south african food

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michael mullan

Original poster
Apr 10, 2014
South Africa
  • Don’t call it a barbecue. The pillar of South African food (across all cultures) is the braai (the Afrikaans word for barbecue). Expect many, many meats, dry-rubbed (or sometimes basted) cooked to perfection over a charcoal grill. And we’re not talking hotdogs or hamburgers. This isn’t amateur hour over here.
  • THE MEAT IS AWESOME HERE. From steak to lamb to boerewors (sausage), you won’t find better meat than here. Sorry.
  • Multiple species, multiple meals. SA meals (especially those hosted by my family for guests!) aren’t defined by their quantity (abundance is a tradition in many families and cultures), but their variety. A good braai (or meal for that matter) will have at least two, most likely four or five, and sometimes up to six or seven different meats. They didn’t believe me until they saw it for themselves.
  • Portuguese food is very popular here — expect Peri Peri sauce, a spicy, vinegary concoction, particularly served with chicken & chicken livers. Certain chains, like Nando’s, specialize in this. You’ll also find prego rolls, which are peri peri chicken sandwiches and steak rolls.
  • The Seafood is also incredible here. Expect grilled calamari on almost every menu, as well as delicious queen, king, and tiger prawns. The popular fish here are Hake and Sole. I don’t even want to tell you about langoustines because you can’t get them in America. They’re prawn-lobster hybrids with incredibly sweet meat. Expect all your seafood to come grilled and relatively un-fussed around with, accompanied by lemon butter, garlic, and peri peri sauces on the side. The sushi is nothing to write home about, the most popular dish being fashion sandwiches — layered triangles of rice, seaweed, sashimi, avocado, and mayo. I’m stumped too.
  • Slaap Chips. Soggy, buttery, potato dream fries. Jose perfectly described them as a mix between fries and mashed potatoes. They are my favorite.
  • Curries and samosas (both the Indian and Cape Malay varieties) are also popular here, although they’re slightly different from what you’re used to. Samosas are flat triangles with thing, fried won-ton type skins and stuffed with spicy sweet minced beef, chicken, potatoes, or veggies. There are a number of sweet curries, like bobotie, which has a eggy top.
  • Dessert: The usual fare like chocolate cake and ice cream and cream caramel (flan), as well as Italian Kisses (bonbons), halva ice cream (I will kill for this stuff), malva pudding (sticky-sweet caramel cake), custard, and milk tart (a simple custard tart with a cinnamon sprinkled over it). There’s also usually a Don Pedro on the menu (whiskey milkshake). You can get them with Bailey’s (my favorite) and Kaluha too.
  • South Africa totally kills it with beverages. Green cream soda, red and white grape soda (Grapetiser), apple soda (Appletiser), passion fruit soda, and delicious concoctions like cola tonic and lemonade & passion fruit and lemonade, ginger beer, and tropical juices are standard here, in addition to your regular sodas. Popular beers are Black Label and Windhoek.
Hi there and thank you for sharing this delectable information!!!

Everything you describe just sounds incredible; and I was intrigued by your post in the "occupation" thread, in regards to the exotic animals you hunt! (I love exotic game meats and thus got hungry when reading your post).

In any event, I look forward to your threads and fantastic foods, and invite you to come join our "winos" group (up in the "Groups" section) if you like wine and such, as we have a good time!

Cheers!! - Leah
What exactly is the peri-peri you use? I see many different versions under the same name.

I've made a version where small dried hot peppers are cooked in oil, then add brandy (or whiskey) and let it age. Depending on which peppers are used, it can be fierce.
Hey Michael

All this food sounds delicious

Milk tart--sounds awful.  When I first got together with my wife and she invited me for dinner, she said we were having milk tart for desert.  Oh joy.  But being horney, I said great.  Well I'm here to tell you I've never eaten any desert that was better.   I love it.  Any time Miss Linda asks me what I want for desert, it is ALWAYS milk tart.  Try it and you'll never go back!!!!

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