South African cuisine has many influences which include Malaysian, French, and Dutch cultures. This is showcased in the delicacies offered by them. They offer a vibrant cuisine that will surely excite the palate and will give you a brief idea about their culture. Make sure you don’t leave the country without having a taste of the dishes the country offers.
Here’s a list of top 20 South African delicacies you must try once when you set your foot in the country:
Biltong is the most popular and loved South African snack. It is cured, dried, and spiced meat. American beef jerky and biltong share some similarities. It is best enjoyed while watching any sport.
Boerewors is a thick farmer’s sausage which is a staple of braais and breakfasts. It tastes great when it is put on a hot dog with fried onions and sauces. It is spiced with coriander and beef or pork. It comes in a big coil.
3 Shisa Nyama/ Braaivleis
Braaivleis is eaten in a quintessential way by South Africans where they gather around an open fire and cook the food over the coils. It is usually paired with tender lamb chops and chili chakalaka.
4 Bunny Chow
Bunny Chow was originally consumed as a traveling lunch in KwaZulu Natal. It is a hollowed out loaf of white bread filled with curry. It is said that it originated from Indian South Africans of Durban.
Bokkoms might not be a favorite of many, but it originates from the West Coast region of South Africa. The small, whole, mullet fish is dried in the wind and sun, and then it is salted. Most of the people eat this as a snack, but it is also used in soups, pasta, and more.
Bobotie is a dinner dish prepared in many South African households. It consists of spiced mince, traditional sultanas or raisins, and an egg-based topping. It has a sweet taste influenced by Cape Malay and often includes turmeric, curry, and almonds.
Koeksisters is a tea time snack which is made by frying pleated dough pieces which becomes sweeter by the addition of sugary syrup. Their crust is golden and crunchy, and have a soft doughnut like center. The Cape Malay version of Koeksisters is rolled in desiccated coconut and have a spicy flavor.
8 Malva Pudding
Malva Pudding hails from Cape Dutch and contains apricot jam which is saucy and has a caramel taste with spongy texture. Those who bake it, add a creamy sauce over the pudding. It is served with vanilla ice cream or hot custard.
Ask any South African and they will all praise about this traditional dish. It is a pie-like dessert that consists of a sweet pastry and creamy filling of milk, sugar, flour, and eggs.
Potjiekos is a pot food where the food is cooked in a round, cast-iron pot over a fire. It is traditionally made using vegetables and meat, but modern variations have also become popular.
Vetkoek is popular in Afrikaner cooking. It is fried dough bread. The word ‘vetkoek’ means “fat cake” which is similar to the Dutch oliebollen. It can be accompanied with savory or sweet toppings like chutney and minced curry.
Chakalaka contains a combination of vegetables such as onions, carrots, peppers, and tomatoes. They are often combined with pap and boerewors. They are served with bread or curries. Some other variations of this dish include using beans, butternut, and cabbage. Other than these, baked beans, onions, tomatoes, garlic, and curry paste can be used to make this dish.
13 Cape Malay Curry
In the 17th century, the French and the Dutch settled in Cape Town and brought slaves from Malaysia, Indonesia, and India along with cooking methods and spices. The fragrant curries are combined with aromatic spices like turmeric, chili, saffron, and cinnamon.
Kota is compared to bunny chow as both of them are made from bread hollowed out and filled with curries. The only difference is in their contents. It contains cheese, eggs, atchar, slap chips, and Russian sausage.
15 Peppermint Crisp Tart
Peppermint Crisp Tart might not be the most stylish dessert, but it remains a popular South African dessert. It is a no-cook pudding where layers of biscuits, caramel treat, whipped cream, and Peppermint Crisp Chocolate Bars.
16 Pap en sous
Pap en sous is made from course ground maize which is cooked with water. Pap is a staple for many South Africans. You can have it as a porridge or as a ball dipped in sous which is a chunky onion and tomato sauce or with a meaty stew. You can try pap with chakalaka and flame grilled brisket.
17 Mogodu with Ting
Mogodu is stewed tripe which is slow cooked until it is soft whereas ting is a stiff porridge made from fermented sorghum/mabele. Mabele is a versatile ingredient just like arborio rice and quinoa.
Gatsby is a giant roll having a filling of slap chips (chunky and soft fries doused in vinegar, egg, masala steak, and russian sausage. It is usually accompanied with peri-peri or atchar to enhance the taste of the dish. It originated in the Cape Flats in the 1970s as an economical meal.
Denningvleis is a traditional Cape Malay Dish which uses the traditional South African recipe. It a sweet and sour slow-cooked stew flavored with tamarind and spices. Nowadays, people use lemon juice or vinegar instead of tamarind to give a sour taste. Earlier, this dish was used for medicinal purposes to increase the acidity levels in the body. It is combined with rice and roasted vegetables.
Bredie is commonly made with lamb and water blommetjies which is an edible flower found in marshes and dams or with tomato and beef. It is cooked for a long time with spices like cinnamon, cloves, chili, cardamom, and ginger. Pumpkin and green beans are also used to make this dish. It is heartily enjoyed by tourists and locals of the country.