Swahili Cuisine, Zanzibar Spices and Delicious Local Flavours
17th August 2023
A stay at the Zanzibar Collection is enriched by a delectable selection of meals influenced by the diversity of cultures here. The island’s cuisine draws from Swahili, Asian, Arabic and Persian dishes, enhanced by the aromatic, locally-grown spices that Zanzibar is famous for.
The warm, tropical climate of Zanzibar is ideal for growing spices and herbs. For centuries, Zanzibar’s spice farms have produced cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, ginger, black and white pepper, vanilla, lemon grass and more. These warm spices were traded far and wide by seafaring merchants, loved for their flavoursome properties and healing qualities. They also form the basis of the local Swahili food.
The enjoyable dining experiences at The Zanzibar Collection incorporate many Swahili dishes. Rich fish curries, creamy coconut stews, mishkaki meat skewers, spicy bean casseroles, aromatic rice dishes, cooked sweet plantains and more. For cooking aficionados, the weekly cooking sessions with our excellent chefs is a must-do, to learn about local spices and watch a live cooking demonstration of a Zanzibari dish.
The island’s Persian heritage is represented in items such as lamb koftas, tagines and falafels. Indian inspirations are captured in Tandoori chicken, Biryani rice, stuffed pani puri balls, chutneys and other mouth-watering delights. Look out for local pastries of mandazi (a type of fried doughnuts), kaimati dumplings, savoury samosas or vitumbua rice balls, which make wonderful breakfast or snack items.
All meals include a good selection of continental and Western offerings uniquely interpreted by our Chefs. The day begins with an expansive breakfast buffet with tropical fruits, fresh-baked pastries, cooked-to-order items, and typical morning dishes from Zanzibar’s different cultures.
The ocean is our basket for the daily selection of ‘just caught’ fish, prawns, slipper lobster, shellfish and more. Lunch at Breezes Beach Club features an assortment of seafood and meats barbecued to order at the beachfront “Breakers” Restaurant.
Dinner menus alternate between table service and extensive buffets, the food reflecting the island’s cultural fusions and locally-harvested produce. Theme nights centre around Swahili, seafood or nyama choma (marinated, char-grilled meats).
Get a taste of the tea-drinking culture of Zanzibar with a pot of freshly-brewed mint tea, or traditional chai tea made with a fragrant masala spice mix and milk. Our tea leaves are grown in the cool highlands of Tanzania, with a range of premium global brands available as well. Chai time happens every afternoon or can be served upon request from any of the restaurants and lounges.
Kahawa (coffee) is a centuries-old tradition in Zanzibar and the beans are harvested from foothill plantations on the mainland. Kahawa is traditionally brewed with spices and served as small, concentrated shots in handleless, hand-painted ceramic cups.
The poolside bars are the perfect place for cool refreshments in the heat of the day with light meals available. Our freshly-squeezed tropical fruit juices are made of mango, passion, papaya, tree tomato, sugar cane or combinations of flavours. The traditional style of tamarind juice, known for its natural cleansing effects, has ginger and nectar sweeteners. Coconut water straight from green coconuts has a wealth of benefits. Try a local lager beer at any of the bars which offer a great selection of world wines, fine whiskies and spirits.
All the Zanzibar Collection hotels cater to special dietary requirements and provide tailored options with advance notice. Every meal is served with warm, friendly Zanzibari hospitality!