rice stirred up with fresh tomatoes, onions, chillies, and drenched in tangy spicy sauce.

Price – 3,000 TZS ($1.80)

Freshly prepared bowl of Zanzibar mix
Freshly prepared bowl of Zanzibar mix

On my last visit to Dar Es Salaam, in the busy area of Kariakoo, I ate a bowl of Zanzibar Mix at Mama Mumtaz.

So I was especially looking forward to this unique creation that blends Indian and African flavors.

Digging into the Zanzibar Mix
Digging into the Zanzibar Mix

Zanzibar Mix (known as Urojo in Zanzibar), is an Indian inspired Zanzibari Tanzanian bowl of curry soup with lots of toppings.

Potatoes, chickpeas, fried bhajias, peanuts and an assortment of the crunchy things make the base. They are then covered in a light creamy curry sauce and finally topped with a handful of cassava of potato chips, a spoon of fresh coconut chutney, and a pile of hot pili pili (chili) sauce.

The Zanzibar Mix is then ready to consume – it’s a Dar Es Salaam street food favorite – and it’s packed with diverse flavors and textures.

Price – 2,000 TZS ($1.20)

An avocado shake to top things off
An avocado shake to top things off

To top things off, we had an avocado shake, which was creamy and extremely refreshing.

I used to think avocado could only work with salty foods, but this avocado shake changed my mind – it’s marvelous when sweet as well!

Dar Es Salaam street food stall
Dar Es Salaam street food stall

Parked on the side of the road in Upanga district, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, this little Gujarati street food cart serves up a tasty array of street food snacks that will have you licking your fingers clean!



26 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

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  • Rina Sindhav

    7 months ago

    Pls send.full address of this shop..

  • Spandana Dingari

    11 months ago

    My Father used to work in Africa and i have visited twice. The place is so amazing. I really like the Mix so much. My mouth waters even now. Tanzania is an amazing place

  • Poonam

    2 years ago

    I’ve lived in Dar es salaam for 26 years (that’s basically my whole life) and I have no idea this place existed. Do you by any chance happen to know the street name of where this little stall stands ?

    • Mark Wiens

      2 years ago

      Hey Poonam, good to hear from you. I heard they expanded and have now moved into their yard, so not on the street anymore. Not sure if I can remember the street name, but will try to find out. But I know it’s just a block away from Don Bosco in Upanga.

      • Eddie abdul

        2 years ago

        Hey Mark.
        I like your articles, mostly this and things to do in Dar es salaam.
        Anyway as to answer linn and poonam’s questions.
        The place that Mark talkes about is between Mathuradas st, Isevya st and Mindu st, the place is changed a bit but the indian lady is still there and the food is still as wonderfull as it has always been. And if you get to be there you might want to try Indian almond juice too, its got its own unique flavour.
        But i guess if you dont find it cool in upanga (which is changing now and its kinda hard to find street food), then i suggest you try kariakoo and magomeni mapipa in the evening, where you’ll find alot of local to indian and middle eastern food like our own “Zanzibar Piza” and “Chips mayai”.

  • Linn

    2 years ago

    Hi! Me and my husband was out in Upanga looking for some Street-food, but we didnt find any foodcarts just fruit , do you know any streetnames?

    Best regards

  • Shella

    4 years ago

    Hi… I recently moved from Nairobi to Dar, n i am very very disheartened and disapponted by a lot of things… The people are not vey friendly. Saturday n sundays you move out of the house n cops are waiting to nab you and make money out of you as much as they can exploiting the expats. I am an Indian and was doing food classes in Nbo and catering i dont see any scope of carryong out my business here. Everything is so inacessible here… I am sad

    • Mark Wiens

      4 years ago

      Hey Shella, sorry to hear about that… I can understand your frustration with those Sunday cops, that has happened to me quite a few times too. I guess I can just encourage you to hang in there, connect with others, give it some time, and maybe you can think of a new strategy for your food business that will cater more to Dar. Wishing you all the best!

  • Juan

    4 years ago

    I would like to try “plate of bhel puri”, it so colourful … 🙂

  • Carmen

    4 years ago

    YUM! This food looks amazing! Love your blog, it’s the first time I’ve come across it and will certainly be following it from now on 🙂

    • Mark Wiens

      4 years ago

      Hey, great to hear from you Carmen, thanks for stopping by!

  • eyeandpen

    4 years ago

    Your pictures make the food look amazing!

  • lyn barden

    4 years ago

    Most of that food look really delicious, particularly the Bhel puri and Zanzibar mix look so tasty. Hope I get to try them!

  • Anwesha

    4 years ago

    Wow, that is a lot of Indian influences.
    I would love to try the Zanzibar mix and am curious about the avocado shake…

  • Paul

    4 years ago

    I’m interested to know how you found this place.

    • Mark Wiens

      4 years ago

      Hey Paul, actually my parents live close to this place, so we were visiting them and couldn’t resist!

      • Paul

        4 years ago

        Looks like a small out of the way food stall so I was curious. Also looks delicious and I love small servings because then you can taste everything.

      • Matutina

        1 year ago

        Oh my, your parents live in Dar es Salaam?!! There is another great UROJO joint in upanga, behind Sumatra offices you should try it next time you visit. Its an old joint, they sell and cook outside a shop, its really delicious.

        • Mark Wiens

          1 year ago

          Hey Matutina, good to hear from you. Ah thank you for the recommendation, if I get back to Dar would love to try it out.

  • ken murika

    4 years ago

    Waswahili (the coastal people) are known as the best cooks actually in the whole of East Africa. I like the way you have captured a variety of dishes.

    • Mark Wiens

      4 years ago

      Hey Ken, I really enjoy the food on the coat of East Africa, all those spices, and the influence from India and the Middle East makes it so good!