10 East African Favourite Nostalgic ‘Streets treats’

Growing up in East Africa in 70-80’s was a God sent gift. No doubt if you are one of them, you will have the same opinion.

Those who grew up in seventies and eighties not only had easy life, flew kites at the top of high-rise buildings, pick mangoes from trees that were plenty all over Dar streets and played gololi (marbles) day and night!

Nonetheless, the Memories of the place are ever timeless and plenty. We picked one that we hope will bring back your childhood memories and leave you salivating.

It is on the local treats that where sold on the streets corners of major East African cities: such as Dar es Salaam, Nairobi, Kampala, Mombasa and Zanzibar to name few.

Although the nostalgic treats we grew up with were many. We have compiled 10 of them for you to salivate on.

  1. Buyu (Baobab fruit candy) is the most liked and childhood favorite candy for teenagers from East Africa. It is made by mixing the sugar and food color to form a thick sugary coating which then is mixed with baobab fruit. The baobab fruit then gets packing in small Ziploc bags; ready for the streets.
  2. Then there is BIG G Bubble gum. Are you salivating yet? sold by street vendors all over Dar, this was a must have during 70’s when we were growing up in Tanzania. Black Cat was my favorite though!
  3. Kahawa (Coffee) na Kashata (Baked hard/soft nugget made of grind cashew and all purpose flour. Vendors have been selling kahawa and kashata at street corners all over East African big cities for centuries. It is a familiar sight even today to see people sit on benches on street corners after a meal to enjoy n gossiping, news of the day and cup/cups of coffee(served in small cups)
  4.  The word “cassata” literally means “little case” due to its brick shape. Cassata is an ice cream, shaped like a brick, consisting of layers of ice creams of different flavors on liqueur soaked sponge. This is the Sicilian version of the dessert. I have chosen ready-made ice cream to make a quick dessert. You may make the ice cream yourself at home. You can prepare the cassata up to 2 to 3 days in advance and keep it frozen. A great dessert for a great evening!
  5. Cassava Crisp not chips! – Some liked it spicy and some not, but whatever way you had the cassava crisp, again not chips it tasted delicious. Street vendors sold Cassava crisp on streets, at movie theaters and outside most schools. It was a must item at recess.
  6. Guava also goes well with salt and red-hot chili powder. Yummy!
  7. Fried Cassava-you never get fried cassava without lining up in queue. It is a necessary item on the menu at Wahindis weddings in Canada, UK and elsewhere they live. Next time you come across an East African restaurant, pop in for Mogo.
  8. Mabungo – a tangy fruit sold on almost every street corner in Dar es Salaam.
  9. ZEGE (Omelet mixed with fries(chips) Remember when old school weekend was not complete for partygoers and pub patrons unless a late night stop to one of many food vendors and an order of ZEGE!
  10. Zanzibari Mix – Delicacy sold by Wahindi (indo-East Africans) women in Zanzibar and Dar. There is a story that the rich from Dar used to fly to the island of Zanzibar just to have a bowl of Zanzibari mix and back. After trying this mixture of chickpeas, bhajia and potatoes, the folklore does not seem a farfetched.


What’s your favourite childhood treat? Share with our audiences.

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