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South African Food Guide

Updated: Mar 12

South Africa has an interesting food culture, with influences from many different cultures across the world giving some interesting fusion of flavours. in this post we'll give an overview of some of the main dishes you can expect to find.


Boerewoers



These beef sausages are a staple of South African cuisine. Boerewors literally translates as farmers sausage.


It's primarily made from beef, flavoured with spices and plenty of coriander seeds and had a rich and distinctive flavour.


It typically comes in a ring a bit like a Cumberland sausage in the UK as pictured above.


It's normally eaten in a soft roll with caramelised onions, All-Gold ketchup, mustard or Mrs. Balls chutney and is a weekly staple and you would find it on any Braai.



Jaffles / Braaibroodjies



Jaffles are like a toastie filled with a mince and tomato sauce mix & cheese.


They go into a special tool, a jaffle iron, which squeezes the bread closed and seals the edges shut.


This then gets put onto a braai or fire, where the bread toasts evenly against the walls of the jaffle iron and gives it the distinctive lines/ridges.


Braaibroodjies are similar to a jaffle, but not cooked in the same iron, and are typically stuffed with sliced cheese, tomato, red onions & peach chutney.


These are just grilled over the braai simply until toasted & coloured nicely.


Biltong


Biltong

Biltong can be found all over Southern Africa, from specialist shops to general food stores and corner shops.


It's made by curing beef with coriander seeds and spice rubs, then hanging the meat up and allowing it to dry.



This reduction in water activity means that bacteria aren't able to grow and preserves the meat and stops it from spoiling.


The resulting meat is available in different flavours and varieties. Some people prefer it with fat, some like it totally lean.


You can order it sliced thinly, or as big chunks or just buy it as a whole piece.


Droewors


Droewors - South Africa Food Guide

Droewors is similar to Biltong but in a sausage format. The meat mixture is quite well seasoned with coriander seeds and a lot of beef and this is stuffed into thin natural casings.


Some of the best are made from Springbok, Kudu or Beef and they vary in size from thin to like a small salami.


Once these are dry, they have a nice snap when broken or bitten into.


Sosatie


Sosatie - South African Food Guide

Sosatie are basically meat skewers. They normally have some bacon perhaps chicken or pork and vegetables and have a slightly curried marinade.


It might have a little bit of turmeric and curry powder in the marinade which gives a bit of a fusion taste between the western kebab and the Indian influences from the large Indian population of South Africa.


Bobotie



Bobotie - South African Food Guide

Bobotie is made from another kind of mince mixture with a light spice.


This is laid out in a kind of flat baking tray and then it's covered with an egg mixture which is then baked with Indian bay leaves on the top for flavour and presentation.



Koeksisters


Koeksisters
Koeksisters

Koeksisters small little fried cakes. They typically twisted together giving them giving the name (sisters as in the two sisters being twisted together).


Once the fried they left to soak in a stock syrup and their best when they're a little bit crunchy yet a little bit soft and well soaked in the syrup.


Karoo Lamb


Karoo Lamb Shank
Karoo Lamb Shank


The Karoo is a dry, desert region in the centre of the country which is famous for it's production of lamb & ostrich meat.


The lamb is rich and sheepy, almost like mutton or hogget in the UK and the shanks can be found in simple local restaurants served as a simple braise with some mash, one of my absolute favourite things to eat.


Definitely worth stopping off if you're driving from Johannesburg to Cape Town as it's about half way and Beaufort West is a common place to stop over for the night where you'll be able to find it.




Bunny Chow & Durban Curry



Originally coming from Durban, the largest population of Indians outside of India, Bunny Chow is a fusion of curry served in a hollowed out white bread loaf which soaks up the sauce.


I loved the bone in Lamb version, with it's rich sauce & it's literally the perfect all in one meal.


Definitely can't miss it if you're ever in Durban/Kwazulu Natal (KZN) area.


Roosterbrood

Roosterbread  - South African Food Guide

These little breads can be bought almost anywhere in the market in simple grocery stores.


They are filled with different things, like garlic butter, cheese or biltong and sliced ready to quickly toast on a braai.


Potjiekos




Potjiekos ("Pot Food") can refer to many different types of dishes, but the common theme is the three legged pot they are cooked in, traditionally over an open fire or hanging from a tripod over the fire.



Introduced by Dutch settlers, the pot will keep food simmering with very little external heat, meaning lengthy braises are possible and rich, slow cooking cuts like mutton neck, lamb shank and oxtail can be used to give rich flavour to the sauces.


Conclusion to South African Food guide


If you're thinking about trying something different at an upcoming event or party, hiring a private chef from Yuzu Private Dining would be a great start.


With extensive experience in Michelin star restaurants, visiting the vineyards and wine regions, one of our experts will be able to guide into selecting a wine match for your South African food menu.

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