How ever the town of Arusha, Tanzania may pitch itself to the world (one reference is apparently "The Geneva of Africa") it is in essence a pit stop. Arusha is where travellers from all over the world break their journey on the overland route between Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam (as we did in late October), or else camp for the night before forging onward to Serengeti National Park or Mount Kilimanjaro.
As such, Arusha's streets are chockablock with buses, safari vans and giant SUVs owned by flush tour operators. And hungry pedestrians in transit.
One enterprise that has embraced this situation with some delicious genius is wheeler mealer Zubeda Auto Spares / Khan's Barbeque. By day, it sells auto parts to vehicles trundling through town. By night, it sells some of the best damn Pakistani-style BBQ chicken parts I've tasted anywhere for the travellers pouring out of said vehicles.
Slot yourself into one of the long bench tables (or simply lower your SUV window if you want to eat in your plush vehicle), place your order, then go build your own salad that comes with each meal. I particularly liked the green tomato achar (pickle) salad.
Beware: this is one of the few eateries in East Africa where when they tell you something is spicy, they mean it's spicy (I learned this the hard teary-sweaty-snotty way).
The other thing the more sensible among you need to be aware of, is that 1 order of chicken at Khan's means 1 whole chicken. We unknowingly ordered 2. Which meant we had the most badass snacks on the bus to Dar Es Salaam the next day.
Twas the proverbial dark and stormy night when we ate at Khan's. In these parts, this often means that power cuts out for hours on end.
So while waiting for Khan's backup generator to kick in, we dined by Maglite and SUV headlight... same way the grill chefs soldiered on.
Having lived in London, I had full appreciation of their stoicism while BBQing in the rain. So we made another pit stop at Khan's on the road back to Nairobi a week later.
As tender, juicy, spicy and smoky as the chicken was, I was glad to be moving on. If Khan's were in my neighbourhood I'd find myself there embarassingly often. Eat frequently enough at a place like this, and you're bound to eventually get a spare tyre for free. And I don't mean the type you can run your car on.
Khan's Barbeque / Zubeda Auto Spares
+255 27 2500 458 / 2544 925
Mobile: +255 713 / 754 / 784 652747
(Note: The 3 digit prefix numbers are for different mobile network providers. Calls within the same network are sometimes discounted or free)