Five South African dishes you have to try
The best way to experience a culture is to have a taste of their traditional delicacies and what better way to eat it right than to visit to get that gastronomical experience. I have experienced so many cultures by eating their food. For example, Chinese dishes, Indian Dishes, Thai Dishes and more – it makes me so eager to visit! I am currently enjoying South Africa and doing my best to eat my way through it. On this trip, I have noticed that South Africa is a blend of cultures and this reflects in the food you find. However, you will still find traditional South African delicacies. I would love to take you on a culinary journey to South Africa; you can live vicariously through me.
I have dined at a few restaurants from Pretoria, to Johannesburg, to Durban and I have found these thinly sliced strips of meat on some of the menus. I even found them sold at the airports, packaged in air tight bags. It rained heavily one day on my trip and I found comfort in the bowl of Biltong mushroom soup at a fancy restaurant and it was delicious! Biltongs are strips of spicy, dried meat and are typically meat from game; ostrich, kudu etc. Biltongs remind me of Nigerian Kilichi, but Biltong’s are less hot and saltier.
I remember visiting Durban a couple months ago and I had a good filling of Bunny chow. It is typically described as the packed travelling lunch in KwaZulu-Natal. It is fresh out of the oven bread, hollowed out and filled with curry-it is delicious! We bought it from a vendor on the roadside who has a good reputation for making awesome Bunny Chow, and I gulped it down on the tour bus with a cold drink because it was such a hot day and we had no time to sit and dine; we were in a hurry to go to see the sights and sounds of Durban.
Pap en Sous
Whenever we would attend an event in South Africa and even outside South Africa, I was sure to see Pap en Sous (I call it Pap and Stew). I have a feeling that is like the Jollof Rice you must find at Nigerian events. If you are asking if there are any similarities between this Pap and Nigerian Pap we commonly have for breakfast, then yes. Pap is made from coarse ground maize, it is cooked with water and you either enjoy it in the more liquid form or dry, similar to Nigerian Agidi. Pap is typically paired with a tomato stew or one of my favourite South African culinary discoveries, Chakalaka.
A South African event or braai would be incomplete if the Chakalaka does not make an appearance. I was intrigued when I heard the name “Chakalaka” for the first time; it kept ringing in my ears. What could this be, I pondered? It sounded exciting and when I tasted it, it met my expectations. If there is one South African Dish that I have decided to add to my menu for my family, it is this Chakalaka. Chakalaka is a dish made typically of carrots, onions, tomatoes, baked beans, spices and more. I have tasted different versions of the Chakalaka, depending on what the cook wants to include, all versions are delicious I must add!
On my last trip to South Africa, I remember being told that I must try the Malva Pudding; if I didn’t then I did not get the complete South African experience. Why would I say “No” to comfort food? I was willing to explore! Malva Pudding is a sweet and sticky pudding with the consistency of cake, and it is often paired with hot custard or a cream sauce poured over it, it is one indulgent desert and very filling! I remember eating this on a cold night and it was like a warm cuddle. I went back for a second and third helping! Don’t judge me.
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