Did you know? The “Rainbow Nation” not only applies South Africa’s people but also to its cuisine. For the adventurous diner, there are delicacies such as fried caterpillars and crocodile steaks. For the mildly adventurous, there is biltong, bobotie, bunny chow and boerewors.
With restaurants that range from Swiss to Vietnamese and everything in between, South Africa offers something for every palate. When visiting South Africa you will have an opportunity to taste exotic game as well. On many menus you will see selections of ostrich, kudu, impala and even warthog (sorry Pumbaa)!
Here are some of the traditional delicacies you are likely to encounter during your stay in South Africa.
A dried cured meat (most closely compared to beef jerky), usually made from beef but can often be sampled in wild game such as springbok and kudu. Air dried and seasoned with black pepper, coriander, vinegar and brown sugar, biltong is enjoyed many ways, on its own as a snack, ground down and added to breads and muffins or shaved on top of fresh salad. Many South Africans will also give it to infants to gnaw on while teething.
Many will argue that bobotie is the national dish of South Africa. While recipes vary widely, every variation consists of ground meat (usually beef or lamb), curry, ginger, dried fruit (raisins or sultanas) and it is always topped with egg custard and often garnished with chutney or banana. The flavors in this popular dish are attributed to the early settlers of South Africa. The first recorded recipe for bobotie appeared in a Dutch cookbook in 1609.
This delicious sausage is probably the most popular variety in South Africa. The name comes from the Afrikaans words boer (“farmer”) and wors (“sausage”) and is based on a traditional Dutch sausage called the verse worst. Made with a minimum of 90% ground meat (usually a mixture of beef, lamb and pork), this sausage is spiced with coriander, black pepper, nutmeg, cloves and allspice. No braai (Afrikaans for barbeque or grill), is complete without boerewors! On 16 June 2011, the Guiness World Record for braiing the longest boerewors in the world was broken in South Africa. It measured 514.5 m in length and weighed about 420 kg or 926 pounds. The boerewors was distributed freely to old-age homes as part of Youth Day which was celebrated on the day that it was prepared.