When you visit South Africa we hope you are not here to eat exactly like you normally would at home. Eat and drink like a local and become a genuine traveler who is curious about the local cuisine of the country he is exploring.
Most famous tradition: a proper braai. A South African barbeque, but it involves a proper fire, lots of meat like steaks, boerewors and chops. This is usually accompanied by many side dishes such as maize meal porridge (“pap” or “phuthu”) with tomato gravy, toasts made on the fire (braaibroodjies), salads, veggies etc. Some South Africans even renamed our national Heritage Day (24 September) to the official “braai day”.
Do not forget biltong. Biltong is dried meat (similar to beef jerky), spiced with salt, pepper, coriander and various other flavours. Chilli bites is a popular variation. It can be made from beef, various types of game, ostrich or even fish. This needs to come along on your next safari style game drive. A related snack is droëwors (“dried sausage”), which also goes down well in our meat loving nation.
Make friends over a potjie. This is a stew made in a rustic, 3 legged, cast iron pot (“potjie”) and slow cooked over a fire. Also called Potjiekos. Ingredients usually include a type of meat or fish with vegetables, potatoes and rice. A very popular event is to have festive potjiekos competitions for socializing or fundraising purposes.
Feel at home with a bobotie. Bobotie is typical of Cape Malay cuisine, which is a flavourful blend of South African and Eastern cuisine, and made from mildly spiced mince (curry and turmeric) topped with a “custardy” layer of egg and milk. It often contains raisins and eaten with chutney, resulting in the characteristic taste, which is a unique combination of savoury spicy and sweet. A not-to-be-missed dish.
Try a bunny chow. A popular meal in KwaZulu-Natal (especially Durban), where the local cuisine has more of an Indian influence thanks to the big Indian community. This fun dish consists of half a loaf of white bread which has been hollowed out and filled with curry mince. The bread serves as a “bowl”, a very practical way of transporting a curry lunch. The Western Cape version is called a Gatsby, and the Soweto version is called “AK‑47” or Kota.
Sweet koeksisters for dessert. These extremely sweet delicacies are traditional Afrikaner treats. They are basically “braided” strips of dough which have been deep fried and dipped in syrup, which soaks into it to create a little sugar bomb. Watch out, they are irresistible and addictive.
Craft beers have grown in popularity in recent years, with many small breweries exploring the market with great success. Taste some on our Panorama/Kruger, and Battlefields Tours. African traditional brews also offer a very unique taste experience and are made of maize and sorghum, rather than barley and hops.
Flavoured gins are all the rage at the moment. Many local distilleries are producing their own gins and infusing them with indigenous ingredients such as fynbos or rooibos, giving them a unique South African flavour.
Drink our famous export product. To enjoy a characteristic South African drink, have a few glasses of wine. South African wines are well-known internationally and have a long history in the Western Cape region. Our Cape Town Tours will expose you to wine tasting at some of the many scenic wine estates in the Cape Town area.
The history of brandy dates back about 350 years when the first brandies were distilled by the Dutch on ships in the Cape. There are highly sophisticated brandies produced, which are made in the French cognac style and regularly win international awards. We recommend you have a taste.
These are just a few examples of inspiration for your culinary adventure in South Africa, there are many more local foods and specialities to discover. South Africa is a food loving nation and has a flourishing gastronomic culture to be enjoyed.
Hurry and book a tour now, or the wine might get sold out!