Indigenous SA Food
South Africa’s Indigenous Food
Author: Cape Town magazine
South Africans love their food and Cape Town its variety of restaurants – but where does such an eclectic mix of tastes come from?
We love mixing and mashing – one only has to take a stroll down Long Street to see the variety of foods that South Africans enjoy. From Italian to Mexican to Chinese, there’s nary a country that isn’t being represented gastronomically.
The same goes for home-cooking; we’ll try pretty much anything, and we’ll try especially hard to master other countries specialities.
Meat, meat and more meat
Beef for preference, but as long as it once ran away from spears and arrows, we aren’t too picky. You’ll be pushed to find any South African family who DON’T have meat as the main portion of any meal. This is a large part of why Braai’s (barbecues for the uneducated) are so popular, really an every weekend activity. And of course dried meat, or Biltong. (Beef Jerky as the Americans know it).
South Africa was colonised by several countries over the course of history, which resulted in a plethora of different cooking techniques, methods and spices.
As for indigenous or especially loved foods, here are some examples of more popular choices:
A salty dried meat – most popularly beef or kudu, but you can get ostrich or even rhino.
Malay in origin, Bobotie is like meatloaf with raisins and baked egg on top, and is often served with yellow rice, banana slices, and chutney.
A more often than not thicker sausage that is traditionally braaied.
A hollowed out half loaf of bread curry stuffed with curry, enjoyed for lunch or dinner.
A garnish or food accompaniment made of Indian/Malay origin, made of mixed onion, garlic, ginger, green pepper, carrots and cauliflower, spiced with chillies and curry
A sweet sauce made from fruit, usually poured on meat. Much like tomato sauce however, we put it on everything.
Afrikaans koeksisters are twisted pastries (plaited in fact), deep fried and heavily sweetened. Delicous, but OH so sugary.
A sweet spongy apricot pudding of Dutch origin.
A milk-based tart or dessert.
Often used in baking but predominantly cooked into pap.
A traditional Afrikaans stew, made with meat and vegetables and cooked over coals in cast-iron pots. Tremendously fun and easy to prepare.
Rectangular, (hopefully) hard and dry biscuits eaten with tea or coffee, like biscuits we dunk them in our warm beverages. You can make your own, or buy them in any store.
You might know them as kebabs – grilled, marinated meat on a skewer.
Made from white maize and sugar beans, a staple food for the Xhosa people.
Bokkoms are Harders (Mullet) that are salted and strung into bunches before being hung up to dry. Almost like fish biltong…
A regional Gamefish traditional to the Cape, and smoked (obviously).
Waterblommetjie (Water flower Stew)
Meat stewed with the flower of the Cape Pondweed
A style of Deli sandwich, very long rolls cut open lenthgwise and stuffed, normally with hot chips (French Fries) but a variety of fillings can be used.
By John Scharges
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