Are you preparing for a journey to Limpopo, the northern region of South Africa? Make sure to include sampling traditional cuisine in your list of must-do experiences. Despite not being widely renowned for its food, Limpopo harbors several hidden culinary treasures that are truly worth savoring. Here are six traditional dishes you shouldn’t overlook.
1. Chicken Feet and Cow Hooves
In a village situated just outside Magoebaskloof, local legend David Letsoalo graciously welcomed us into his home for a traditional lunch prepared by his wife, Mary. Plates brimming with chicken feet, cow hooves, giblets, and tripe were served alongside delectable sides of samp, pap, peanuts, and beans. Although adjusting to the gelatinous texture of the meat might take some time, this culinary encounter is an unforgettable experience.
2. Mopani Worms
Mopani worms rank among South Africa’s most popular alternative snacks, especially for those residing in the far northeastern regions, serving as a significant protein source. The dried variation offers a palatable and crunchy yet substantial texture. Its salty tang provides a satisfying delight, particularly for those with a penchant for savory flavors.
3. Magege – Roasted Termites
In Limpopo, roasted termites are esteemed as a cherished delicacy. Harvesting termites traditionally involves extracting clusters of these voracious insects from the earth by using dried grass stems. The catch is then prepared either as a relish to accompany pap or roasted as a standalone snack. Roasted magege presents a crunchy and salty experience that, once you acclimate, becomes irresistibly moreish.
This traditional home-brewed beer, concocted from maize, maize malt, sorghum malt, yeast, and water, boasts a sour taste and a creamy consistency. It’s typically served in a clay pot, symbolizing hospitality as it circulates among guests. Though an acquired taste, indulging in umqombothi is a requisite for anyone seeking to deeply engage with local customs.
5. Ceasar’s Roadside Chicken
For the ultimate flame-grilled chicken in South Africa, a visit to Ceasar’s Roadside Chicken in Mbhokota, a village along an unnamed bumpy road, is a must. The freshly barbecued wings and thighs offer a flavorful reward for the palate after an eventful morning exploring the Ribola Art Route.
Given Limpopo’s reputation for wildlife, it’s no surprise that venison stands as a favored dish. While available in many restaurants, for an authentic experience, trying it at the Leshiba Wilderness Reserve is recommended. The kudu fillet boasts juiciness and rich flavors, complemented by the delectable side of mopane worms.