10 UNIQUE LOCAL FOODS ON LUXURY SOUTH AFRICAN HUNTING SAFARI
South Africa is about the most diverse country you can find in the world. It’s melting pot of cultures is no more apparent than in the food South Africans love to eat. Settlers from all over Africa, Asia, and Europe contributed something unique to the food culture. Here, in no particular order, are 10 foods you have to try during your luxury South African hunting safari.
They always say, don’t judge food by how it looks. Biltong tastes far better than it looks and is hands down the most popular snack in South Africa. You’ll find it literally everywhere. Similar to jerky in the US, it looks like old leather, and sometimes the same texture, but it tastes incredible. Air-dried chunks of beef, game, or even fish are cured with salt, vinegar, and spices and served in thin slices. Don’t be surprised if you catch your PH pulling out a razor-sharp knife to slice off a few pieces right there in the bush.
2. Cape Malay Curry
Cape Malay curry is a slow-cooked beef curry that balances sweet like, cinnamon, ginger and apricots with savory garlic, chili and cumin in a fragrant dish that teases the senses. This style of curry was invented by Indonesian workers brought over by the Dutch in the early 1700s to the Cape. This curry evolved distinctly from Indian or other Asian influences with the addition of fruit, widely farmed in the Cape, and is not to be missed during your visit. Even non-curry lovers will love this dish.
3. Bunny Chow
Despite the name, rabbits aren’t an ingredient in Bunny Chow at all. This ingenious meal was invented by indentured migrant workers from India. Chicken, mutton and sugar bean curry are the most popular variations, served in a hollowed out half or quarter loaf of bread which makes a delicious gravy-soaked bowl. In Durban, the official home of the bunny chow, the best kitchens are pitted against each other and ranked yearly. For an authentic experience, don’t bother with fancy restaurants. This is a working-class meal and should be enjoyed as such. Visit a corner takeaway for the real deal. Just ask a local to point you in the right direction.
4. Chakalaka And Pap
A staple at every South African barbecue, chakalaka at its most basic, is a spicy condiment of sliced onions, bell peppers, tomato and most often baked beans. Other recipes include chopped green beans, cauliflower, grated carrot, shredded cabbage and chili. Served hot or cold, it accompanies pap (pup) a maize meal or barbecued meat.
Bobotie, or ‘bu-boo-tee’ is a confusing dish when you just hear about it. It’s a fragrant baked dish of minced beef, dried fruit like sultanas, with a milk and egg topping. Spices include curry powder, turmeric and bay leaves while apricot jam and chutney add sweetness. It’s widely considered the national dish just behind the classic South African barbecue, the braai.
Translated directly boerewors means farmer sausage a staple at every South African braai. Made from ground beef and pork for a little extra fat to prevent drying out over the smoking hot fire. Other ingredients include garlic, coriander and more. You can find some pretty interesting and experimental versions with game meat instead of beef and added spices.
This dish dates back to early Dutch settlers who brought round cast iron pots with them. The pot stood directly over hot coals on three stubby legs and was left to cook over long periods of time. The longer cooking tenderized tough meat to near melting point. Meat, potatoes and veggies were added as they became available. The potjie has evolved into a definite art as ingredients are layered according to cooking time to ensure flavors marry and ingredients are soft and juicy.
As mentioned before, a braai is the South African version of a barbecue. But it’s much more than just cooking over open fire. It’s considered a national past time. For many South Africans a braai is an occasion unto itself, and the meat on the braai is just the start. Snacks, appetizers, salads and desserts are all part of the meal. You’ll find many of the dishes on this list at your standard braai. So don’t pass on the opportunity when it comes along.
This South African favorite even has its own day dedicated to it. The light short crust pastry is filled with silky smooth vanilla custard, dusted with cinnamon, that has a subtle sweetness to it. Locals have invented variations on the classic adding flavors to the custard filling or pastry.
South Africans love their sweets. And a koeksister is as widely eaten as donuts are in the USA. A koeksister is braided doe deep fried and immediately dunked in a sugar, lemon juice and vanilla syrup.
You won’t have to go looking for any of these uniquely South African dishes when you choose a luxury South African hunting safari outfitter like Avula. When you book with Avula, we custom create menus to suit your dietary requirements and preferences. You’ll find all of these dishes and more, even game prepared how you like it.