Swahili Food: 10 Best Dishes That Are A Must-try!

If tasting Swahili food is a part of the things that you want to do but don’t know where to begin, then this article is perfect for your needs. From introducing the Swahili cuisine to knowing more about the locals’ beliefs, and culture around common their food, we got you covered!

Learning a new language can be fun and interesting to discover. Especially if you’re exploring a different cuisine and a new way of cooking. Continue reading to learn more about Swahili!

What Is The Swahili Cuisine?

Here’s the truth: This cuisine from Africa’s east coast is more than interesting!

Even their food is influenced by a diverse set of cultures. Swahili Cuisine results from Arabic, Portuguese, and Indian influences. This makes the food of the Swahili Coast a fusion of the cuisines from these said countries.

Swahili food offers a wide array of flavors for their food. Because Arabic and Portuguese cuisines are fused with theirs, this makes their dishes ooze with so much aroma as well as the savory yet spicy flavors that make you just want to eat more.

Their meals are usually marinated with so much garlic, turmeric, onion, black pepper, and ginger. Hence, this makes the food very appetizing and filling at the same time.

The Swahili cuisine isn’t just your typical cuisine as well. It separates itself from the conventional way of cooking and usually leans on slow-cooked food, especially when it comes to grilling.

Not only that, but in Swahili food culture, the majority of the dishes incorporate curry and not the usual grains. This makes Swahili food different from other cuisines. The Swahili coast is a hotspot for dishes that are rich in flavor that is also infused with culture.

Swahili Food: The Dishes That You Must Try!

Words and phrases in Swahili can’t describe how much we love these Swahili foods. If you want to know more about East Africa’s food culture, read on!

Nyama Choma

This is basically roasted meat. Slow roasted over hot coals with a garlic, curry powder, and lemon juice marinade, this dish is perfect for special occasions or if you just want to have a taste of the Swahili cuisine. Usually, this is made out of beef or goat meat, but it will ultimately depend on your preference. You can also pair it with white rice or Ugali, a dish from Swahili.


Kachori is a deep-fried snack that consists of potatoes and is influenced by Indian cuisine. Spicy in flavor or however you want it, this is your go-to snack when you have friends over. Grounded cumin seeds and different kinds of spices make this snack the best one! Depending on how well you season it, it is very savory.

Swahili Pilau

Seasoned with cumin, cloves of garlic, onions, and curry, Pilau is one of the most famous dishes in Kenya! This popular dish is usually paired with any type of meat such as chicken meat. As a festive dish, it is filled with different spices that give the dish a mouth-watering aroma and taste.


Mandazi is a form of flavorful fried bread and mimics small doughnuts that are filled with flavor and are very sweet! This pastry can serve as your dessert or your snack throughout the day! You may even coat it with a little powdered sugar if you feel like it is not sweet enough.


One of Swahili’s delicacies, this is a combination of minced meat and other good stuff such as garlic, carrots, and other spices stuffed into the dough and then fry it to perfection! You don’t need a Swahili chef to make you this easy to cook dish!


Usually a side dish, this is best paired with stews and curries to make it more filling and tasty because it tastes bland if you eat it on its own. It is a starchy dish made from sorghum flour that is easy to make if you know the proper cooking technique.


Perfect for family gatherings, beef Mishkaki is similar to beef kebab. Grilling the marinated beef that’s seasoned with salt, pepper, chili powder, and other spices is perfect for on-the-go dishes. Others cooked it by frying it, but it is recommended that people grill it.

Samaki Wa Kupaka

This is grilled fish served with coconut sauce. Full of flavor from the coconut milk, which is then contrasted by the saltiness of the fish, this savory meal is best eaten when the coconut sauce well coats the fish. Depending on how it is marinated and seasoned, it can be a bit spicy. You can also serve it with vegetables and even rice if you feel like it! For this dish, any fish will do.


If you are looking for a perfect dish for snacking and it is very easy to prepare, you might want to try Bajia! The base Swahili ingredient of this is black-eyed peas. After it is soaked overnight, it is then deep-fried. Because it is also mixed with salt, curry powder, garlic, and onions, this dish is not only nutritious but also very delicious because it is marinated perfectly.


Referred to as potato cutlets or potato parcels to some, this dish is soft and is marinated to make it very tasty. Similar to Kachori, this dish is seasoned with an abundance of spices and herbs before frying it for you to enjoy.

What’s Next?

These are just a couple of Swahili food that you might want to check out! Not only are these dishes delicious, flavorful, and filling, but these dishes also serve as a mirror of their culture in East Africa! If Swahili food is something that you enjoy and interests you in learning more about Swahili’s culture, then you might want to check out the Ling app!

The Ling app is a language learning application that allows you to learn various languages, not just Swahili! Not only is it equipped with activities and quizzes that make it very convenient for you, but it makes language learning a little easier. Aside from that, the Ling App is made to cater to your language learning needs.

With just a few clicks on your phone or your desktop, you will be able to have access to a new world of language learning that is reliable, easy to use, and is very accessible to all. Check out the Ling app now!

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