Z is for za’atar, Zanzibar


za’atar, Zanzibar

Za’atar | istock.com/floortje


Look, Z isn’t easy. But finding za’atar, a much-loved Middle Eastern herb and spice blend, as well as other ingredients for your spice rack doesn’t have to be difficult. We have two shops in town dedicated to spices from around the world. First, Northwest Columbus is home to a Penzeys Spices store, the largest independent spice retailer in the U.S. The Kenny Road storefront boasts a massive selection. To support a local business, head to Ben Walters’ North Market Spices, where you’ll find an impressive cast of spices, spice blends and herbs—from Himalayan salt and sage to berbere and Bloody Mary mix—packaged in resealable bags. Otherwise, hit up some of the city’s excellent international groceries (see Letter I) for affordable, hard-to-find spices and herbs.

Street food at a night market in Stone Town in Zanzibar City | istock.com/golero


Columbus is lucky to have one Tanzanian spot: Riziki Swahili Grill on the North Side. With cheerful yellow and blue walls, the restaurant celebrates the food of Zanzibar, an Indian Ocean island off the coast of Tanzania’s mainland. Situated in the heart of ancient trade routes between Asia, Africa and the Middle East, Zanzibar is a melting pot, and its cuisine reflects it. Traditional foods include sambusas (see Letter S), chapati served with curry, mishkaki (skewered and grilled meat), pilau (rice with a protein) and ugali (cornmeal porridge).