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South Africa - Food and Drink

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Many people find South African cuisine to be delicious, diverse, and colorful. A well-prepared and sumptuous meal can be the best part of your trip to South Africa. Many restaurants in South Africa prepare foods from different parts of the country and the continent.

Getting a taste of delicious traditional African food should be on your to-do list when visiting South Africa. The menus in many restaurants in South Africa consist of traditional African dishes as well as western foods and snacks. South African dishes reflect the diverse cultural influences of different parts of the continent.

South Africa has its own type of barbecue known as the braai, which is a national favorite with many people in the country. Many picnic spots, campsites and self-catering resorts in South Africa have facilities for braai. In addition, the country has a steady supply of fresh fish and seafood thanks to the many fishes that abound in its long coastline. Visitors can enjoy eating authentic South African dishes on beachfront restaurants in a delightful coastal climate and Mediterranean-like ambiance.

South Africa also has a thriving wine industry, especially inland in the cape wine lands. The wines produced in this part of South Africa of very high standard. The country also boasts a cosmopolitan heritage, which is accommodated in its numerous culinary offerings. Cape Town has a fruity and sweet Cape Malay cuisine. There is also a strong Indian influence mixed into Durban’s delicious curries.


• Bobotjie – This is curried mince bake spiced up with egg and mostly covered with bits of raisins.
• Biltong – Biltong is dried meat made from venison, beef, or ostrich.
• Boerewors – This meal is made up of high quality beef and pork sausages with various spices, important for a braai.
• Amagwinya – This is a tasty doughnut that usually goes well with stews.
• Poitjiekos – Poitjiekos is a casserole cooked slowly on the fire in a cast iron pot.
• Pap – Pap is a maize porridge staple that normally accompanies braai meat.
• Umgqusho – This is a traditional African staple of dried maize kernels, also known as samp, and beans.
• Melkert – This is an Afrikaans desert made up of creamy filling and pastry.
• Rooibos – This is a red-colored and fragrant caffeine-free tea common in Western Cape.
• Malva Pudding – This food is similar to sticky toffee pudding. It is basically a sweet and gooey sponge desert indigenous to Cape Dutch.
• Umqombothi – This a traditional beer native to the Xhosa people. This drink is brewed from sorghum and maize.
• Pinotage – This is a red wine grape juice unique to South Africa.
• Koeksister – This a doughnut coated with syrup. The doughnut is sometimes coated with a sprinkling of coconut.

Other traditional/typical recipes

Most traditional foods are normally cooked in a three-legged pot or over open fires. Meat cooked using traditional methods is usually grilled and served with stew. Meat is normally served with potatoes, rice, or mieliepap (maize porridge). Vegetables are common features of any meal. The most popular vegetables include pumpkin, beetroot, cabbage, and carrots. Other popular dishes in South Africa include chakalaka, tripe, amadumbe, morogo, and boerewors roll.

Tripe is a delicious traditional food that is popular with many South Africans. It is considered a regional delicacy in the Cape and is usually served lightly curried with a few potatoes and fried onions. Morogo is a type of wild spinach that is usually mixed with tomato and butter or mixed into maize porridge.

Amadumbe is peanut and sweet potato mash. The meal is prepared by cooking sweet potatoes, then mashing them with butter and roasted peanuts covered with a sprinkle of honey.

The boerewors roll is a distinct South African cuisine that resembles the New York hotdog. Boerewors can be found in roadside stands where they are char-grilled over an open fire before being placed inside a bun and covered in tomato sauce and mustard.

Chakalaka is a tasty and spicy meal served with a main course and has green peppers, grated carrots, chilli, sliced onion, and vinegar. It has a unique and secret ingredient that distinguishes it from any other food.

Sweet delicacies such as the melktert and koeksister, Cape Malay dishes and biltong are other local favorite cuisines. Other popular dishes in rural South Africa include grilled chicken heads and feet, also known as walkie-talkies.

Bobotie is a South African dish indigenous to Cape Malay. It is not commonly found in any other country and is considered a South African specialty cuisine.



This is a popular South African beer native to the Xhosa people. It is a local favorite and has been featured in many songs. This beer is made from corn and has high levels of vitamin-B and lower alcohol content than conventional beer. It is a common feature in communal settings where it is shared by family and friends.


This is a brandy made from grapes. It packs a punch and is mostly consumed in the Western Cape. Wiltblits can be likened to American moonshine.


This is a sweeter alternative to witbilts. This alcoholic drink is made from peach, apricot, and other fruits. It is popular in the northern parts of South Africa.


This is sweet and creamy liquor that can be added to almost anything, including ice cream and coffee. You can also enjoy it on the rocks. As the name suggests, amarula is made from fruits of the marula tree, which is a favorite with monkeys and elephants who often become drunk after eating too much of the ripe fruits.


South Africa has gained an international reputation for its quality wines. Some of its most popular brands include jerepigo and pinotage.

Read more about this country

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