To wander the streets of Stone Town for yourself and even go explore the archipelago’s other pristine beaches, take advantage of the discounts on Safarilink. When booking online, enter the code Nomad1 to get a discount on flights to Zanzibar and other destinations like Vipingo, Lamu and Diani.
On my first night wandering the vibrant streets of Stone Town in Zanzibar, I chanced upon Forodhani Night Market. This place is a paradise for foodies and a bustling hive of activity flocked by both curious tourists and locals. Here, you can try a myriad of Zanzibar Swahili dishes at affordable prices, which is only part of its appeal, particularly with budget travellers.
My first instinct was to make a beeline for the open tables where seafood ranging from barracuda, squid, octopus, lobster, crab and shrimp were oh so seductively spread out. I had however struck up a conversation with a local guide who thankfully warned me that despite how good it all looked, there was a slight chance of food poisoning afterwards. He said that this was because since they didn’t have refrigeration, leftovers would sometimes just be re-fried or grilled to mask any unwanted taste. It was a cool and beautiful evening and this market was unlike anything I had ever seen, and I decided to take my chances. The seafood here did not disappoint then, or afterwards.
I then decided to try Zanzibar pizza, which the vendors are outspokenly very proud of. The dough is separated into a small and large piece then both are stretched out by hand on a smooth, well oiled surface until very thin and transparent. The smaller piece is then cooked on both sides then placed in the bigger circle to act as a base for the filling, while preventing tearing. I ordered a mango-nutella pizza. He spread the nutella on the dough, chopped fruit over it and unlike a traditional pizza, covered it before searing it again on the pan.
While the dish was more like a fruit stuffed crepe than a pizza, it was absolutely divine. You can have savoury ones if you like, and they come with an assortment of vegetables, seafood and meat, but even those look more like a quiche.
There are various dishes to try at this spot, including snacks like bhajia and my new favourite – chipsi mayai- which certainly needs to cross the border into Kenya, as well as spiced flatbreads which I had never tried before.