Food is always a huge part of any adventure for me, you just cannot understand any culture till you eat their food. South Africa presents a lot in the way of culinary treats and even though I was in the country for work, one must eat and eat I did!
As my mother was partly South African, many of the dishes I encountered are not entirely new to me but they bring back wonderful memories with each bite. Isn't it wonderful how food can do that? Here are a few things that I ate on my last trip followed by a little list of things that I would recommend to people to look up or try while you are in the country:
First up was amagwinya or vetkoek. I grew up eating my granny's amagwinya but I had never had them stuffed like this. Amagwinya are basically fried bread made with fresh dough, very popular in the townships. Mine was stuffed with savoury mince, veg and potatoes. Very bad for the waistline but just so good to eat.
Next I tried some samp and beef stew. I like samp, I ate this as a child too. Samp are maize kernels that have been dried and then bashed about so the skin around the kernels falls off. It is then cooked and eaten with a variety of stews. I hear that samp is also eaten in parts of the American south.
Another dish that you should try in South Africa is pap-tart. Pap is the food of Africa. All of Sub-Saharan Africa eat this or a variation of it. Pap is sort of like the polenta of Africa made with a coarse maize flour rather than the finer milled corn variety of Italy. But pap-tart is very South African. It is made similarly to a lasagne in the way that it layers the chosen ingredients between sections of pap and is then topped with cheese and other yummy things. Pap-tarts usually accompanies a brai (BBQ).
South Africa has a lot of things to offer to the curious palate, aside from the dishes above I would also recommend trying at least once;
- Tomato or green bean bredie
I have written about a few of these dishes HERE. I have also purposely left out the usual things like biltong and boerewors, but if you are big on meat, you will love these things and the steaks are so very tasty too.