Tanzanians usually eat two main meals a day. It is common practice to pass a bowl of water for washing hands before and after the meal. A dish known as ugali, made from cassava, corn, sorghum or millet flour, is very common. It is often accompanied by a fish stew, vegetables or meat. People who live on the coast often prefer rice to ugali. A popular main dish is pilau, cinnamon-flavored rice.
Each cultural and religious group in Tanzania has its own eating customs. Some women do not eat any eggs or chicken. In some tribes, it is forbidden for a father-in-law to eat at the same table as his daughter-in-law. In others, the men in the family are not allowed to enter the kitchen. In some Muslim households, men and women do not eat together.
Tanzanians' tastes in food vary a great deal, but they are generally fond of goat, chicken, beef and lamb. Barbecued meat called mishikaki is very popular and is often eaten at restaurants and pubs. Plantains (cooking bananas) are common in the northern part of the country, the southern highlands and the region surrounding Lake Victoria. On the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba, people enjoy Swahili dishes, such as seafood seasoned with coconut milk and spices.