10 most famous
South African dishes

Food tips you can trust

 

Biltong

This jerky-type air-dried meat (usually beef) is savored nearly everywhere by nearly everyone. It was a life-sustaining mainstay of the Boers during their historic, northward Great Trek into Africa’s interior in the 1830s.

Grilled game

The animals are usually farm raised. The rest are legally hunted, or less likely, poached. Local favorites include ostrich, crocodile, and antelope (the eland and springbok are gourmet treasures). If you categorize the popular caterpillar-like mashonzha worm as game meat, then add this widely praised treat to the list. It can be grilled, stewed, whatever.

Sosaties

Marinated, cubed meat (usually lamb) is skewered and barbecued shish-kebab style.

Bobotie

It's like the British shepherd's pie, but the minced meat is curried - and the topping is frothy custard instead of mashed potatoes. It has a Cape Malay heritage.

Boerewors

Literally, farmer’s sausage. It's made with seasoned beef or pork.

Mealie

Name means maize (corn). Frequently served on-the-cob, or made into a beer. Mealie is also a widely used ingredient in bread or porridge – the basic diet of the poor South African.

Bredie

A heavily spiced stew incorporating meat (typically lamb) and vegetables. Tomato Bredie is the best-known version of this specialty, introduced by the Cape Malays.

Rock lobster

This is not a true lobster (it lacks claws), but it's quite tasty, especially when grilled.

Potjiekos

A traditional meat-and-vegetable stew of the Boers. It's slowly cooked in a three-legged cast-iron pot over coals.

Melktert

Translates "milk tart". It's a milk-egg-and-sugar dessert custard prepared in a round pastry shell.

Runners-up

They include:

Droewor  - air-dried sausage
Hoenerpastei - chicken pie
Ingelegde vis - pickled fish
Frikkadel  - meat patty or ball
Koeksister - braided cruller
Samosa - Indian savory pastry

Learn more
about South Africa

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South Africa pages

Food and wine
Top 10 South African foods
South African wine
South African cuisine history
More South African food tips

Travel wonders
Top 7 wonders of South Africa

Photo by Kwang Cho - CC BY 2.0

 

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