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Delicious food in South Africa,
enjoy the tantalizing flavours of South African food

Enjoy the fascinating variety of delectable food in South Africa, from the deliciously diverse flavours of South Africa’s “rainbow cuisine” to culinary specialities from all over the world.


With its rainbow of cultures, the South African food scene offers a fascinating variety of delicious dishes.

It all comes together in a blend of tantalizing European cuisine, the sweet-sour tastes of the Malays and the spicy curries from India alongside the indigenous cooking of the African people.

Because of its complex diversity it is difficult to identify the typical south African kitchen or cuisine.

At the same time one can say that precisely that diversity together with the exotic are in fact the elementswhich are typical for the South African cuisine.

All in all a true reflection of the country's rainbow culture with something for everyone.

Use the menu below to find out more,...

WHAT TO EXPECT THE MALAY KITCHEN
BRIEF HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE THE PORTUGUESE KITCHEN
TRADITIONAL AFRICAN COOKING SENSATIONAL SEAFOOD
AFRIKANER CUISINE POTJIEKOS (POT FOOD)
SOUTH AFRICAN BRAAI (BARBECUE) GUIDE TO SOUTH AFRICAN FOOD
THE INDIAN KITCHEN



What to expect,...

Picnic on the rocks at Camps Bay Cape Town - Delicious food in South Africa, South African food guide
Picnic on the rocks at Camps Bay, Cape Town
copyright © South African tourism - Delicious food in South Africa, South African food guide

Eating and drinking in South Africa is a culinary experience not to be missed. The wide array of cuisine available is overwhelming. From the deliciously diverse flavours of South Africa’s indigenous andmulti-cultural rainbow cuisine to culinary specialities from all over the world.

One thing is certain, you get value for money. Whether you visit a five star restaurant or just a shebeen in a township, you will find that the food in South Africa costs much less then what it would abroad.

Our South African hotels are great places to try out our rainbow cuisine. For a great selection of hotels to stay with discount prices visit South Africa Hotels for more information.




Brief historical perspective,...

Zulu warrior cooking “potjie”, food like in the old days - Delicious food in South Africa, South African food guide
Zulu warrior cooking “potjie”, food like in the old days
copyright © South African tourism - Delicious food in South Africa, South African food guide

Man’s need for fresh food was once the main reason for the colonization of South Africa, when in 1652 the Cape was used as a refreshment station for passing VOC sailing ships on their arduous journey around the Cape of good Hope.

The early settlers in the Cape were producing a variety of European vegetables and fruit. Most of their cooking was done the Dutch way, in a pot over an open fire. That pot (“potjie” in Afrikaans) is still part of South Africa’s culinary tradition today.

Over the years other cultures like the Malay slaves, the French Huguenots, the Indians the British and many others from all over the world, have been introducing and adding their culinary preferences.




Traditional African cooking,...

Mashonzha, cooked Mopani worms in a peri-peri sauce, is an indigenous African delicacy - Delicious food in South Africa, South African food guide
Mashonzha, cooked Mopani worms in a peri-peri sauce, is an indigenous African delicacy
Delicious Food in South Africa, South African Food Guide

The authentic African kitchen is focused on maize meal porridge, meat and sauce. The sauce is made from a variety of savouries (shebu) and vegetables and flavoured with chilli. Maize meal porridge is the staple food of almost the whole of the African continent.

Umngqusho is said to be Mr. Nelson Mandela’s favourite dish. It is made with "stampmielies" (broken dried maize kernels), sugar beans, butter, onions, potatoes, chillis and lemons, which are allowed to simmer for a long time until all ingredients are tender.




Afrikaner cuisine,...

Food stall at the “Klein Karoo” arts festival in Oudtshoorn - Delicious food in South Africa, South African food guide
Food stall at the "Klein Karoo" arts festival in Oudtshoorn
Delicious food in South Africa, South African food guide

"Afrikaners" are mostly descendents from the original Dutch, French and German settlers, who founded the Cape colony in the 17th century. The cuisine that stands out as typical "Afrikaner", is to a large extend based on the Dutch settlers cuisine, with contributions of the French and German settlers. Add to that a large portion of Malay cooking and temper it all by years of migrating on the Great Trek.

And so we inherited today’s fabulous legacy of "Potjiekos" (potfood), "Braais" (barbecues), "biltong" (spicy dried meat) and "Boerewors" (farmers sausage). Hunting was the order of the day on the Great Trek, to keep the cooking pot filled with meat. Today amongst the "Afrikaners" hunting is still regarded as a must to provide the venison for their delicious game dishes.




south african braai (barbecue),...

The South African “braai” (barbecue) is a way of life and a culinary experience unequalled in the world - Delicious food in South Africa, South African food guide
The South African “braai” (barbecue) is a way of life and a culinary experience unequalled in the world
Delicious food in South Africa - South African food guide

Then there is of course our south African barbecue or "braai" as we call it. In south Africa it’s an integral part of our rainbow culture a common element in its cultural diversity, a way of life almost like a national sport. A must for everybody, young or old, poor or wealthy, white or black.

People barbecue weekly, sometimes daily at their homes in their gardens, on campings when on holiday, or any suitable spot in the great outdoors. They “braai” on anything, from state of the art barbecue units to a piece of mesh wire on a few bricks or stones.

The taste and smell of marinated steaks, seasoned pork and lamb chops, spicy spare ribs and kebabs served with “mielie pap” (maize meal porridge), sauce, mushrooms, herbed bread and delicious salads at a South African barbecue, is a culinary experience unequalled in the world.




The Indian kitchen,...

The bunny chow, a hollowed out half loaf of bread filled with curry, a typical Indian-South African dish - Delicious food in South Africa, South African food guide
The bunny chow, a hollowed out half loaf of bread filled with curry, a typical Indian-South African dish
Delicious food in South Africa, South African food guide

During British rule in South Africa in the 1900’s, labourers were brought out from India to South Africa to work in the sugarcane fields of KwaZulu-Natal. Sticking to their traditions, they took much trouble to preserve their culinary heritage. Indian cookery grew very popular in South Africa over the decades that followed.

Today we reap the fruits with a large variety of curries, atjars, samoosas, biryani and Tandoori dishes, to name but a few. A delight to the South African palate. Both coming from the Far East, there are some similarities between Malay and Indian cooking. Amongst others, the unleavened bread roti for instance is common to both and so are samoosas. The Malay briyani and the Indian biryani are both festival dishes, based on rice.




The Malay kitchen,...

Bobotie, a delicious Cape Malay dish with its origins in the 17th century - Delicious food in South Africa, South African food guide
Bobotie, a delicious Cape Malay dish with its origins in the 17th century
Delicious food in South Africa, South African food guide

The Dutch cooking customs in the early days of the Cape colony were changed forever with the arrival of the slaves from the Far East. Malay slaves began to arrive at the Cape towards the end of the 17th century. Among the man were skilled fishermen, and the women were expert cooks who included a multitude of spices in their dishes.

They brought aniseed, star fennel, turmeric, cardamom and ginger (both green and dried) amongst others. They brought a variety of massalas, mixtures of different spices used for different dishes, common to the Indonesian culinary culture and they brought saltpetre, the miracle ingredient for pickling.

The intermingling of the early Dutch and Malay cookery is known today as the Cape Dutch cuisine, a fragrant style of cooking which is unique to South Africa.




The Portuguese kitchen,...
Chilli peppers, the key element of the Portuguese contribution to the South African cuisine - Delicious food in South Africa, South African food guide
Chilli peppers, the key element of the Portuguese contribution to the South African cuisine
Delicious food in South Africa, South African food guide

Because of the proximity of former Portuguese colonies Mozambique and Angola to South Africa, Portuguese cuisine made considerable impact in the South African kitchen, predominantly through the use of hot and spicy chilli-based “peri-peri” seasoning, next to garlic, onions, bay leaves, fresh coriander, paprika and red sweet peppers. They all go extremely well with “braais” (barbecues).

Grilled peri-peri chicken has become a national institution. Chouriço, prego rolls, chicken livers, giblets and seafood are prepared as only the Portuguese can. Portuguese South African cooking is particularly known for its mouth watering seafood dishes, such as prawns, calamari, cod, bacalhou, crab amongst others, prepared in a multitude of ways.




Sensational seafood,...

Spiny rock lobster called crayfish in South Africa, a sensational delicacy fresh from the sea - Delicious food in South Africa, South African food guide
Spiny rock lobster called crayfish in South Africa, a sensational delicacy fresh from the sea - food in South Africa
copyright © South African tourism - Delicious food in South Africa, South African food guide

From the Mozambique border in the East right around to the Namibian border in the west, South Africa's coastline is rich in seafood such as kingklip, snoek (sea-pike), red roman, hake, cod, sole and pilchards to name but a few. Other delicacies from the sea include "perlemoen" (abalone), oysters, mussels, calamari, shrimps and spiny rock lobster called crayfish in South Africa.

As with meat, the "braai" (barbecue) is a favourite way of cooking fish. The people at South Africa's west coast, known for their fondness of "snoek" and crayfish, are particularly adept at grilling seafood over an open fire. In coastal areas fresh line-fish (catch of the day) is always a good menu option if you are a fish lover.




"Potjiekos" (pot food),...

Cooking potjiekos (pot food)over an open fire, highly popular with all South Africa cultures - Delicious Food in South Africa, South African food guide
Cooking "potjiekos" (pot food) over an open fire, highly popular with all South Africa cultures
Delicious food in South Africa, South African food guide

Like the traditional "braai" (barbecue), "Potjiekos" (pot food) and Biltong are very much a shared taste between all South Africa’s cultures. Right through the country’s history, from the days of the Khoi and the San and the days of the southward Bantu migration to the days of the Great Trek and the Anglo / Boer wars, people were constantly on the move.

Next to grilling, they used to cook meat together with all kinds of vegetables, herbs and spices in one go in clay and later cast-iron pots over open fires. So has the three-legged cast iron pot become an indispensable item in virtually every household, in which to cook delicious meals called "Potjiekos" (pot-food).

Biltong, cured and dried meat, a favourite snack with all South Africans - Delicious food in South Africa, South African food guide
Biltong, cured and dried meat, a favourite snack with all South Africans
Delicious food in South Africa, South African food guide

The surplus meat was preserved by means of curing and drying. Today this cured and dried meat is known as Biltong, a famous and popular snack in South Africa, as popular as chips are in the rest of the world.








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