South Africa Traditional Food

The many tastes of South African cooking in Cape Town

South Africa traditional food is best known in Cape Town is often used equivalent with Cape Dutch style cooking.

As the traditional cooking in South Africa was influenced by the cooking styles of the slaves that were brought to the Cape mainly by the Dutch East India company who brought them from Malaysia and Java, the spices nutmeg, ginger, chili and allspice are dominant in this cuisine.

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What are the main ingredients in South Africa traditional food?

The South African cooking mainly consists of chicken, game, tomatoes, lemons and limes, corn (mealie) in form of breads and flour, beans as well as ginger, chili and spices.

What is typical South African food?

biltong: dried cured meat, mainly from beef and game

game: particularly springbok, kudu, impala, even warthog;)

ostrich: healthy red meat, popular due to low cholesterol but high protein content

boerewors: Farmer’s sausage, mainly pork with spices and herbs, especially famous from the Grabouw area, which lies approx. 100km west of Cape Town

sosaties: marinated meat grilled on skewers

bobotie: layered lamb stew with rice, bananas, raisins, coconut milk

currys: in all forms due to the Indian influence

samoosas: stuffed fried pastry parcels with meat and veggies or vegetarian

Mealie pap: cooked porridge made with sweetcorn flakes

Waterblommetjie bredie: soup or stew made with meat cooked with water flowers from the Cape Pondweed

melktert: milktart, a milk flavoured cake

malva pudding: sweet Apricot flavored sponge cake

koeksisters: syrupy sweet twisted donut strips, looking like girls braids

kingklip: white fish

abalone and oysters from the West Coast, but beware of seasonal availability here too

snoek: a regional game fish, often available also as snoek pate

Where can I taste South Africa traditional food?

There are many places offering the full “African experience”.

Here you will be served great African dishes, often varieties available from the whole continent.

Traditional music with drums or xylophone often accompanies the dining experience. They are good places to have delicious food to remember a delightful meal in a great atmosphere.

Here is a shortlist of our favorite restaurants for a taste of traditional South African food:

Gold: adjacent to the splendid Gold of Africa museum.

They have a little coffee shop at the museum too and convince with their very friendly service, surprisingly refreshing presentation of the dishes and the good quality of food.

Moyo: for that special open air experience in a huge tented camp with tassels. Wooly blankets are provided at the tables should the weather be not so clement in the winter days.

There are dance and drumming shows by the black dancers who also join you at the table and will sing that special song for you, like “the lion sleeps tonight” or typical Xhosa click songs. They do boot dances and are very entertaining.

The dining experience includes also traditional face-painting and explanations by the cooks about different African dishes. There is a huge buffet where everybody can find his favorite. The only trouble is that you are always tempted to eat more than you actually should. But there are the chaises to relax after the meals while sipping you coffee. Combine this with a day out at Spier Wine Estate in Stellenbosch and all the family will be happy.

Marimba: Sit back enjoy the vibe, as also locals stop by for drinks and snacks after work.

Located on the second floor of the Clock Tower it is a great place to have a nice night out at the waterfront. The music is often quite loud, so a decent conversation is not really possible.



Anything else? If you have some experiences with South Africa traditional food you want to share or if you want to suggest other good places where you get delicious South African food please contact me here.

Do you want to get more information on South African food, great restaurants and Cape Town activities, then subscribe to my Cape Town Insider Tips which I will give you in my FREE monthly ExpatCapeTown Newsletter.

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