Swahili foods

Names of food in Swahili

Food is a big part of our life. We eat food everyday to stay healthy and active . So our lesson toady is going to be on the names of foods, also fruits and vegetables,and drinks. Then on the second part of the lesson we will learn how to order food or drinks in a Swahili speaking restaurant. First, let's learn some vocabulary!

English Swahili
Food Chakula
Foods Vyakula
Nyama Meat
Beef Nyama ya Ngombe
Roasted meat Nyama choma
Lamb Nyama ya Kondoo
Pork Nyama ya Nguruwe
Chicken Kuku
Fish Samaki
Sausage Soseji
Egg Yai
Eggs Mayai
Liver Maini
Rice ( uncooked ) Mchele
Rice ( Cooked ) Wali
Soup Supu
Bread Mkate
Porridge Uji
Salad Saladi
Stiff porridge Ugali

Engilsh Swahili
Drink ( noun ) Kinywaji
Drinks Vinywaji
Drink ( verb ) Kunywa
Drinking water Maji ya Kunywa
Juice Jusi
Maji ya Maembe Mango Juice
Maji ya Mananasi Pineapple Juice
Milk Maziwa
Tea with Milk Chai ya Maziwa
Soda Soda
Wine Mvinyo
Beer Pombe
Illicit liquor Chang’aa
Whiskey Wiski

Notice that if you would like to say Orange juice or Mango juice, it is not jusi ya machungwa or jusi ya maembe. It is maji ya machungwa and maji yo maembe. Even though jusi ya ...  means juice of ... We will learn the names of the fruits after drinks. So don't worry if you don't know any fruit in Swahili.

English Swahili
Fruit Tunda
Fruits Matunda
Apple Tufaha
Banna Ndizi
Dates Tunde
Mango Embe
Grapes Zabibu
Orange Chungwa
Pear Peasi
Pineapple Nanasi
Coconut Nazi
Tangerine Chenza
Lemon Limau
Lime Ndimu
Papaya Papai
Cherry Cheri
Pomegranate Komamanga

English Swahili
Vegetable Mboga
Onion Kitunguu
Tomato Nyanya
Garlic Kitunguu Saumu
Potato Viazi
Cabbage Kabichi
Kale Sukuma Waki
Spinach Mchicha
Yam Kiazi kikuu
Bean (s) (ma) haragwe
Maize Mahindi
Mushroom Uyoga
Carrot Karoti
Pumpkin Malenge

It is good to remember to the plural form of the different  because usually have to the same plural suffix ma but in other cases the fruit or vegetable might share the same name in both plural and Singular forms.  in Swahili Some of the fruits in Swahili are borrowed from English so you might see a resemblance between the two names.

How to order food in Swahili

NOTE: To order food in Swahili, we need take some knowledge from our previous lessons eg: Greetings for you to fully make a conversations which you can understand properly.


At the moment you arrive a the restaurant you will have to greet your waiter. You could say "Habari", "Habari yako" or you can say "habari ya ... " then add the time of the day in Swahili to complete the greeting.

Getting a table

After the waiter has replied to you or you have replied to you, you would like to get a table. So you could basically say:  "napenda meza" ( I would like a table ). You could also say: " Tafadhali unaweza kunitafute meza " ( Please, could you find me ). If you are with your friends and family and you are trying to get a table, you can use a similar sentence but with a bit of alteration. An example of a sentence would be "Tafadhali unaweza kututafute meza ya watu wa tatu ( Please, could you find us a table for three people ) . Change the number (tatu-three) with the number of people with you. Notice that instead of saying kunitafute it is kututafute. The difference in the ni and tu changes the sentence form "me" to "us"

Ordering food and drinks

When ordering you food and drinks, simple terms you say " Tafadhali, nipe ... " ( Please, give me... ) or you could say " niletee..." ( bring me...). It is up to you.

Getting the bill

The bill in Swahili is just Bili . So when trying to get your bill you could use the same Swahili sentence of ordering food or you could go ahead and say " Nataku bili yangu" (I would like my bill). If you would like to know the amount you spent right away, then you say " Ni pesa ngap?" ( much is it? ) . The waiter will reply different ways but he says shilling then the word after is amount. Go back to the numbers lesson to understand the Swahili numbers .Then after you pay, you say a warm good-bye such as, "Tuonane tena". If you do not know what means, please go to our first lesson to find the meaning.

Now read through this conversation on how to order food or click here to take you to read  it in full-screen presentation mode. Please, share it with other people you know who would like to learn Swahili.



new piktochart1 2 Swahili foods