South Africa, known for our love of soccer, beautiful scenery and of course our delicious foods. We have a wide variety of dishes which are very popular among the people, there are many great delicacies in our country, however here is a small compilation of what we think every person has to try when in S.A. So if you have been or are intending to travel to South Africa, then here is a top 10 list of foods which you have to try while on your travels. This list has been compiled by the young and old. We hope you try it and love it.
Vet Koek and Mince
Vet Koek (pronounced “Fat cook”) also called “Fat Cake” or Amagwinya (Ama-gwen-ya), it is a very traditional and delicious food item which has been made by many mothers across South Africa since the good ‘old’ days. Vet Koek is a dough made from flour, yeast, salt and a little water, which is deep fried until brown and crispy. It is then filled with mince, which can however, be substituted with jam (for a great breakfast) as well as any other filling of your choice, including samoosas, yes you read that correctly, recently many people have been adding their samoosas as filling in the Vet Koek and it is delicious! You can also have the Vet Koek plain, without any filling, which is how many people like it. Vet Koek is also one of the many ways which South African women earn a living, many of them sell Vet Koek from home or at street corners and taxi ranks to support their families, so when you buy the Vet Koek from the lady at the corner, remember you’re also helping someone build their home and support their family.
Snoek fish and chips
The Cape Snoek is one of the famous fish of South Africa, it is scientifically called ‘Thyrsites atun’. Snoek is a long thin silver fish which may look unreal because of its shiny skin. It is best served with a side of chips (fries). The fish is cleaned and seasoned in delicious South African flavours, dipped in a thick and creamy batter and deep fried until brown. It is then served with thick cut chips, which is also deep fried until it is slightly brown and soft. The snoek and chips are then seasoned again with just some salt and vinegar, however if you would like it to be a little spicy then some masala (chilli powder) can be added too. This is one meal which South Africans love when the weather is cold or during the rainy season. The best place to eat Snoek is in Cape Town, so be sure to head over to your nearest restaurant and order some ‘fish and chips’.
Boerewors is similar to a hot dog in a roll. Boerewors (pronounced: “Boo-re-vors”) is a traditional South African hot dog that is made from minced beef or pork, it is a type of sausage that is seasoned with coriander as well as many different spices and it also comes in many different flavors such as mild, lemon and herb as well as dynamite (very spicy). Boerewors is fried on low heat in shallow oil and then served in a hot dog roll, it can also be barbecued together with other meat products until it is slightly brown. The best way to eat it is from the braai (barbecue), hot and crispy. The word Boerewors comes from the South African words “Boer” (farmer) and “Wors” (meat), another word for it is “Boerie”. In fact we even have our very own Boerewors competition to try and find the best and delicious boerie in town.
Biltong is similar to Beef Jerky, whereas beef jerky is cooked on a rack, biltong is hung and air dried. If you ask any South African to describe biltong they will tell you “its dried meat”, which is basically what it is, but don’t be disappointed, it is actually more than just dried meat. Biltong comes in many different flavors some of which include peri-peri and spicy, yes South Africans love spicy foods. Biltong can also be made from chicken, fish, game meat but many people mostly use beef. The word is derived from the Dutch words “Bil (meat) and “tong” (strip) which basically means ‘meat strip’ or ‘beef strip’. Most South Africans enjoy eating their biltong while watching sports or when waiting in long lines. It is also eaten as a snack, so while you are enjoying the scenic view of S.A, don’t forget to take a packet of biltong with you!
Pap en Vleis
Pap en Vleis (pronounced “Pap an Fleis”) or if translated “maize meal and meat”, is a simple, easy and delicious meal. Many take-aways and food stalls across South Africa offer this delicious meal every day. The pap, or maize meal is prepared by boiling water and salt, adding some maize meal and just mixing it until its thick, many people do not add salt, but it’s your choice, it is then served with a nice well-cooked piece of meat/steak along with some gravy, it is also sometimes served with boerewors. For vegetarians the pap is served with baked beans in tomato sauce, which is actually my favorite, or sometimes vegetables. If you would like a good sauce with the pap you can ask for “Sheba”, which is a tomato and onion sauce drizzled on the pap. If you would like to compliment the chef you can say “e-monate” (pronounced e-moo-na-tea) which means “delicious”!
Ama Kip Kip (Skopas)
Colored popcorn, that’s what Ama Kip Kip (also called “Skopas”) is. It is a very famous Johannesburg snack which is found near the taxi ranks. Okay let me backtrack, Johannesburg is a famous city in South Africa, it used to be called “Egoli” which means ‘place of gold’ as it used to be a gold-mining town, however it is now known as “Jozi” or “Joburg” which is short for Johannesburg. Taxi ranks is basically another word for taxi stand or a place where taxi’s pick up and drop off their passengers. Ama Kip Kip is also the name of a fashion brand. Kip Kip’s are another snack which you can eat on the go, the bad thing is that each popcorn is unfortunately not a different flavor, something which I only learnt about after eating five different flavors at once. But it is definitely a great way to get into the South African vibes and something to munch on when you’re hungry.
This is one of my favorite and easiest desserts. After living in South Africa all my life I only discovered Malva Pudding when I was about 17. Malva Pudding is a sweet cake, best served hot, the cake is made with jam, butter/margarine, salt, vinegar, sugar and some cream. The cake is then put to bake and when removed from the oven, it is drizzled in a creamy sauce and then served with Ice cream or custard. Malva Pudding is another dish which is best eaten on a rainy day or in winter. But if you eat it as a dessert on any other day, you’re in for one sweet surprise!
Bunny Chow (Kota)
No it’s not made from a rabbit! Bunny chow (or “Kota” pronounced ‘Court-ta’) is actually made from bread. Now here’s a fulfilling meal for you. Bunny chow is made by taking a loaf of uncut bread, cutting it in half, removing the inside of the bread (almost like an operation) and replacing the inside with chicken or mutton curry or if you are a vegetarian, you can fill it with bean curry. It is then topped off with achar (pickle). This is one for those who love curry and great meal, literally. The bunny chow is then topped with the bread filling which was removed and it is eaten by just dipping the bread in the curry and achar and savoring the sour and spicy flavors. The curry and achar can also be substituted with chips (thick cut french fries), sausages and other meat products.
Braai also known in most countries as a “Barbecue”. Yes we have renamed it, in fact we even have our very own “Braai day”, on the 24th of September, which is also a public holiday called “Heritage day”, on this day South Africans celebrate all the different cultures and religions in the country, it’s also a great way for families to come together and spend time with one another. Braai Vleis is also another word for Braai, it just means “Barbecued meat” but with South African seasoning. We braai sausage, boerewors as well as chicken and corn. Anything and everything, it’s a party! Most people love having a braai during the weekends, so if you see a little smoke, lot of cars and happy people in someone’s driveway, just pop in to say hi to us, we would love to have you join our little get together.
Bobotie is very famous among the people of Cape Town. Bobotie is similar to meatloaf, just with a South African twist, it is spiced meat, made with chutneys, seasoning and topped with egg wash, put to bake and served warm. Bobotie is usually served with Yellow Rice (which is white rice with a pinch of turmeric, which gives it the yellow color) it can also be served with custard. There are also variations to Bobotie such as adding dried fruit or fish. The name actually originates from the Malay people, who are also from Cape Town. Fun fact: Cape Town is actually known as the “Mother City”. So don’t forget to get a taste of mom’s food when in the Cape.
If you enjoy any of these cuisines, don’t forget to thank the chef and tell them that the dish was “Lekker” (pronounced Lek-ker, the ‘R’ should be pronounced). I hope you enjoy your stay in my beautiful country. Don’t forget to try out our amazing dishes and share it (Get Paid To Share Your Photos!) and maybe add a twist of your own.
This is just a small list of dishes, we have many many more delicious items which you can try when visiting S.A. So be sure to try and taste them all!