We’re all familiar with the famous flavors of Italian spices, hearty German food, French delicacies, and Chinese take-out, but what about South African cuisine? For many travelers to South Africa, who are unfamiliar with traditional South African cuisine, there is a concern about whether or not they will be able to enjoy the food on their trip to Africa.
In order to get a better idea for South African dishes, you will find a brief description of the influences on the evolution of South African cuisine below:
Dutch settlers brought . . .
• A variety of seeds from Europe to grow watermelon, cucumbers, pineapples, and potatoes.
• Traditional English and Dutch recipes for stews and dishes.
French settlers brought . . .
• Wine and facilitated vineyard growth throughout the region. Now, Cape Winelands, South Africa, is one of the greatest wine production regions in the world and is a must visit destination for wine lovers.
Malaysian slaves (traded by the Dutch East India Company) brought . . .
• Spices that added zest and life to traditional English and Dutch stews.
German settlers brought . . .
• German desserts including pastries and baked goods.
All of these countries, as well as influences from India and China, have shaped South African cuisine into what it is today.
Specific types of food and dishes you can find in South Africa today include:
• Produce: corn, squash, sweet potatoes, cabbage, fruits, and green beans.
• Seafood (a main dietary staple in South Africa): hake (commonly sold as fish and chips), rock lobster, mussels, and cod.
• Meat pies (inspired by the English and Dutch): The Boer Chicken Pie and Bobotie.
• Sausages: beef, pork, lamb, ostrich, and chicken.
• Desserts: rice pudding and melktert.
• Other dishes: rice, Frikkadels (hamburgers), and Bredies (stews).
One of the greatest misconceptions some visitors to the region may have about South Africa is that all accommodations offer South African dishes and meats that are unappetizing. This, in fact, is an inaccurate assumption, not only because many South African dishes have been inspired by Europeans, but also since many of the hotels, camps, and lodges throughout the region accommodate foreigners who are used to more westernized flavors and dishes and prefer these types of meals.
Although this concern is understandable as there are some dishes, meats, and ways of preparing meals in the country that many foreigners would find to be unappetizing, there are also a wealth of traditional dishes that incorporate Asian and European spices and flavors.
Some of the popular cuts of meat found in restaurants and accommodations throughout South Africa (that are traditional dietary staples throughout many regions of the world) include beef, lamb, duck, chicken, and fish. And for the more adventurous eater, there are delicious meats primarily served only in Africa, which include springbok, kudu, and crocodile.
With a variety of westernized dishes and traditional South African dishes, visitors to the region are guaranteed to find meals that fit their liking. Therefore, whether you’re a more adventurous eater or a conservative eater, you will find delicious eats.