If you’re a fan of African street food, Uganda is a country rich in culture and tradition, and its street food is a reflection of its diverse culinary heritage.
From the famous Ugandan Rolex to the delicious Samosas, the streets of Uganda are lined with vendors offering a variety of delicious, quick bites for locals and travelers alike.
Tips To Eat Street Food in Uganda
As tempting as it is to try every Ugandan street food dish that catches your eye, it’s best to exercise caution, as you don’t want food poisoning to ruin your trip to Uganda.
Here are a few pointers to remember when eating Ugandan street foods.
- Find busy street food stalls. The busier or more popular a food stall is, the more likely its food will be safer to eat.
- Foods that are fried or grilled are safer. Fried or grilled foods are typically safer to eat because heat kills bacteria. The same is true of drinks. Due to the fact that chai tea is made with boiled water, hot beverages in general are safer.
- Eat food from places where locals eat. You should eat where the locals eat. It’s good advice for maintaining food safety. Consider this: Do you believe that customers would keep returning if the food was making them sick? Food vendors are aware of this, in particular since locals account for the majority of their customers.
- Avoid eating or drinking anything made with water. Avoid anything made with undistilled water, such as ice cubes, fresh fruit juices, and sauces, as this might make you sick. Find street food vendors who prepare their food with distilled water if you can.
- Eat at the same time as the residents do. If you arrive at the wrong time, there might be no lines anywhere. If you go for street food in the middle of the day, you might get food that has been sitting out since the end of the lunch rush, giving bacteria plenty of time to grow.
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Here is a list of the 15 most popular street foods in Uganda.
Chapati is a popular Ugandan street food made by combining wheat flour, baking powder, onions, green peppers, carrots, salt, and water. The mixture is then flattened and fried in a small amount of oil.
Once fried, chapatis can be used for a variety of things. They can be used to make the mouthwatering Ugandan rolex and kikomando, quick and simple street foods. They can also be used to wrap vegetables, boiled eggs, and ground beef.
You can also have a chapati as a side with your morning or evening tea if you choose to skip the main course.
GET OUR RECIPE : How to make soft Chapati – A Step-by-Step Guide
2. TV Chicken
In the evenings, you can find street vendors selling chicken all along the majority of the streets in Kampala and other major cities and towns. “TV Chicken” is written in capital letters on tiny chalkboard menus that are hung on the walls of roadside stalls along the streets.
The dish gets its name from the way the chicken is specially roasted, which is in a “TV-lookalike oven” (rotisserie).
It’s typically served in large portions with salads, French fries, and smoked bananas or cassava.
3. Ugandan Rolex
The rolex is a classic and one of the most popular Ugandan street foods. This mouthwatering street food is made up of chapati, which is used to wrap eggs that have been cooked with cabbage, onion, tomato, and occasionally peppers to make a delicious, portable meal.
This tasty street food can be enjoyed at home or on the go. Therefore, if you’re in Uganda and want to sample the real local flavour, make sure to pick up a hot and tasty rolex!
GET OUR RECIPE: How to make a Ugandan Rolex!
4. Kabalagala/Ugandan Pancakes
Ugandan Pancakes, or Kabalagala, are a well-known street food in Uganda. Preparing them is simple and involves mixing mashed sweet bananas with cassava flour to form a soft dough. This dough is then rolled out, cut into rounds using a glass, and deep-fried until it turns golden brown.
These sweet and savory pancakes offer a delicious snack for those who want something quick and easy to eat. Whether you’re in the mood for a sweet treat or simply looking for a new food to try, Kabalagala is a must-try for anyone exploring the Ugandan street food scene.
5. Muchomo /Roasted Meat
Muchomo refers to different types of roasted meat such as chicken, beef, goat, liver, or pork that are marinated and roasted over an open flame on sticks or skewers. Typically served with roasted plantains (Gonja), roasted matooke, and kachumbari (a mix of tomatoes, onions, and chili peppers), muchomo is a filling and flavorful option for anyone exploring the street food in East Africa.
While it can also be found in food outlets and bars, muchomo is best experienced by street vendors, where the traditional cooking method and flavors are showcased at their finest.
6. Roasted/Grilled maize
Roasted maize is a popular African street food that can be found in many countries, including Uganda. It can be found at any time of the day at street food stalls /vendors. However, this snack is seasonal and is scarce at certain times of the year.
This simple yet delicious snack is made by roasting maize over hot coals/charcoal stoves until they are tender and slightly charred. The result is a sweet and smoky snack that is both satisfying and filling. Roasted maize is often eaten on its own.
7. Fried Cassava
Fried cassava is a popular street food in Uganda that is both delicious and filling. Cassava is peeled and sliced before being deep-fried until crispy and golden brown. The result is a crunchy and slightly sweet snack that is perfect for a quick bite on the go. Fried cassava is often served with a variety of dipping sauces or toppings and is a popular option for both locals and visitors.
Fried Cassava can also be eaten on its own or with fried meat, kachumbari (a tomato, onion, and chili pepper salad), and avocado.
8. Roasted Gonja (Plantain)
Gonja, also known as roasted plantain, is a popular street food in Uganda. Plantains are pealed and then roasted over hot coals, fried or grilled until they are a golden color. The result is a sweet and savory snack that is both filling and flavorful.
It is a popular choice for both locals and visitors alike and can be found on street vendors throughout Uganda. Whether you’re looking for a quick and satisfying snack or a sweet and healthy option, gonja is a must-try for anyone exploring the street food scene in Uganda.
GET OUR RECIPE: How to make Fried plantain chips
Kikomando is a popular Ugandan street food that is quick and simple to make, made from sliced chapatti and beans. This dish is an ideal option for people who are always on the go and busy, as it is easy to consume without the use of utensils. Not only is it quick and convenient, but it is also reasonably priced, making it a preferred choice for people on a tight budget.
While kikomando is frequently enjoyed as a quick snack or light meal, it can also be spiced up with the addition of ingredients like tomatoes, onions, avocado, cabbage, and chili peppers.
Samosas are one of the most popular Ugandan street foods. These triangular pastries are filled with a variety of ingredients, including spiced vegetables, beef, and cheese, and are deep-fried until they are crispy and golden.
The crispy exterior and savory filling make samosas a delicious and satisfying treat for locals and tourists alike.
They are usually served hot and are a perfect grab-and-go option for a quick and delicious snack on the go. Whether you’re looking for something savory or sweet, samosas are a must-try for anyone exploring the street food scene in Uganda.
GET OUR RECIPE: How to make a beef Samosa
Mandazi is a sweet, doughnut-like pastry that is popular in Uganda and often enjoyed with a cup of tea. These soft, round pastries are made from a simple mixture of flour, sugar, and yeast and are deep-fried until golden and fluffy. They have a slightly crisp exterior and a soft, tender interior that is infused with a sweet and slightly nutty flavor.
Mandazis are a popular street food in Uganda and can be found at many local vendors, where they are sold hot and fresh from the fryer. Whether you’re looking for a sweet snack or a treat to accompany your morning tea, mandazi is a must-try for anyone visiting Uganda.
12. Ugandan / African chai tea
Whether you’re looking for a hot and comforting drink on a chilly day or a sweet and aromatic beverage to accompany your meal, Ugandan chai tea is a must-try. Whether you choose to savor it on its own or with a sweet pastry like mandazi, this tea is sure to warm you up and leave you feeling satisfied.
Ugandan/African Chai tea is made by boiling water or milk with ginger (Tangawizi), basil (Omujaaja), cinnamon (Mdalasini), or lemongrass (Kisubi).
13. Fried fish
Uganda is home to Lake Victoria, which is the biggest tropical freshwater lake in the world. The most popular type of fish is tilapia which is coated in a mixture of spices and flour before being deep-fried until crispy and golden. The result is a tender and flavorful piece of fish that is perfect for a quick and satisfying snack. It is usually served with potato chips and kachumbari(Vegetable salsa) or prepared in mouthwatering stews.
Tilapia fish is also cut into small pieces and made into a stew, which is usually served with Matoke or Posho (Ugali).
14. Nsenene / Fried Grasshoppers
Grasshoppers, also known as Nsenene or grasshoppers, are a popular snack and Ugandan street food. Grasshoppers are captured during the wet /rainy season, between May and November, and have their wings and legs removed. After washing, they are fried with other spices, onions, chili, and salt. Grasshoppers produce oil that is used to fry them. They have a crunchy exterior and a tender interior that is packed with flavor.
Although they may seem intimidating to those unfamiliar with them, they are a must-try for anyone looking to experience the unique flavors and foods of Uganda.
15. Nswa/ white ants
White ants also known as Nswa are a quite popular Ugandan street food and you can find them served up as a snack just like Nsenene.
This traditional Ugandan snack is made with termites and spices. Nswa is nutrient-dense and high in protein.
They are common during the wet season. The food’s excellent nutritional value is one of the major factors why so many people like it.
This Ugandan street food is available in some restaurants as well as street food stands.
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Frequently asked questions about Ugandan street foods
What is Uganda’s national food?
Uganda does not have an officially designated national dish. However, many people mistakenly refer to Matoke as the national dish of Uganda.
What is a popular street food in Uganda?
It’s difficult to determine the most popular street food in Uganda, as the country has a diverse culinary culture but the most popular is the Chapati and the Ugandan Rolex (made with Chapati).
What is Rolex in Uganda?
Rolex is a Ugandan street food made by rolling an omelette and vegetables in a chapati and is the most popular street food in the country.
What is Kikomando in English?
Kikomando is a type of street food found in Uganda that consists of chapati and beans. There is no name in English for this popular Ugandan street food.
What is the most popular dish in Uganda?
It’s difficult to determine the most popular food in Uganda, as the country has a diverse culinary culture but the most popular are Matoke and Posho (Ugali).