Zanzibar International Airport cafe, Zanzibar

Zanzibar, Tanzania

Last year Mrs Snot Block & Roll and I took a trip to Tanzania, and spent a lovely week and a half on safari, photographing wildlife. At the end of the trip, we spent a few days in Zanzibar, where we enjoyed the exotic melange of cultures, including the spicy flavours and the excellent seafood. On the way home, we spent some time waiting for our flight in Zanzibar International Airport. While killing time, I wandered around the tiny terminal building and spotted a small cafe.

Zanzibar Airport snack bar

On closer inspection, the display of hot food had plates of beef and chicken samosas, triangular chicken pies, and… sausage rolls! Beef sausage rolls, to be precise, from the signage, which is probably going out of its way to assure any prospective buyers that it is halal and contains no pork.

Hot snacks at Zanzibar Airport

They looked okay in the warmer display, a generous pile of rolls, although seemingly jumbled together with some other sort of pastry. I figured this might be my only chance to sample a sausage roll in Tanzania, so I had to do it. I asked for one, and paid with some of my last Tanzanian shillings. But I was rather surprised at the plate the woman behind the counter handed over to me.

Sausage roll, Zanzibar Airport

It looked simply like a large rectangular slab of thick pastry, folded over and baked. There was a shallow bump near the fold, betraying some sort of filling, but it wasn’t visible through the ends. Well, I’d bought it now, nothing for it but to try it! The pastry looks okay, a nice golden brown colour, but very thick. It has a dry, soft, biscuity feel to it, being more of a short pastry than a flaky variety. It dries the mouth and takes a lot of work to get through it all. But biting through it reveals the filling.

Sausage roll, Zanzibar Airport

It turns out to be simply a small beef sausage, folded in the thick layer of pastry, like a bookmark between two pages, not rolled into a cylinder. The sausage is tiny and overwhelmed by the Kilimanjaro-esque mountain of pastry. It has a deep pink colour suspiciously like the breakfast sausages I’ve had at breakfast in a couple of the hotels the past few days, with a mild beef flavour that is much more safe than interesting. There’s no real sense of any seasoning or herbs and it could just be 100% beef. It’s not truly awful or inedible in any way, just plain and bland and poorly constructed. I had to try it because of the exotic location, but take my advice: stick to the local Zanzibari seafood specialties.

Beef sausage roll: 3/10

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