From classic,local traditional dishes to contemporary cuisine, South Africa boasts an array of culinary options that you might not necessarily find only in a restaurant – but also brewing in the kitchen or grilling in the backyard of most South African homes. Here’s a list of popular South African dishes and snacks you must try while visiting our beautiful country.
Now, before your imagination runs wild, this is not what you think. There are no bunnies in this meal, but rather tender lamb, mutton, chicken or vegetables, in a spicy gravy. The bunny chow is a firm favourite in Durban (east coast of South Africa). Visit Durban’s famous Blue Lagoon and pop in to Danny’s House of Curries (three-time winner of the Coca-Cola Bunny Chow Barometer Challenge) to give your taste buds a bit of a tingle.
Boerewors with chakalaka
Whenever you’re at a braai (barbecue for our foreign friends), you have to try this simple yet tasty meal. Boerewors is an Afrikaans (one of South Africa’s many languages) term used describe a sausage, and this dish is accompanied with traditional relish or chakalaka as we refer to it. The relish consists of various ingredients including chopped peppers, tomatoes, onions and most importantly – curry powder.
Potjiekos (a word derived from Afrikaans) is a small pot (made from cast iron) of food. It’s a stew cooked over coals and there’s always an excuse to make a potjie – be it a chilly winter’s evening or a warm afternoon. It’s important you have the perfect size pot to ensure all your guests have a decent serving. Chances are they’ll want a second helping – it’s that good!
Pap and vleis
Another firm favourite among South Africans is pap and vleis. It’s basically maize meal (pap) and meat (vleis). The term “pap and vleis” is commonly used in the Afrikaans language. Pap consists of ground maize, and the local ethnic communities enjoy eating it as breakfast (porridge) or at a braai, which is also known as a shisanyama. If you’re in Soweto (Johanesburg) or Gugulethu (Cape Town), visit either Chaf Pozi or Mzoli’s and enjoy! Your palate will thank you for it.
Cape Malay curry
A dish popular in the Western Cape, this curry is rich in aroma, spices (including turmeric and saffron) and is enjoyed by locals including the Muslim community.
More of a snack than a meal, biltong is dried and cured meat. From beef and game meat, such as kudu and ostrich, to the less popular chicken option, biltong is enjoyed at braais (shisanyama) and sporting events.