South African food just like South Africans mirrors the multiculturalism diversity of the Rainbow Nation. From conventional African meals to food recipes that were brought to SA from Indonesia and Malaysia servants and slaves, SA food is a cacophony of textures and tastes.
But before you try out any of these kinds of South African food, please ensure you have a South African beer available when you try out any of the food products below — we suggest South Africa’s favourite beer – Castle Lager.
Some South Africans take a lot of satisfaction in educating their overseas guests that the tasty piece of sausage they have just eaten is in fact true traditional South African snake!
This story is very believable to the unwary foreigner since “boerewors”, looks a lot like a snake, especially when it is purchased with its meat curling and coiling around itself and the density of the sausage appearing to be of the same density of a snake itself. Boerewors, however, is a well-liked item of meat, it comprises of minced game or beef and a uniquely South African mixture of seasoning spices. This kind of South African cuisine is best appreciated on a braai. (Barbeque for our international readers)
This is one of the best snacks to enjoy while watching rugby or soccer. It is very similar to the American version of beef jerky, but biltong is so much tougher and comes in much bigger sizes. It’s a slightly salty meat that is available in small little packets but can be bought in large quantities. When you try it for the first time you will be yearning for more.
Just what could be called a staple among uniquely South African foods, pap is a polenta like food made from “mielie meel”, very similar to corn flour. It is very filling and wholesome; pap is seen as the definitive accompaniment to any kind of South African meal.
Pap is good but so much better with chakalaka. Chakalaka can only be described as a veggie relish, that is spicy (depending on the cook), made mostly as a dipping sauce for those who like something hot with their pap. Chakalaka will give your pap that extra vigour and life it needs. We advise that you never ever eat this food on your own.
Bobotie is made using some minced meat and baked with an egg covering. This distinct South African recipe stems from the Cape Malay, a community of slaves that came to South Africa in the early 17th century and brought here by the Dutch East India company from an area we now call Indonesia. This traditional cuisine is somewhat spicy, goes very well with rice, a bit of fruit chutney and some sliced-up banana and coconut.
Delectable Bunny chow
One more traditional SA dish that mirrors South Africa’s multiculturalism, the well-known and popular bunny chow, this is very popular dish particularly in Durban’s Indian community. This prevalent food is considered a fast food, on the basis of how much time it takes to make it. Bunny chow entails burrowing out half a loaf of white bread and packing it with virtually anything that satisfies your taste buds. We enjoy lamb curry and Cheese-Naks chips and tomato dressing. However, if you want to try out the original you should go for the hot spicy curry bunny-chow.
Another awesome truly South African meal is the vetkoek. The vetkoek is essentially a piece of dough that is deep-fried in cooking oil (probably not the healthiest of meals around). Similar to the bunny chow, you can pack this meal with some mincemeat or add some syrup or jam. In either case, do not expect this kind of food to fit well with your weight control strategy.
We South Africans have a craving for sweets as well. The famous koeksister does that job very well. Much like a vetkoek, the koeksister is smaller in size and is also cooked and deep-fried in gallons of cooking oil. The dough is soaked in syrup and normally served as soon as it has cooled down. We have to mention again that this will definitely not helped if you are on any kind of fitness regime.
A little on the calm side of the sweet tooth, this distinctly South African meal is, literally, a milk tart. Comparable in some respects to a custard tart, the melktert has a lighter, almost fluffy texture.
We normally enjoy it with a fine spray of cinnamon, and it’s exactly what you could find yourself consuming if you unsuspectingly find yourself meeting up with some Afrikaners from South African.