Street food in Africa is sold on the side of the road by vendors or hawkers who have a small stall. They are often cheaper, eaten with your hands and considered as fast food. It is often more reasonable than sitting down at a restaurant and you can get a good idea of what that particular region offers as their local cuisine.
It is also a great way to get to know the locals, and to fill up on a quick take-away while you wander through the streets of the region you are visiting.
The following is the type of food you will be sampling:
Street Food in South Africa:
Boerewors or hot dogs can be found on most street corners. These are sausages that are braaied (barbequed) on the side of the road and served with onions and various sauces. It is quite messy to eat, but very cheap and satisfying. Just grab plenty of serviettes. Gatsby’s are also extremely popular and because they are so big, they can be shared amongst two or three people. A Gatsby is a footlong roll that is cut lengthwise and filled with either masala steak, chicken, polony, Vienna sausage, calamari, fish, chargrilled steak, salad and hot chips. It is a mouthful and a half, but will keep you satisfied well into the evening! Another very popular meal is the bunny chow. A loaf of bread is cut open and the inside is scooped out, then it is filled with curry and then topped with the bread that was cut off. So you eat the dish your food is served in! The food truck scene in South Africa (particularily Cape Town) has been heating up. Here is a great list of some of the most popular food trucks.
Street Food in Kenya:
Street vendors are very popular in Kenya and a variety of local food is available at your fingertips. Samoosas are triangles of pastry filled with a spicy meat filling and then deep fried. These are very popular and delicious to grab when you are on the go. Corn on the cob (mielies) are braaied over hot coals, and its smokey flavour and browned corn makes this snack more tasty than boiled mielies. Mkate Mayai or mince beef cooked with eggs. The mince is cooked with garlic, ginger, chilli and garam masala. Whisked egg whites are folded in and then it is topped with the egg yolks and baked till cooked. It is served with pita bread or chapati.
Street Food in Tanzania:
There is nothing like a Tanzanian fish curry with Indian, Portuguese and African influences. A melting pot of red snapper, garlic, onions, lemons, curry powder, tomatoes, peanut butter, green peppers, coriander leaves and seasoning is simmered together until perfectly cooked.
Street Food in Zimbabwe:
A popular culinary treat in Zimbabwe is crisp-fried kapenta. Just the name itself entices you to eat it. Kapenta is made of small freshwater fish found in Lake Tanganyika, rich in protein. The fish is either dried or eaten fresh with tomatoes, onions, groundnut powder and green beans as a stew. It is traditionally served with sadza or maize porridge and eaten with your hands.
Street Food in Uganda:
Ever heard of a Rolex? I am sure you have. But have you heard of an edible Rolex? Well in Uganda this is a very popular street food. It is a mixture of fried cabbage, onions tomatoes, green peppers and eggs, almost like an omelette. This is then rolled into a chapatti, unleavened bread or a roti.
Street Food in Zanzibar:
Situated in the Indian Ocean, the local food is influenced by the explorers who have passed through these waters such as Arabs, Persians, Omanis, Shirazis, European and African explorers. With all these diverse cultures, it is not known as the Spice Island for nothing. There are loads of stalls offering kingfish, octopus, marlin, lobster, snapper, tuna and barracuda fresh from the Indian ocean, being grilled over hot coals, alongside barbequed breadfruit, green bananas and naan bread (a flat bread). Believe it or not, pizza is a local delicacy in Zanzibar as well, slightly different to the pizza we know, as it is cooked on top of the stove and covered with cream cheese.
Photographs courtesy of Lonely Planet and HostelBookers.com