South Africa boasts a vibrant tapestry of cultures, and its cuisine reflects this beautifully. From sizzling township staples to rich stews simmered in cast iron pots, South African food is an explosion of flavours waiting to be explored.

    This list features 10 must-try South African dishes, offering a taste of the country’s diversity and guaranteed to tantalize your taste buds.

    10 Must-Try South African Dishes

    1. Braai: No South African culinary adventure is complete without a braai (pronounced “bry”).  This social barbecue tradition features an array of grilled meats – boerewors (sausage), steaks, chicken – alongside vegetables and pap (cornmeal porridge).

    Must-Try South African Dishes

    2. Potjiekos:  Meaning “small pot food” in Afrikaans, potjiekos is a hearty stew simmered to perfection in a cast iron pot over an open fire. The ingredients vary but typically include meat, vegetables, and spices.

    Must-Try South African Dishes

    3. Bunny Chow: This Durban invention is a hollowed-out loaf of bread filled with savory curry.  Bunny chows come in a variety of curries, from lamb to vegetarian options.

    Must-Try South African Dishes

    4. Pap: A staple food in South Africa, pap is a versatile cornmeal porridge. It can be enjoyed plain or dressed up with butter, milk, and sugar for breakfast, or served stiff (“stywe pap”) alongside stews or braaied meats.

    Must-Try South African Dishes

    5. Gatsby: This monster sandwich, originating from Cape Malay cuisine, is a flavor and texture explosion. Filled with fries, calamari, steak, and a variety of sauces, the Gatsby is a true feast for one (or perhaps two!).

    Must-Try South African Dishes

    6. Amagwinya/Vetkoek: These fluffy deep-fried dough fritters are a delicious and affordable South African treat. Enjoy them dusted with cinnamon sugar for a sweet snack, or savory with savory mince or stews.

    Must-Try South African Dishes

    7. Bobotie: This Cape Malay dish is a fragrant minced meat casserole with a creamy egg and milk topping. The rich blend of spices like turmeric and curry powder makes bobotie a true South African treasure.

    Must-Try South African Dishes

    8. Koeksister: These deep-fried pastries, soaked in syrup and dusted with coconut, are a delightful indulgence. Koeksisters are a classic South African dessert, perfect with a cup of tea.

    Must-Try South African Dishes

    9. Biltong:  This savory dried meat snack is a South African staple. Like beef jerky, biltong is air-dried and spiced, offering a protein-packed treat.

    Must-Try South African Dishes

    10. Umqombothi:  For a taste of South African tradition, try umqombothi, a fermented maize beer with a slightly sour taste. It’s commonly enjoyed at social gatherings and celebrations.

    Must-Try South African Dishes

    Here are some recommendations for places to try South African dishes in Johannesburg:

    Marble Restaurant in Rosebank is a sleek rooftop venue that highlights upmarket local provisions and offers a variety of South African dishes alongside craft cocktails and wine. They have a 4.7-star rating on Google Maps.

    Baskim Restaurant and Lounge (African Cuisine) in Yeoville offers a taste of African cuisine. While they may not specialize in exclusively South African dishes, you’re likely to find some South African staples on their menu. They have a 4.1-star rating on Google Maps.

    Related: Indulge in Classic South African Treats – Unhealthy but So Delicious!

    Conclusion:

    This list of 10 must-try South African dishes merely scratches the surface of the country’s remarkable cuisine. So, come hungry, embrace the spirit of “ubuntu” (humanity), and embark on a delicious exploration of South Africa’s culinary delights! 

    All pictures are sourced from Flickr.com

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