South Africa is packed with rich, delicious cuisine! You will find dishes influenced by the indigenous population, along with the Dutch, French, Indians and Malaysians. This provides an exciting and vibrant cuisine that is sure to excite even the most cultured palate. From delicious braaied (barbecued) food, custard filled pastries and creamy liqueurs, South African cuisine is diverse, hearty, creative and definitely worth experiencing. There are so many dishes to try, you are bound to find a favourite, more than likely, many!
Try these five dishes on your visit to this beautiful country:
– Bunny Chow: A SA360 favourite, this street food of Durban has become popular across South Africa originating among Indian South Africans of Durban. A Bunny Chow consists of a hollowed out loaf of bread, stuffed with spicy curry. Try chicken, pork or vegetarian varieties containing lentils and beans.
– Braai: For a real taste of South Africa you must experience an authentic braai (barbecue) offering an eating experience not to be missed. Local communities, friends and family often gather to share food at this social tradition during which food is cooked on a grill or braai over hot coals. Braais often offer a vibrant atmosphere, as guests listen to music and take their pick from the meat on offer, usually comprising of beef, chicken, pork, lamb and boerewors. In addition to meat, garlic breads, maize, potato salad, mushrooms and braai sandwiches known as braaibroodtjies (toasted sandwiches) are also commonly made, usually as side dishes, but also as a vegetarian meal. With South Africa being so diverse and having so many cultures, each has put their spin on the braai.
– Potjiekos: South Africans cook potjiekos (or pot food) in a round, cast-iron pot over a fire. It is cooked slowly in a cast iron pan over hot coals and is a fairly easy dish to prepare, even for someone who is not an expert. Traditionally made using meat and vegetables, modern variations have also become popular. Making potjiekos is a sociable and simple way to cook for a large group of people.
– Chakalaka & Pap: This is traditional South African dish offers a great way to be creative, combines vegetables such as peppers, onions, carrots, chillies, baked beans and tomatoes into a usually-spicy relish. It is a staple that accompanies almost every South African meal. Pap, meaning ‘porridge’, is similar to American grits or polenta but smoother and is a starchy dish made from white corn maize. Chakalaka and pap are often served together with breads, salad and stews and are a must try with braaied (barbecued) meat.
– Koeksisters: This tasty tea-time treat widespread throughout the country makes a tasty dessert. Made by frying platted-dough pieces, koeksisters become even sweeter after being submerged in a sugary syrup. Koeksisters have a golden, crunchy crust, a soft, doughnut-like centre, and are super sticky. The Cape Malay version, compared to the more common sweet version, is rolled in desiccated coconut, and it has a slightly spicy flavour.
These are just five of the numerous popular dishes that you will find in South Africa. If you are visiting South Africa do not leave without taking some time to sample the delicious local cuisine on offer, we guarantee you will not leave disappointed. Take a look at our EAT Local section where we have a list of Local Favourite restaurants and two EAT Local Experiences where guests can break bread with locals as their dine at their homes. To book an innovative EAT Local Experience or for more information on the best places to try local South African foods you are welcome to contact us.