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10 Must-Try Traditional Dishes in South Africa

January 04, 2023
2023-01-04
As a country rich in different cultures, you can expect the food in South Africa to be just as diverse. With influences from various tribes, nationalities, and more, traditional South African cuisine already sounds heavenly. What more when you get to try a few of its most popular dishes? There's the Bredie, for example, which is a kind of stew that will knock your socks off. Koeksisters, on the other hand, are delectable treats you won't soon forget. And when talking about South African dishes, there's one word you ought to remember: Braai. These and more are part of why South Africa deserves the “Rainbow Nation” moniker.

10 Must-Try Traditional Dishes in South Africa


Braai

Although Braai isn't technically a dish, no talk of traditional South African cuisine is complete without mentioning it. So, what is a braai, exactly? Well, it's both a way of cooking and a social event that's pretty common in African countries. Think of it as the South African version of a backyard barbecue when it's the 4th of July in the US. Do note, however, that any meat cooked on a gas grill isn't considered braai. It has to be prepared as naturally as possible. There's also the practice of making a party over a braai, where everyone gets to indulge in such delicacies outdoors.
10 Must-Try Traditional Dishes in South Africa
Source: Wikimedia Commons


Braaibroodjie

Now that you know what a braai is, you'll better understand the other must-try South African dishes and delicacies on this list. Let's start with the delectable Braaibroodjie! This is a grilled sandwich that's also grilled during a braai. Take two slices of white bread and put in as many slices of cheese, tomatoes, and onion. Pile on the Chutney sauce and grill it until it has a nice roasted texture. After that, you slip in a fried egg and grill it some more until it's well-cooked.
10 Must-Try Traditional Dishes in South Africa
Source: Wikimedia Commons/ Dumbassman


Biltong

Now, let's head on over to the meats! First up is the Biltong, a traditional delicacy that consists of meat preserved with vinegar and potassium nitrate. It's sort of like beef jerky but with a more intense flavor. Though just as dry, one bite is enough to pack quite the punch. Even more so since South Africans tend to season their Biltong with all sorts of condiments and spices. And since it's easy to eat with your hands, it's become a favorite among travelers.
10 Must-Try Traditional Dishes in South Africa
Source: Wikimedia Commons


Boerewors

Up for some sausage? You haven't lived until you've tried South Africa's Boerewors! While Frankfurt has its Frankfurter Würstchen and New York its famous snack, the hotdog, this place offers up quite the hearty sausage too. Translated into 'farmer's sausage' in English, this is a roll of spiced-up beef (sometimes pork or lamb too) that will overwhelm you at first glance. After all, the roll can get pretty long. So much so that you probably can't finish a serving in one sitting!
10 Must-Try Traditional Dishes in South Africa
Source: Wikimedia Commons


Bobotie

Bobotie is a more humble and wholesome South African dish that consists of spiced minced meat baked with an egg-enthused topping. The result is a rich and flavorful delicacy that's perfect for comfort food on a rainy afternoon. Or as a fulfilling meal for a quiet dinner after a busy day. The warmth that comes with every bite will wrap you in such savory goodness, you'll feel as if you're being embraced by the food. And though it's a famous meat dish, vegetarians also get to enjoy it by replacing the meat with lentils.
10 Must-Try Traditional Dishes in South Africa
Source: Wikimedia Commons/ Olga Ernst


Bredie

Speaking of dishes that will warm you up, there's also the tomato Bredie, which is basically the staple South African stew. The Malays brought it to the “Rainbow Nation,” making it one of the main Asian influences in the country's cuisine. Though the tomato-enthused broth is enough to take your taste buds on quite a spin, the addition of chili, cinnamon, ginger, and oftentimes cardamom and beans too furthers the flavorful impact. Yet it also makes for a great dish to eat when you're feeling sick.
10 Must-Try Traditional Dishes in South Africa
Source: Wikimedia Commons/ Tibor Kelemen


Vetkoek

Let's return to the sandwiches for this next one. Ever heard of sloppy joes in the US? Well, South Africa has its own version of it and it's arguably a lot tastier. The Vetkoek is a sandwich that consists of two slices of fried dough with minced meat in between. Though if you want, you can replace minced meat with either beef, lamb, and any other braai you're craving. And yes, just like its American counterpart, Vetkoek is pretty popular among South African households. Bet it in a suburban neighborhood in Cape Town or a bustling area in Johannesburg, you'll find many people enjoying Vetkoek here!
10 Must-Try Traditional Dishes in South Africa
Source: Wikimedia Commons


Durban Bunny Chow

Remember that the Asian community in the “Rainbow Nation” is pretty big so it's no surprise that many of the country's traditional dishes have all sorts of Eastern influences. Another worth noting is Durban Bunny Chow, named after the coastal municipality where the dish originated. This consists of a big cube of white bread filled to the brim with flavorful curry. The latter provides all the savory and spicy richness you'd expect in curry while the bread helps lessen the intensity for your taste buds. Often served with julienne carrots, this is a dish worth having at least once!
10 Must-Try Traditional Dishes in South Africa
Source: Flickr.com/ amanderson2


Koeksisters

Now, it's time for desserts! And among the numerous South African sweets out there, the Koeksister has consistently remained a culinary staple. Koeksisters are sticky donuts made out of woven fried dough doused with sugary syrup. At first glance, you can't help but think it's some sort of Danish or Dutch pastry but its intense sweetness is South African all the way. And various regions even add their own spins on it, namely by including cinnamon, lemon, and more flavors into the recipe.
10 Must-Try Traditional Dishes in South Africa
Source: Wikimedia Commons/ KOREA.NET


Malva Pudding

Lastly, there's Malva Pudding. Sort of like the Christmas pudding often served as a holiday treat in the UK, this traditional dessert is a staple for special occasions too. Of course, that includes the feasts for the major holidays in South Africa as well. The recipe basically follows the same for any pudding out there. The only difference is that apricot jam is added to provide a fruitier flavor and richer texture. Baked until golden brown, it's often topped with custard, cream, or ice cream.
10 Must-Try Traditional Dishes in South Africa
Source: Flickr.com/ Thomas Hawk

It's safe to say that these must-try South African dishes will knock your socks off at first bite! Before you know it, you'll be craving them every time. They further prove that the 'Rainbow Nation' really has a lot of amazing things to offer.



#South African Dishes   # Traditional Cuisine   



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