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Food in South Africa

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South African cuisine has a wide variety of influences. There is the typical food of the African communities. There is the Dutch and English influence, spread by the Afrikaaners and English who inhabit the country. There is an Indian influence, especially around Durban. A Cape Malay influence is particularly noted around Cape Town. This makes South Africa a place of many different tastes and foods.

Some typical foods include:

  • Boerewors: a spicy sausage typically cooked over the braai or barbecue.
  • Pap: the staple in the black African communities. A corn porridge made from mealie-meal.
  • Braaivleis: meat roasted on the braai or barbecue. Typically done at family or friend get-togethers on the weekends.
  • Biltong: dried seasoned meat.
  • Bunny Chow: a specialty in Kwa-Zulu Natal. A half loaf of white bread filled with Indian curry such as chicken, lamb, or vegetarian.
  • Bobotie: a Cape Malay influenced spicy meatloaf.
  • Potjiekos: an Afrikaan meat stew
  • Amasi: a sour milk.
  • Samp and beans: a maize and sweet bean dish.

There are plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to go along with these meals. Vegetables such as pumpkin, cabbage, potato (especially a white sweet potato), and  morogo (a wild green) are commonly eaten. Fruits like mangoes and bananas are popular too.

Given its location, seafood is fresh and tasty, but only just recently becoming a staple in the cuisine.

There are many good restaurants though they tend to be a little expensive. Travelers will recognize many of the fast food chains such as KFC and McDonalds. Two national chains are worth mentioning. Steers makes good hamburgers. Nandos makes excellent peri-peri chicken.

The chain restaurant Nando's serves delicious peri-peri chicken

South African wine is famous worldwide. But beer is just as popular. The local beer is produced by SABMiller. Popular varieties include: Castle, Hansa and Black Label. Amarula cream is a sweet local liquor made from the Marula fruit.

South Africa Travel Guide
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Filed under: Food, South Africa

About the Author:

After traveling on her own for three or four years, Chaya met up with Wade Shepard, the editor of VagabondJourney.com. They were married in 2009, and continue to travel the world together with their young daughter. From time to time Chaya blogs about family travel and life on the road. has written 102 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

Chaya Shepard is currently in: Xiamen, China