In South Africa, you’ll find dishes influenced by the Dutch, French, Indians and Malaysians as well as the indigenous population, offering an exciting cuisine that’s sure to please the palate.
If you set foot on South African soil, don’t leave before you’ve enjoyed a traditional al fresco braai (bbq), as much for the barbecued food as for the cultural experience. Follow it up with a popular melktert (custard-filled pastry) and if you fancy a little snifter to finish then a sweet and creamy glass of Amarula (liqueur) will definitely do the trick.
Biltong and droewors
The indigenous tribes of South Africa used dry curing a method used to preserve meat before fridges were invented. Droewors (an air-dried sausage)and Biltong (a thinly sliced, air-dried meat) are usually made from beef or game, such as springbok; they are traditionally eaten as snacks.
The meat is cured in a mixture of salt, sugar vinegar and spices such as coriander and pepper, then hung to dry. The finished product is prized by health enthusiasts for its high protein and low fat content. Nowadays, biltong and droewors producers often add flavourings such as chili or garlic to the meat and use a variety of meats, such as ostrich and wild boar.
This is a traditional South African sausage made from beef, mixed with either pork or lamb and a mixture of spices. Boerewors are traditionally served in a coiled shape and cooked on a braai (barbecue). The word boerewors comes from the Afrikaans and Dutch words boer(farmer) and wors (sausage).
This luscious dessert is nothing short of heaven on earth! Melktert consists of a pastry case filled with milk, eggs and sugar, which is usually thickened with flour. The finished tart is traditionally dusted with cinnamon. A real South African comfort food—take a piece for now and one for later!
Cape Malay curry
In the 17th century, the Dutch and French landed and settled in Cape Town, bringing slaves from Indonesia, India and Malaysia, along with their spices and traditional cooking methods. When combined with local produce, the aromatic spices such as curry, cinnamon, saffron, turmeric and chili created fragrant curries and stews, which are still popular in the area today.
Braais or shisa nyama (‘burn the meat’ in Zulu) originated in the townships of Johannesburg, with butchers who set up barbecues in front of their shops on weekends to grill their meat and sell it on the street. Nowadays, local communities gather at braais on the weekends to share camaraderie. When in Africa, do as the Afrikaans do: pop along to soak up the vibrant atmosphere, listen to music and take your pick from hundreds of succulent offerings, usually comprised of beef, chicken, pork, lamb and vors (sausages) !
This street food of Durban has become popular across South Africa and is now starting to go global! Hollowed out loaves of bread, stuffed with spicy curried meats & vegetables were originally created by the immigrant Indian community in the Natal area of Durban and served to workers for lunch. Try chicken, pork, shrimp or vegetarian varieties containing lentils and beans. Bunny chows satisfy!