Food is a big part of travelling, as eating is something we all do on a daily basis, and when travelling you make it special by also tasting the foods associated with the country you’re visiting.
South Africa (SA) has a significant “eating out” culture influenced by its indigenous population, along with restaurants featuring other cuisines such as Moroccan, Chinese, West African, Congolese, and Japanese.
And traditional SA dishes or modern interpretations thereof are a specialty in some restaurants. Here’s a guide to SA dishes to try on your travel to South Africa.
A travel to South Africa wouldn’t be complete without a plate of pap and boerewors, and even better if the boerewors is braaied (barbequed). This type of braaied meat is usually served at a Shisa Nyama an establishment that specialises in braaied meat.
As part of the authentic SA street food culture, which also includes a Kota, a daily lunch meal found in the townships of SA, which is a sandwich with your choice of chips, cheese slices or polony. Something similar to that would be a Gatsby, food mainly popular in Cape Town, it’s a long roll with fillings of anything ranging from polony to chicken or steak and hot chips. As well as Durban’s Bunny chow, popular amongst Indians who add their flavours of curry stuffed into a hollowed-out loaf of bread.
There’s also Samoosas, a savoury stuffed Indian pastry that’s fried, Magwinya or Vetkoek (fat cakes) that are deep fried dough balls typically stuffed with meat, Walkie Talkies, grilled or deep-fried chicken heads and feet, most popular in townships and sold by street vendors.
While local fast food chains to eat at when you travel to South Africa are Nandos, Steers, Chicken Licken, King Pie and Barcelos. Or dine out at a home grown chain restaurant such as Spur and Dulce café.
Sample SA’s delicacies such as koeksisters, Afrikaans koeksisters are twisted pastries, deep-fried and heavily sweetened. Koeksisters found on the Cape Flats are sweet and spicy, shaped like large eggs, and deep-fried. Biltong, a salty dried meat (similar to jerky), although the meat used is often from different types of Antelope or other venison and Smoked or braaied snoek (a regional gamefish).
If you’re going for the authentic SA beverages there’s Amasi or Inkomazi drank on its own or served with pap. Amarula, a cream liqueur made from the indigenous marula fruit, blended with ice cream. Mageu a drink made from fermented mielie pap or Umqobothi a beer made from fermented maize and sorghum.
While mainstay foods found in SA homes are Umngqusho, a dish made from white maize and sugar beans, a staple food for the Xhosa people. Mielie-meal, another staple food, predominantly cooked into pap or porridge. Samp and beans, biryani popular with Indian and Coloured culture, Potjiekos, a traditional Afrikaans stew, made with meat and vegetables and cooked over coals in cast-iron pots. Chakalaka a vegetable dish served as a salad, Rusks, a rectangular, hard, dry biscuit eaten after being dunked in tea or coffee; they’re either home-baked or shop-bought and Chutney a sweet sauce made from fruit that’s usually poured on meat.