10 Traditional South African Foods

South Africa is known for its colourful cuisine and variety of flavours, with many restaurants specialising in traditional dishes so that you can get a taste of the culture during your stay. Much of the food is cooked over an open fire or potijie (three-legged pot). Meat is most commonly served in either grilled or stewed form as a result of the cooking methods.


Similar to a British shepherd’s pie only the minced meat is curried and the topping is a frothy, eggy custard rather than mashed potatoes. The dish originated from the Cape Malay community and is served best with rice, sliced banana or fruit chutneys.


A dried, salty meat similar to jerky, which is often made from beef but is available in a variety different types of Antelope meat or other venison.


These sausages are often made to resemble a snake but are in fact the product of minced beef and a unique South African blend of spices. It is most commonly served on a braai (barbecue).


A spiced stew of meat (usually lamb) and vegetables. A tomato version of the dish was introduced in the Cape Malays.

Bunny Chow

Considered as a fast food, all kinds of ingredients can be stuffed into half of a hollowed out loaf of bread. A common stuffing though is curry.


For the sweet tooth, this is literally a milk tart, similar to a traditional custard tart but with a lighter and fluffy texture, and often sprinkled with cinnamon.


An increasingly popular meat with a high level of protein and low cholesterol content, ostrich is usually grilled, stewed or filleted.


A staple served alongside many dishes, it is a polenta-like meal made from mielie-meal.


Cubed and marinated meat (usually lamb) is skewered and barbecued to form a kebab.


Another fast food, these deep-fried dough balls are normally stuffed with meat or served with snoek fish or jam.

And for a traditional South African drink try Umqombothi, a type of beer made from fermented corn maize, sorghum and water. The beer is low in alcohol content and served in a typical South African style from a communal drum.

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