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South African cuisine

Updated on January 24, 2015

Proudly South African

There is a lot of South African dishes that is exclusively South African . Dishes like potjiekos ( traditional stew made in an iron pot over an open flame ), koeksisters ( twisted sweet pastries ) , melktert (milktart) , boerewors ( home made sausage ) , biltong( salted , dried meat ) and beskuit ( rusks ). These are South African dishes made by the earliest settlers in the country from after Jan van Riebeeck landed at the Cape to establish a trading post for the bypassing ships , so we also have a rich heritage in food and cooking as well . Today we are making these dishes very often and we are proud to call these dishes our own . It can be said that our food is rainbow food – for a rainbow nation .

Cultures and food

South Africa is a land with a lot of people with a variety of different and many cultures . In each culture is beliefs about what foods to eat , ways to prepare that food and even how to serve that food . This is seen in the every day life of the people as well in the celebration of their special days . In each of the regions of the land there is also their own specialities regarding food and cooking for example ; the western cape are known for snoek ( gamefish )and wine , while Kwa Zulu Natal is known for all things tropical . Religion also add to the diversity of the food and the cooking thereof . Some religions have restrictions of dietary uses and others have special feasts and special meals to be prepared on special ways on their holy days . Just some of the cultures in South Africa are Christians , Muslims , Jews and Hindus .



South African cuisine

South African cuisine can be described as cookery that emerged from different waves of colonialisation and immigration . From the time Jan van Riebeeck set foot on land in 1652 until today , there has been a variety of groups in South Africa , each contributed their own foods and cooking methods to the cuisine of the land . The first settlers in the land brought their own recipes and cooking methods and it is still used today . Thus we can see that many traditional South African recipes came from early Dutch , French , British and German immigrants . Early Portuguese travelers that set foot on land introduced their own food to the land where some of it is still used today , such as maize from which porridge are made from . With maize there is always food such as tomato and onion stew , or braaivleis – meat grilled on a barbeque . Chicken is a very popular food amongst Africans and cooked in different ways . South African cuisine also include traditional Indian and traditional Cape Malay foods . European cuisine also made a big impact on the South African cuisine .

The food

The pre-colonial diet consisted of cooked grains, fermented milk (somewhat like yogurt) and stewed or roasted meat . In a lot of ways , the food of South African families today can be traced back to the indigenous foods that their forebears use to eat a long time ago . South Africans today love their food and meat is and always was a large part of the South African eating habits . Chicken and beef is the most sought after meat but a lot of other meat is also cooked . Meat still is the centre and basis of South African meals . The vegetable is more than often some sort of pumpkin, varieties of which are indigenous to South Africa as well as the very popular rice and beans . South Africa can be said to have more than enough restaurants and take away outlets . The South African cuisine restaurants where you can eat traditional South African food , can be found in Cape Town , Pretoria , Durban , etc. almost in very province . While there are some restaurants that specialise in traditional South African dishes , there is also a lot that cater for other cuisines such as Chinese and Japanese .

Typical South African foods

Beskuit , rusks, a rectangular, hard , dry biscuit

Biltong , a salty dried meat often from beef , different types of Antelope or other venison

Boerewors , a sausage that is traditionally barbecued

Chakalaka , a spicy South African vegetable relish

Frikkadelle , meatballs

Ingelegde vis , pickled fish

Koeksisters twisted sweet pastries , deep fried

Melktert (milk tart) , a milk based tart

Mielie-meal , cooked into pap or phutu

Pampoenkoekies , pumpkin fritters

Potbrood , bread baked on coals in cast-iron pots

Potjiekos , a traditional Afrikaans stew over coals in cast-iron pots

Skilpadjies , lamb's liver wrapped in netvet

Sosatie , kebab , marinated meat on a skewer

Tomato bredie , tomato stew with lamb

Vetkoek , deep fried dough balls

Walkie Talkies , grilled or deep-fried chicken heads and feet

Waterblommetjie bredie , stewed flowers of the Cape Pondweed with meat




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