South Africa has been known for it’s Rainbow Nation which is diverse with many cultures & traditions.
Local cuisine in South Africa varies with a wide range of the best tasting recipes. Recipes have been past down to generations & have also been modified for the better.
The Zulu cuisine nation represented in South Africa is large. They have a long history & their culture is centered on traditions & rituals which have grown stronger through time & generations.
The traditional Zulu cuisine for the Zulu nation play a big role in their culture. They are known to slaughter animals during major life events. These major life events include burials (funerals), coming of age, weddings, etc. The slaughtering is also accompanied with Zulu beer & allows for socializing & feasting with loved ones. The Zulu’s originally relied on their land for sustenance & nutrition. Grain & vegetables that they farmed was made up of their diet along with the meat of any cattle that they owned.
The staple food of today for the Zulu people still remain which include maize starches & sorghum. These are eaten as soft/stiff porridge’s or in liquid form as beer. Utywala is what the alcoholic adaptation of this beer is known as & Amahewu is the non-alcoholic adaptation. Isibhede is the porridge in it’s fermented state. Amazi is also another local cuisine, it is a curdled milk drink. Beef is also a part of their menu as they are lovers of meat dishes. Their menu also consists of vegetables, but the most traditional one is known as Amandumbe (Yam).
The most commonly found culture in South Africa is the Xhosa & Xhosa cuisine was introduced by them.
The Xhosa cuisine traditional meals comprise of samp & grains, vegetables, mieliepap (maize meal) & red & white meat. The dish Umngqusho is prepared by cooking sugar beans & little animal fat or bones just for the meaty flavor, this meal is accompanied with mieliepap (maize meal) or can be eaten as is. Another favorite meal enjoyed by the Xhosa is known as Umvubo which is dry pap that is mixed with sour milk (maas).
Vegetables that include leafy green vegetables like beetroot & spinach as well as pumpkin, potatoes, corn & cabbages have also been part of the traditional Xhosa menu.
Venda Cuisine is part of the Venda people in South Africa. One of the last African groups to migrate to the south of the Limpopo River were the Venda (VhaVenda) people.
The Venda cuisine began when the Venda people fed off livestock that they owned along with the farmed goods that their land had provided. They moved on from their land once it had given off itself. They profoundly relied on their agriculture which became the basis of their traditional Venda cuisine.
Maize is considered to be their main ingredient. The Venda tribe enjoy eating the maize porridge with a type of stew which include meat & spinach which is a local cuisine.
Mopane worms are a delicacy of the Venda tribe. The worms are nutritious, filled with flavor & can be eaten dried or cooked.
Many trees can be found in South Africa, but the most common ones which are situated in the Limpopo region are the Marula & Baobab trees. These fruits are also found on the menu of the Venda people & milk dishes are infused with the flesh of the Baobab to give them the distinct Venda flavor.
The Marula fruit is known to have health benefits & are delicious as well. Intoxicating drinks can be produced once the fruit has been fermented.
Local Afrikaner cuisine can be taken back to the Dutch, French & German settlers, who founded the Cape colony in the 17th century. They are the ascendants of the Afrikaners in South Africa.
The Afrikaner cuisine is extremely diverse with influences from all over the world. Afrikaners also relied on what they had on their own land. They considered meat to have been a major part of their menu. One of the most common meat recipes include droëwors & biltong. Droëwors & biltong are both forms of dried & spiced meat which despite not being cooked, can last for a long period of time without going bad.
Braai (barbecue) is a traditional meal for the Afrikaners. It is meat being grilled over hot coal fires. Braais have spread across many cultures in South Africa & are enjoyed by all. Stiff porridge, which is known to Afrikaners as Stywepap, is often served with braai meat as a starch, usually with tomato & onion relish or a gravy.
Three-legged cast iron pots are used to create the ultimate stew in the Afrikaans culture, popularly known as Potjiekos.
Afrikaners also love their desserts & invented the popular Koeksusters & Melktart (Milk Tart).
Indian cuisine has an outburst of flavors ranging from mild to spicy. Spices are used extensively in Indian dishes which give them their distinctive flavor. Indian migrants were brought to South Africa as slaves in the 18th & 19th century.
The most popular Indian cuisine dishes in South Africa include Curries, Biryani, Samoosa’s, Bunny Chows & Chicken Tikka.
Bunny Chows were created by the Indian slaves as they did not have plates to eat their food. Indian slaves decided to make a deep hole in a loaf of bread & place their curries in them. This gave them the support to eat their meals with ease & hence the Bunny Chow was invented. This dish is by far the most popular Indian dish in South Africa.
Cape Malay Cuisine
Cape Malay cuisine is a combination of flavors between Cape Town & Malaysia. The term Malay indicates Muslim tradition & beliefs. These are characterized by a complexed list of ingredients with strong aromatic flavors.
Popular dishes of the Cape Malay cuisine include fish, stews, curries & roasts. These dishes get their aromatic flavor by using plenty of chillies, saffron, cinnamon, tamarind & many others. Cape Malay dishes also include atchar & chutneys.
South Africa has dishes of British origin which also makes up the local cuisine with many flavorful dishes.
English cuisine was introduced during the 19th & 20th century, when British settlers entered South Africa.
The best known local cuisine of the English dishes are Fish & Chips, Shepherds Pie, Roasts, Scones & English breakfasts.
South African Desserts
South African desserts have a unique taste which vary from different cultures, traditions & backgrounds.
Flavors & textures of South African desserts range from sweet, sour, bitter, spicy, rich, creamy, smooth, grainy, chewy flaky & crispy.
A few well-known desserts of South Africa are namely milk tart, soji, vermicelli, pineapple tart, peppermint tart, malva pudding, snowballs, Chelsea buns, sweet rice, kheer, mielie cake, Madeira cake & more.