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Traditional Food in South Africa

Ningthoujam Sandhyarani Nov 22, 2018
Looking for information on traditional food in South Africa? We highlight some delightful delicacies of South Africa which will interest you.
With so many different cultures and traditions in South Africa, there is no wonder that the traditional food of this country is of various types. In fact, it is considered a land for delicious dining, owing to the remarkable diversity in terms of cultures and many other aspects.
According to the cultural background, the cuisine for each of the race living in South Africa also varies. In general, different dishes are served in accordance with the particular festival and/or occasion.

South Africa: Main Food Ingredients

» Leafy vegetables, bulbs, fruits, nuts, and seafood remain the indispensable ingredients for South African recipes. Corn and meat are used in most of the traditional delicacies.
» It is believed that the corn crop was grown in many parts of South Africa since the ancient times, even before colonization happened in the region. Since then, corn has become a staple food of Africans.
» As for meat, those of goat, cattle, and sheep are the most preferred options.

» Important food crops include millet and sorghum, which are also utilized for making traditional beer.

South Africa: Traditional Food Dishes

» The most popular traditional food of South Africa is mielie pap (also spelled as mieliepap), a corn and meal porridge. It is enjoyed by all the races of Africa. Mostly served as the main course of the meal with meat, this cornmeal mix is also enjoyed as breakfast by some cultural groups.
As for serving it during breakfast, mielie pap is served with butter and cheese toppings.
» A favorite traditional dish of South Africa is the braai (meaning barbecue or roast). The traditional way of preparing this barbecued dish is by either grilling the meat over open fire or stewing it in a cast iron, three-legged cooking pot called potjie on hot coal.
Meat cooked by this method is usually served with cooked vegetables and you will find it in the African restaurant menu as well.
» Another traditional food in South Africa is the chakalaka, a relatively spicy dish made with mixed vegetables. Common ingredients used in the chakalaka recipe include oil, onion, garlic, tomato, chili pepper, green pepper, beans, and seasonings.
It can be served as a hot or cold dish with bread and mielie pap. This savory dish is a favorite of foreign tourists, especially those who crave spicy food.
» Another favorite dish is boerewors (singular), which is a spicy sausage dish made in a continuous spiral form. It is prepared by using coarsely minced meat (preferably of beef, pork, lamb, or combination) and a wide variety of spices that usually include coriander seeds, nutmeg, cloves, pepper, and allspice.
For this particular dish, the sausage is preserved in Worcestershire sauce, salt, and vinegar. A true boerewors contains 90 percent of real meat (of which 75 percent is beef and remaining is pork) and less than 30 percent of fat.
» Koeksisters and melktert are excellent traditional South African desserts. The former is more or less like a twisted donut made by deep frying dough in oil and then dipping it in an ice-cold, sugary syrup. It is served as a cold dessert. For making melktert, a pastry crust is baked and it is topped with filling.
» Though dishes made from mopane worm (also spelled as mopani worm) are a delicacy for the native people of South Africa, they are not so popular amongst the tourists. Mopani worm is highly nutritious and the dried form contains high amounts of protein (about 60 percent), fats (17 percent), and minerals (11 percent).
As a preparation step, the guts of the caterpillars are squeezed out and they are boiled with a little amount of water or fried in their own fat.
» Since mopane worms are collected in particular seasons, they are preserved for using throughout the year. People in the rural areas store them by drying and smoking them with flavorful ingredients, which they later consume raw as snacks.
Or the dried caterpillars are soaked in water and cooked with onions, tomatoes, and other vegetables. In order to improve the taste of dried mopane worms, they are often packaged with flavorful sauces. Commercially, these edible caterpillars are also canned and sold in packages.
» While speaking about the South African traditional food, it is incomplete without mentioning biltong. It is a type of cured meat prepared with ingredients like coriander, vinegar, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, onion, salt, and pepper.
For making biltong, the meat pieces are marinated in vinegar for a few hours, which are then flavored with spices. Sold in nearly all food shops, biltong is a favorite for meat lovers.
These were the traditional dishes of South Africa. Other includes chutney, mashonzha, potjiekos, bobotie, bunny chow, bredie, and skop. The traditional food of this country is in fact, an amalgamation of other cuisines, like the Italian, Chinese, Indian, Moroccan, and Portuguese. And any food dish that you ask for, you will certainly get in South Africa.