South African Cuisine

Traditional South African Food

The South African area encompasses the Savannah, covering almost 50% of the African continent with tropical grasslands and year-round warm temperatures. It’s a region famous for mining and contains half of the world’s supply of diamonds.

Includes: Namibia / Botswana / South Africa / Eswatini / Lesotho / Angola / Malawi / Mozambique / Zambia / Zimbabwe

“Food brings people together on many different levels. It’s nourishment of the soul and body; it’s truly love.” – Giada De Laurentiis

South Africa was formed in 1652 by the Dutch, essentially as a place to stop for food on their way East. This cultural influence weighs heavily in the cuisine, as seen in essentials like rice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and the deep frying techniques popularized in the fried bread Vetkoek. The French later introduced cream and mutton, and the Germans brought Boerewors, a traditional sausage hugely popular in South African barbeques, called braais.

But perhaps the most famous culinary influence here comes from the Malay people. Brought from Java and Indonesia to Cape Town as slaves by the Dutch, they were regarded as excellent cooks. They introduced curry blends like Masala, with spices such as turmeric, cumin, coriander, cloves, cardamom, and cinnamon. The national dish of South Africa is a Malay casserole called Bobotie, made of curried minced meat with a custard egg topping.

The food here is sometimes called rainbow cuisine thanks to its multicultural influences. In addition to big gatherings featuring grilled meats, you’ll also find dishes like pap and vleis, a maize porridge with sausage and a thick tomato sauce. Biltong is a dried preserved meat that’s common. Soured milk and yogurt are also popular as drinks.

The beer culture is strong in South Africa, and house guests are treated to copious amounts of fermented home brew, often made by women. Beer quality was status-defining for a housewife in pre-colonial South Africa.

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When searching for “south african cuisine near me”, you’ll find Shef delivers South African food in the following locations:

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