No deep dive into the world of Omani cuisine is complete without having a taste of Zanzibar cuisine! Come with me as I enjoy authentic Zanzibar food in Muscat, Oman!
The island of Zanzibar lies over 2,000 miles from Oman, off the coast of Tanzania in eastern Africa. But even though it’s so far away, it became part of the Oman Empire in the late 17th century, and so its cuisine has made its way to Oman!
My friend and guide Ahmed from Oman Travel took me to Outer Space Restaurant. The cook there was from Zanzibar, and showed me kachori, chicken mishkak, coconut fish, biryani, chapati, Zanzibar-style tandoori chicken, pulao, tamarind juice, and more!
In the back, they were making fresh kachori and Zanzibar-style samosas. They basically had a mini buffet. They also had knafeh (a sweet, cheesy dish), falafels, and more. It was a bit mix of African, Middle Eastern, Indian, and Omani influences! And a lot of it was fried!
The chicken cutlet with coconut chutney was soft with light spices. But it was also very flavorful! The kachori was basically a fried mashed potato ball. I loved that the coconut chutney took it to the next level!
The katlesi za samaki was basically a crispy, fried fish croquette. It was salty and fishy but very nice. Next was the katlesi za nyama, or beef cutlet. It looked identical to the fish one but wasn’t fishy or salty.
The spring roll contained cabbage and carrots. Next was honeycomb bread, which is like a dinner roll stuffed with cheese and drizzled with honey. It’s creamy and crispy!
Next, the ndizi tamu (plantains in coconut milk sauce) was sweet and full of cinnamon. I followed that with the biryani and pulao. The cumin and onions in the pulao were excellent, and I liked the light biryani with the chicken.
I also loved the crispy and meaty samaki wa kukaanga, or fried fish. It went great with the pulao and coconut chutney! I finished with some refreshing and tangy tamarind juice!
Then, my guide Hussain showed me their chili achar and mango achar. I had to buy some to take home! After that, we drove to Kilimanjaro Cafe & Restaurant.
It was a nice cafe with lots of Tanzania-inspired decor on the walls, including images of elephants and giraffes, Maasai warriors, and Mount Kilimanjaro.
In the kitchen, they were grilling octopus; a dish of stir-fried greens, carrots, onions, and coconut milk called michicha; a spinach, nuts and carrot dish with coconut called kisamvu; and a massive grilled lamb chop called nyama choma.
The nyama choma is then chopped up and comes out tender and smoky. I loved the spices in it! They also made shark curry with coconut, ugali (cornmeal paste ball), and more.
At our table, we had ugali, michicha, kisamvu, mchuzi wa samaki (shark coconut curry), grilled octopus, and nyama choma. We started with the grilled octopus, which had a smoky charcoal flavor and was super tender.
It’s a best seller there! I loved it with the mango chili chutney. The nyama choma also had a beautiful charcoal flavor. It went well with both chutneys, especially the tamarind!
Next was the ugali with mchuzi wa samaki. The coconut flavor was unreal. Eating the ugali with the kisamvu and michicha blew me away. The michicha was the best spinach dish I’ve ever had!
The carrots and coconut in the michicha were great, but I liked the michicha by itself better. The shark in the kisamvu was outstanding, but the octopus was my favorite!
For dessert, I had a passionfruit juice and lemon. It was cold, refreshing, and a bit sour and tangy.
From the restaurant, I could see the sand dunes, which are in the middle of the city. What an amazing sight!