We’re not just about wine here at Wine Life Today and since we’ve featured a few articles about South African wines recently, including our piece on the wineyards of Stellenbosch, we’ve decided to delve a little into South African cuisine. South African food is heavily influenced by a range of diverse cultures and you’ll find notes of Portuguese, Dutch, French, Indian and Moroccan cuisine in foods you discover across the country.
Deviating back to wine for a second – South Africa is perhaps best known for its red wines – Merlot, Bordeaux and Cabernet Sauvignon and there are plenty of great meats to match with these. National game such as kudu, impala and springbok are commonly found on restaurant menus alongside more familiar meets like beef, though you’ll also find the likes of crocodile steaks and fried caterpillars in some parts. These are a genuine part of the South African diet and not just eaten for novelty. These latter, lighter meats tend to work better with a nice South African Chardonnay, as will much of the fresh seafood you will come across in the region.
If you fancy sinking your teeth into South Africa’s famous salty snack, biltong, make sure you have a slightly sweet red wine to wash it down with, or even better – a beer – which is another beverage that is done well in the region.
When it comes to eating a good meal, there are some exquisite restaurants in South Africa. Last year, two big name eateries made it into the top 100 restaurants in the world, so you won’t go short of fine dining options. The Test Kitchen in Cape Town came in at number 74 and The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Francais charted at an impressive number 57. Dining here isn’t cheap though, take a sneaky peek at the menus online and use an up to date online currency converter like this one from Travelex to work out how much you’ll get for your money.
However, some of the best South African foods can be found on the street, in small cafes or at a braai (barbecue). Braais are popular in summer and winter and here you’ll find foods like boerewors – sausage, game steaks and perhaps even stick bread; as the name suggests, is prepared by baking dough on a stick over the fire.
Those seeking out comfort foods should ask for babotie – a minced meat dish topped with a savoury custard or pap – a traditional porridge. For comfort eating on the move there’s the bunny chow – a hollowed out loaf of Indian origin, which comes packed with a savoury or sweet filling. Individuals with a sweet tooth are in for a real treat when they visit South Africa thanks to the many rich desserts available including – koeksister a sweet fritter, malva pudding a syrupy sponge and Melktart, which as the name suggests is a type of custard tart. Whatever your choice of dessert – don’t forget to wash it down with a light, sweet glass of wine.