14 Authentic South African Food That You Must Try

South African cuisine reflects the colonial past and a diverse mix of influences and traditions in South African food.

Today, South African food is a perfect blend of European-style dishes infused with Eastern spices and flavors, reflecting its rich historical connections.

You must try these 14 Authentic South African Dishes whiel your South Africa Tour.

 

1. DROEWORS (BILTONG)

It is a dried sausage combined with seasoned minced beef, game meat, or other meats with vinegar and spices. The mixture gets stuffed into delicate animal intestine casings and left to air dry for a few days to a few weeks. The resulting droëwors have a chewy, slightly crumbly texture and a rich, savory flavor infused with spices. Droëwors is a traditional South African snack, similar to biltong but has some differences.

 

2. CAPE MALAY CURRY

Cape Malay curry is a popular and flavorful South African food, with its roots in the Cape Malay community. It combines aromatic spices and ingredients influenced by Indonesian and Malaysian heritage. Coriander, cumin, turmeric, and cloves are a few of the spices that give curry its mild and fragrant flavor. It often includes chicken, lamb, beef, or fish marinated in the spice mix to enhance taste. It is served with basmati rice or roti.

 

3. BOEREWORS

Boerewors have a distinctive texture since it is created from a combination of beef, pig, and occasionally lamb. Its particular flavor is a reflection of the multiple culinary traditions of South Africa and originates from spices including coriander, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice. The sausages are carefully stuffed into casings and often cooked on a barbecue grill (braai) until beautifully browned. Boerewors is enjoyed during social gatherings, family braais, and celebrations as a snack, a main course, or in "boerewors rolls."

 

4. CHAKALAKA

Chakalaka is a spicy and flavorful South African vegetable relish served in African cuisine. It's a popular side dish in south african food. Although the ingredients might vary, they often include vegetables such as onions, tomatoes, carrots, bell peppers, and cabbage as well as chili peppers for heat. Cooked beans, such as baked beans or kidney beans, add nutrition and texture prepared with spices like cumin, paprika, and curry powder, chakalaka is simmered until the flavors meld. It pairs well with grilled meats, rice, or bread.

 

5. PAP

Pap is a versatile and filling South African staple, enjoyed across different communities as part of African food. It is made from maize meal and water. Its texture is similar to grits or polenta and can be served as a side dish, cereal, or the main course. Stiff pap has a firm texture and accompanies stews, meats, or vegetables, while slap pap is softer and served as a breakfast dish. Pap is commonly served with relishes, stews, or grilled meats like boerewors.

 

6. BRAAI INSPIRED T-BONE STEAK

A T-bone steak with braai is influenced by the traditional grill known as a "braai." The tenderloin and striploin portions of the T-bone steak make it perfect for grilling and can be marinated with herbs, sauces, and seasonings to make it more flavorful and tender. It is cooked over hot coals during the braai the steak gains a smoky and charred taste, cooked to various levels of doneness. It is served with accompaniments like chakalaka, pap, and garlic bread.

 

7. BUNNY CHOW

Bunny Chow is a popular South African street food originating from Durban's Indian community. This flavorful dish features a hollowed-out loaf of white bread filled with hot and aromatic curry, made with various options like chicken, lamb, beef, or vegetable curry. The name "Bunny Chow" is believed to come from "bani chow," meaning "bread food" in Indian dialects.

 

8. BOBOTIE

Bobotie is a traditional South African food. Spiced minced meat (either beef or lamb) is combined with onions, garlic, and a mixture of spices including curry powder, turmeric, cinnamon, and cloves to create a tasty baked casserole. Soaked bread gives it a unique texture, and eggs and milk create a creamy custard-like topping. Baked until golden, bobotie is served with yellow rice and accompanied by condiments like banana, coconut, and chutney for a delightful fusion of flavors.

 

9. SOUTH AFRICAN MILK TART (MELKTERT)

South African Milk Tart, known as "Melktert" in Afrikaans, is a beloved dessert with a custard-based filling in a sweet pastry crust. It is made from flour, sugar, milk, and eggs. The custard is poured into the pastry and sprinkled with cinnamon for a delightful aroma. Milk Tart evokes nostalgia and is enjoyed at family gatherings and special occasions. Variations with nutmeg, vanilla, or almond extract add unique touches to this classic dessert, making it a popular choice during tea times and celebrations.

 

10. MALVA PUDDING

Malva Pudding is a beloved South African dessert, cherished for its rich, moist, and sweet flavors. The batter has the texture of a sponge cake and is produced using flour, sugar, eggs, butter, and milk. The addition of apricot jam gives it a distinctive and sticky sweetness. A sweet, buttery sauce made of cream, butter, and sugar is then poured over the hot pudding to add additional moisture and taste after it has been baked till golden.

Served warm, Malva Pudding is often accompanied by vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, creating a delightful blend of hot and cold sensations.

 

11. POTJIEKOS

Potjiekos is a cherished South African food prepared in a special "potjie pot." This traditional stew combines meat, vegetables, and spices slow-cooked over an open flame, allowing flavors to meld into a rich and hearty taste. A delicious combination of meats and vegetables, such as beef, lamb, or chicken, comes forth.

 

12. VETKOEK

Vetkoek is a beloved South African food known for its crispy exterior and soft, doughy interior. It is made with easy dough and expertly deep-fried, offering it a delicious flavor and texture. Vetkoek can be enjoyed in various ways, with savory fillings like minced meat or cheese or as a sweet treat with syrup or honey.

 

13. KOEKSISTERS

Koeksisters are a beloved South African food known for their sweet and indulgent nature. These delicious pastries are formed of deep-fried dough that is then covered in a sticky glaze after being dipped in cold sugar syrup. The dough is kneaded and shaped into braided loops, creating their distinctive appearance. There are two main types: the spiced Cape Malay version and the plaited Afrikaner version.

 

14. MEALIE BREAD (SOUTH AFRICAN CORNBREAD)

Maize meal, flour, baking powder, salt, and occasionally sugar are combined with beaten eggs, buttermilk, and melted butter or oil to make the batter for Mealie Bread. It can also include grated cheese or corn kernels for added flavour. The smooth batter is placed into a buttered dish, baked until golden brown, and then baked until the crumb is moist and tender with a faint grain flavor. Mealie Bread complements savoury and sweet dishes, making it versatile and enjoyed at braais, stews, soups, and even as a breakfast treat.

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