South African food is all about sharing good food, history, your surroundings and the people you are gathering with. You can enjoy dishes not only influenced by the indigenous population but also from the Dutch, French, Indians and Malaysians. Enjoy vibrant cuisine that’s sure to excite the palate. Here is a fun guide to essential foods that all visitors – and residents – should taste when on our gorgeous shores:
– Biltong & Droewors: Dry curing was a method used to preserve meat by the indigenous tribes of South Africa before fridges were invented. Biltong is a delicious thinly sliced, air-dried meat which can also be flavoured with chilli or garlic, it is usually beef, game (such as Springbok) or ostrich. Biltong is best enjoyed with a cold beer while watching sport. Droewors an air-dried sausage and is traditionally eaten as a snack. The meat is cured in a mixture of vinegar, salt, sugar and spices such as coriander and hung to dry. The finished product is prized by health enthusiasts for having a high protein and low fat content.
– Bobotie: This is a dish that is thought to have been brought to South Africa by Asian settlers, this traditional Cape Malay dish comprises of lightly spiced minced beef or lamb topped with and egg and milk layer before baking until brown in the oven. You can add apple, raisins or apricot jam depending on preference as the sweetness works well with the curry powder and turmeric that lend the dish its golden colour.
– Boerewors: This is a very popular and delicious sausage dish in South Africa. This traditional thick farmer’s sausage is a staple at braais (bbq’s) and is great on a soft hot dog roll with fried onions and lashings of sauce. The sausage contains a mix of beef or pork and is full of spices such as black pepper, cloves, toasted coriander seeds, nutmeg and allspice. This delicious sausage comes in a big coil, which sizzles pleasantly when you turn it over with tongs on the braai.
– Bunny Chow: The bunny chow first originated in the Durban Indian community, this dish can be enjoyed for lunch or dinner and consists of a hollowed out half loaf of bread (normally white bread) which is filled with a curry. Durban is the place to try a Bunny Chow, with many restaurants offering this delicious dish.
– Vetkoek: Meaning ‘fat cake’ is a ball of dough filled and then deep fried in vegetable oil. Favourite fillings include spiced mince or polony for a savoury taste or syrup, jam and grated cheese for a sweet taste. This traditional dish can be considered a dessert.
– Gatsby: Originating in the Cape Flats in the 1970’s as an economical meal, this footlong filled roll is a street-food masterpiece. This sandwich is meant for sharing and is bursting with toppings, most often a combination of slap chips (soft fries often soaked in vinegar), Russian sausage, polony or masala steak, accompanied by atchar or peri peri.
– Koeksisters: These tasty and heavily sweetened dough treats are sure to satisfy that sweet tooth of yours. Koeksisters, of Afrikaans heritage, are deep fried, twisted pastries soaked in syrup. The name of the sweet treat is derived from the Dutch word ‘koek’ (meaning cake). Koeksisters are delicious and oh so sugary!
– Malva pudding: Many South Africans will tell stories of how their granny made this dessert with toffee sauce best. Malva pudding is a sweet, spongy apricot pudding of Dutch origin. A perfect treat for winter, this dessert is topped with a cream sauce, containing apricot jam with a spongy caramelised texture. Malva pudding is best served warm and many people enjoy it with either custard or ice cream.
– Milk tart (also known as melktert): This is a South African favourite especially as a soothing tea time treat. Pale, smooth and topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon, milk tart has a sweet pastry crust and a creamy filling made from milk, sugar, flour and eggs.
– Peppermint Crisp tart: This is not the most stylish dessert but it is delicious and a hit with the locals. Quick and easy to prepare as it requires no cooking, just layer biscuits, whipped cream, caramel treat and a Peppermint Crisp chocolate slab to create a creamy and rich dessert.
If you would like more information on local foods or sample packages showing how our newly launched EAT LOCAL Experiences can be incorporated into a package or if you would like to try our EAT LOCAL Experiences or Local Favourite restaurants, please contact us.