South African cuisine is a diverse and delicious fusion of different cultures. It is influenced by the traditional cooking methods and ingredients of indigenous people, Dutch and French settlers, and by waves of immigrants from Southeast Asia and India. As a result, South African cuisine is characterized by an abundance of vibrant flavors, aromas, and spices.
1. Biltong & droewors
Biltong and droewors are traditionally South African snacks made from thinly sliced air-dried meat and air-dried sausage, respectively. The meat is cured using a mixture of vinegar, salt, sugar, and spices such as coriander and pepper, and then hung to dry. The finished product is low in fat and high in protein. Nowadays, producers add flavorings and use various meats beyond beef and game, such as ostrich and wild boar.
Boerewors is a sausage made from beef mixed with pork or lamb and spices, traditionally served coiled and cooked on a braai.
3. Cape Malay curry
Cape Malay curry is a fragrant curry/stew made with a variety of aromatic spices, such as cinnamon, saffron, turmeric, and chili, combined with local produce. The dish was influenced by the spices and traditional cooking methods brought to Cape Town by Dutch and French settlers and their slaves from Indonesia, India, and Malaysia.
4. Malva pudding
Malva pudding is a sweet, sticky baked sponge pudding made with apricot jam and typically served with a hot cream sauce. This dessert is South Africa’s version of the British sticky toffee pudding.
5. Chakalaka & pap
Chakalaka and pap are mainstays on South African dinner tables. Chakalaka is made from vegetables, such as onions, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, and beans, and served cold. Pap is a starchy dish made from white corn maize, similar to American grits. They are typically served together with bread, salad, stews, and braaied (barbecued) meat.
6. Braai/Shisa nyama
Braai/Shisa nyama is an authentic South African eating experience, typically held in local communities over the weekend. Braais originated in Johannesburg townships, where butchers would barbecue their meat in front of their shops and sell it on the street. Today, the atmosphere is vibrant, and the meat is typically comprised of beef, chicken, pork, lamb, and vors (sausages).
7. Bunny chow
Bunny chow is a popular South African street food of Durban, made by stuffing spicy curry into hollowed-out loaves of bread. Originally created by the Indian community in Durban, the dish is now popular across South Africa.
8. Amarula Don Pedro
Amarula Don Pedro is a cocktail-dessert made with Amarula, a cream liqueur made from marula fruit and blended with ice cream. It is a popular drink in South African bars.
Bobotie is the national dish of South Africa, consisting of minced meat simmered with spices such as curry powder, herbs, and dried fruit, topped with a mixture of egg and milk, and baked until set.
Melktert is a South African comfort food, similar to the British custard tart or Portuguese pasteis de nata. It consists of a pastry case filled with milk, eggs, and sugar, thickened with flour, and dusted with cinnamon. It is typically served as a dessert and available in many bakeries.