8 Foods You Need to Try in South Africa

6/16/2014

One of my absolute favorite things about traveling is getting to try new foods! South African cuisine is often called "rainbow cuisine" since it comes from a variety of different cultures. Here are some of my favorite dishes and snacks that I've tried so far: 

Biltong

(source: Wikipedia)
Beef jerkey ain't got nothin' on biltong! Vegetarian friends this one is NOT for you.  Biltong is a cured, dried meat that is similar to jerky except soooo much better.  The main differences is that biltong cuts are usually thicker than jerky. Biltong uses vinegar, salt and spices to cure the meat which also gives it a distinct flavor while jerky is usually dried with just salt. Also jerky is sometimes smoked but biltong never is. 

Biltong is usually made from beef although it is also very common to see game being used.  It's an excellent snack since it's high in protein but low in fat (depending on the type you get). 

Bobotie

(source: masterscrawl.com)
I fell in love with bobotie after my boyfriend's mom served it for lunch one day.  It's basically a dish made with spiced mince meat baked with an egg topping and usually served with yellow rice. It usually incorporates some sort of dried fruit like raisins. 

Melktert
(source: wikipedia)

Melktart is a sweet pastry crust with a creamy filling made from milk, flour, sugar and eggs. The ratio of milk to egg is higher than in a traditional custard tart giving it a lighter texture and more milky flavor. It is also less sweet than regular custard. 
Boerwors

(source: greenfountainfarm.co.za)
Literally meaning "farmer sausage", boerwors is a type of sausage that is often cooked at braais (South African barbecues). In order to be classified as a true boerwors it must be made up of at least 90 percent meat, the other ten percent consisting of mainly spices. I was also very happy to learn that it may also have no more than thirty percent fat and cannot contain any meat that has been mechanically separated. 

Malva Pudding
(source: www.picknpay.co.za)

Malva pudding is a sweet pudding that originated with the Cape Dutch. It is made with apricot jam and has a spongy, caramelized texture and is usually served hot with ice cream or custard. 

Peppermint Crisp Tart
(source: www.picknpay.co.za)

Peppermint crisp tart is an incredibly rich, typical South African dessert. It is made using biscuits, whipped cream, caramel, and of course Peppermint Crisps (which is a sweet made of a crispy peppermint covered in chocolate). 

Vetkoek
(source: blogs.andbeyond.com)

Literally meaning "fat cake" is another South African pastry that has similarities to the donut.  Unlike a donut it is usually filled with cooked mince, but is also sometimes spread with syrup, honey or jam. 

Koeksister

(source:citysearchblog.yellowpages.co.za)
This is another food that is similar to the donut.  Koeksisters are braided pieces of fried dough which are dipped into cold sugar syrup. They are extremely sweet and extremely delicious. 

Hungry yet?! If you know South African food let me know what your favorites are because I want to try them all!!!!

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2 comments

  1. oh my goodness, I LOVED Koeksisters! I'm a vegetarian so I only tried a bite of biltong and boerwors when my roommates made them during a braai

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    1. Thanks so much for checking out my blog and for the follows :) I'm not a big meat eater myself, but unfortunately so much of the food culture in South Africa seems to revolve around meat.

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