Every night Stone Town’s Forodhani Gardens turns into a busy street food market selling fresh seafood and local delicacies, such as Zanzibari pizza. Walk by the seafront watching the sunset over the Indian Ocean while sampling street food with locals!

Walk Through Forodhani Gardens Before Sunset

Arrive early to experience the unique atmosphere of Forodhani Gardens before the night food market begins. While fishermen drag their wooden dhows back to the sand, street vendors slowly set up carts and makeshift tables in the leafy walkways of Forodhani Gardens. Walk towards the shore and take a seat at the seawall, watching tens of boys jumping off into the turquoise waters with the last rays of the sun.

While you’ve enjoyed the sunset at the dock, the Forodhani Gardens has already transformed into a lively open-air street food market, where locals and tourists alike stroll between the food stalls. Join the crowds and follow your nose to pick Zanzibari and Swahili delicacies, such as grilled lobsters and calamari, meat skewers, and samosas.

Dhows returning to the shore of Forodhani Gardens, Stone Town, Zanzibar
Dhows returning to the shore of Forodhani Gardens, Stone Town, Zanzibar

Fast Facts and History of Forodhani Gardens

The bustling place of assembly, called Forodhani Gardens, is set out between the Indian Ocean and Stone Town’s most iconic buildings, like The House of Wonders and Old Fort.

Forodhani Gardens received a whopping 2-million dollar facelift in 2009, and Zanzibaris are really proud of it.

Is Forodhani Gardens Street Food Market Safe for Tourists?

As with all street food markets in Africa, you should follow your guts and be vigilant. The street food stalls don’t match with the Western hygiene standards, and cold chain might be broken. Please consider the risks of eating street food before diving in.

The night street food market gathers crowds, which bring in the opportunistic pickpockets. Watch your belongings and take only small money to avoid big losses. Also, beware of scam waiters who take orders and cash without representing any restaurants.

If someone tries to sell you a beer, it’s a scam, as alcohol is not allowed in Forodhani Gardens street food market. Drinking alcohol might even get you in trouble, so leave it to nearby bars. The Floating Restaurant at the port is stilted upon the ocean (not floating, though): it’s perfect for sunset drinks.

Some street food vendors can be really pushy. If you are not interested in their offerings, please tell it firmly to get rid of them. Otherwise, they can harass you through the evening and even throw a tantrum if you shop in other stalls.

Street Food Market of Forodhani Gardens, Stone Town, Zanzibar
Street Food Market of Forodhani Gardens in front of the House of Wonders

Fresh Seafood and Barbequed Meat – On Skewers!

Forodhani Gardens is an excellent – and affordable – place to sample seafood if you’re convinced that it’s fresh. Lobsters, crabs, squid, shrimps, and octopus are abundant, together with tasty fish, such as barracuda. Still, it might not be the freshest seafood around, so follow your nose and longest queues to find the best stalls.

Spice Island Lives Up to Its Name

Most foods are cooked with spices: masala, garlic, cardamom, saffron, and turmeric to name a few. Thanks to Zanzibar’s history as a melting pot of cultures, the Zanzibari cuisine has Indian, Arabic, and Mediterranean influences. Refreshing sugar cane juice well with any dish – add a dash of lime and ginger to boost your immunity!

The Famous Street Food Delicacy: Zanzibar Pizza

Forodhani Garden’s most famous dish is “Zanzibar pizza”: a weird mix of veggies, seafood, chicken, or beef mixed with egg and mayo and wrapped in fried dough. When the chef is piling your choice of fillings on the thin batter, it still looks like a traditional pizza. Then, an egg and mayo are drawn in, and the thing is crowned with another thin layer of dough, just like calzone. Finally, Zanzibar pizzas are fried in ghee until decadently crispy.

Sweet treats of Forodhani Gardens

The stalls sell many kinds of Swahili doughnuts, like vitumbua, kaimati, and mahamri. You can even have a Nutella or Snickers pizza for dessert!

Hits and Misses of Forodhani Gardens Street Food Market

While some tourists have eaten the best dishes of their trip in Forodhani Gardens, the others report poor food quality and stomach upsets. Always agree on the price before ordering to avoid being charged tourist prices. Only order food at the stalls, not from the touts. Make sure your meat or seafood is well cooked to prevent salmonella and parasites.

We had just small bites and didn’t have any problems. The food we tasted was good, but not outstanding. For safe culinary exploration in Stone Town, we recommend a sunset dinner at the rooftop of Emerson Spice. If you’re looking for stunning beaches and all-inclusive resort culinary delights, we recommend a relaxing stay at Baraza Resort & Spa.

If you doubt your tolerance, please just skip the street food and explore the grounds of Forodhani Gardens. It’s well worth watching at least one sunset from the seawall with locals!

Have you visited the Forodhani Gardens street food market, if so, what was your favorite dish?

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After dark Forodhani Gardens transform into a lively street food market, where locals and tourists alike stroll between food stalls to pick Zanzibari and Swahili delicacies.

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