One of my favorite weekend activities in New York City is to go out to eat with my husband and try new restaurants.  New York has some amazing food and a lot of unique restaurants to visit.  When I learned I would be going to Tanzania I was very excited to spend some time in East Africa.   I decided that while there I wanted to make sure and sample different local food.  

So here I am, halfway across the world, ready for my food adventure to begin.  Will it be some strange bug or exotic fruit,  maybe a rare meat that is only known in this region, or …..

KFC in Tanzania


 wait a minute,  how did I wind up at a KFC?   I am originally from Kentucky after all and I did not need to travel halfway across the globe to try KFC.  Usually I am not the type to eat at American chains while abroad, but someone took me there and this one has an interesting story.
 
Inside KFC Tanzania

KCF came to Tanzania in 2013 and is the 2nd U.S. fast food chain to enter the country behind Subway Sandwich.   KFC in Tanzania is a plan three years in the making since they wanted to ensure all the ingredients are sourced from local suppliers.

Meal with spicey and original


KFC was actually the first western food chain to open in all of east Africa when it open a store in Kenya in 2011 and today it has locations in almost 15 countries in Africa – talk about a big expansion in the last 2 years.    The major reason that McDonalds or Burger King is not in East Africa is concern over the supply chain. KFC investors worked with a Kenyan chicken supplier for more than a year to bring it up to the quality control standards demanded by KFC's parent company, Yum Brands.   From my brief research in writing this post, some places in Africa do not have chicken that meets KFC standards and have either been importing it, worked for a few years to get a local supplier up to standards, or have to pay above market rates for the one supplier they find in their region. 
   
Menu at KFC Tanzania


So what did this native Kentuckian think about her KCF Tanzania experience? 

The “adventure” began when we drove up to a new building and big parking lot with a well lit sign of Colonel Sanders.   A security guard waved us to one of the empty spaces.  It looked just like any new KFC in the U.S. from the outside.   Inside, the store was immaculate.   I have not been inside a KFC in the U.S. for probably decades, but this one was impressive as far as KFCs goes - we are talking about a fast food chain and not the wonders of the world here so that is the context I am using.  The people that worked there were extremely friendly and helpful and even rush to open the door for you.  It was customer service at its best.  They really seemed proud to work there and be a part of KFC in Tanzania.  I honestly can’t remember the last time I ate at a KFC, but it was pretty good.    They offer the same concept of extra values meals as they do in the U.S. with drinks and fries minus the option to supersize.  The store sells different types of chicken at the Tanzania location including a spicy chicken which I tried and it certainly had a kick.  This was not American spicy, this was African spicy.   The 5 piece bucket was expensive at $13.00.   That is more than the average daily income in Tanzania of approximately $2.
   
Inside KFC Tanzania


 I never thought I would be making a comparison between Kiva and KFC, but in a way it does remind me of how Kiva is sometimes one of the first organizations to lend in a certain area or the only organization that will lend to a vulnerable group.  Once other funders see that it works with Kiva, they will often come into the market and start to offer loans and other financing.  KFC is paving the way for other U.S. chains to enter the market which one could argue is a good or bad depending on your thoughts on globalization, but let’s leave that for another conversation.   Today I just wanted to share the story of a girl from Kentucky eating KFC in Tanzania - and to be honest, it was quite a nice experience as far as fast food goes.
 
Local Food 

And just in case you are curious about local Tanzania food,  I have also been trying something new each day.  I have been exploring various food stalls and my co-workers drop off a different item each day to try.  It has been delicious.   Please also check out Tujijenge Tanzania (my day job) and help support their current loans.
 
Local Fried Chicken on a Stick
Making Chipatis - local breakfast of fried dough
Making Chipatis - local breakfast of fried dough
Chipati - final product with peanut butter
Wali nyama na mbugamboga - lunch of veggies and rice
  
Ugali - maize porridge with vegetables
   
Local Cafe
Fruit Stand
Bar near my office

Comments

I like seeing the juxtaposition of KFC and the local food. Whenever I see the chain fast food coming in to country I would have never thought about the supply chain and that they sourced locally.

Such an interesting survey and glimpse that shows how Tanzania is in transition...through the lens of food. And I agree- I would never have thought that a big US chain would bother sourcing its food locally. Still don't love the idea of US companies taking over the world, but at least in this case, they seem to be doing it responsibly.

its so amazing how food in the western world is different from our and yet you find it yummy, I just love seeing those photos. I am from Kenya and we are neighbours with Tanzania. Foods are the same. I have never been to TZ

Thanks for the message. I do like the food here. I have not been to Kenya but I hope to visit someday.

The local food looks much more appetizing to me, but I like that KFC is at least using local food sources. Did you find out from the locals who the "market" is for a chain like that? The prices you described seem to be well beyond the means of most Tanzanians so is it more for ex-pats or the wealthy?

I think there is a growing middle class or at least a hope for a larger middle class. when I went I did not see any other expats. It is also not located in the same area that most of the expats live so I think the target is middle and upper class Tanzanians

I love hearing about your food adventures and the stories behind them in Tanzania. Food trucks are so popular in the US right now. Do they have these in Tanzania? Would they even work or make sense there? Can't wait to read more about your experience and the culture of Tanzania.

Add Your Comments

Katie is from Lexington, Kentucky and currently lives in New York City. She is passionate about travelling and is always planning her next adventure. After completing a bachelor’s degree in Business, Katie worked in London and Australia and led outdoor adventure trips for teenagers around the globe. Before moving to NYC, she worked at the 2006 Olympics, volunteered in Guatemala on a sustainable development project, and spent a year in France during graduate school. While in graduate school, as part of her dual MBA / Diplomacy degree, she was introduced to microfinance and has been searching for ways to stay involved and learn more. KF22 is the perfect answer! Katie currently participates in the LEADers program with Women’s World Banking and had the opportunity to travel to Ghana in 2011 to meet with the central bank, local regulators, and clients of WWB network institutions. For the last 6 years, Katie has worked at Bank of America focusing the last 3 years on Liquidity Risk. Katie has been to over 50 countries and is excited for a new adventure in Tanzania. She is looking forward to the opportunity to apply her experience to help alleviate poverty.