South Africa – The Rainbow Nation

AB Blog

24 September 2020

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Situated in Africa’s southern-most tip is one of the most popular Tourist destinations – South Africa. The country is characterized by amazing landscape of high and low mountains and plateaus, rolling grasslands called highveld, a largely diverse and infused culture and natural wildlife.

Home to well-known cities like Drakensberg, the mountainous kingdom of Lesotho, Krueger National Park and its incredible wildlife, Cape Town and its incredibly blue water and white sandy beaches and the arts and cultural hotspot – Johannesburg, and its small town Soweto – the heart & soul of the first-nations people and home to Leader of the liberated South Africa – Nelson Mandela.

A history of settlements and colonization has left a complex political and social environment. However, different people make up South Africa, each with their own language and history. This colourful mix of cultures gives South Africa its nickname “rainbow nation “. Home to Zulu and Kosha, the dominant and original inhabitants of the land, Afrikaans (Dutch/European descendants through colonizaton), Asia-Indian descendants (through migration) and a rich blend of other ethnicities who now call South Africa home.

South African cuisine reflects the diverse range of traditions embodied by the diversity of cultures and communities that inhabit the country.

The Staples

BREAKFAST

The South African breakfast pallet…

A quintessential South African breakfast is Pap, which is made from milled white maize pap is made from milled white maize. It a cornmeal porridge similar to grits made from maize which is known as mielies or mealies. Can be cooked runny, soft or stiff.

Can also be made in variations like mealie bread or corn bread, or beskuit—a crispy, sweet bread that is very similar to rusk. As usual, breakfast is not without a cup of coffee or tea!

Snacks & Patisseries

The Bakery

Sweets Pallet

South Africa is home to many sweet snacks & patisseries originating from Zulu, Afrikaans and Indian origins.

The top favourite sweets include…

  • Melktert (Milktart) – Creamy and sweet, consisting of a pastry crust filled with a combination of sugar, flour, eggs, and milk
  • Koeksister – fried braided dough strips dunked into a cold sugary syrup, the most popular doughnut.
  • Malva Pudding – of Cape Dutch origin, contains apricot jam, is saucy, and has a spongy texture with a caramel taste. Some add a cream-based sauce over the pudding making it sticky and soft yet cake-like.
  • Boeber, which is a traditional Cape Malay sweet, milk drink, made with vermicelli, sago, sugar, and flavoured with cardamom, stick cinnamon and rose water.

Other sweets popular in this part of the world include Pampoenkoekies – like Koeksister – are one of the most emblematic recipes in South African. They are traditional South African pumpkin fritters that are eaten either sweet with caramel or cinnamon sugar, or savory as an appetize. And Melkos (Milk Food) – also known as milk soup is a homemade pasta cooked in milk.

Savory Pallet

There are many savory snacks in South Africa include

  • Vetkoek an iconic local street food, deep-fried yeast buns that can be filled with cheese, curry, or fruit jams. It can be served as a small snack, for breakfast or lunch.
  • Biltong, similar to American Beef Jerky (Just not as sweet) is a dried, cured, and spiced meat – also top savoury snack in South Africa. More unconventional versions, like chicken biltong, Fish Bilton (also known as Bokkoms) are also available.
  • Bunny chow is also a popular local food. Also known as Kota, it is hallowed-out loaf of white bread filled with curry. Locals often instead of curry typically fill the bread with slap chips, a slice of polony/ cheese or other fillings.

MAIN MEALS

Traditional main dishes in South Africa are almost always grilled meat or ‘Braai”, from beef, mutton, goat chicken are usually the centrepiece served with maize meal – usually “Pap and Vleis” (Porridge and Meat).

Sunday lunch or a “Braai’ also consists of yellow savoury rice, white potato salad, creamed spinach and chakalaka (Vegetable relish)

Typical South African main meals include:

  • South Africans cook potjiekos (translated to pot food) in a circle cast-iron pot over a fire. Usually made using meat and vegetables, modern variations have also become popular. Making potjiekos has become a social way to cook for large groups.
  • Bobotie, a meatloaf with raisins and served with baked egg on top and yellow rice, sambal, coconut, banana and chutney – this is a dish of Malay descent.
  • Bokkoms – dried fish, also known as fish Biltong, served with pastas and soups or more.
  • Boerewors, (translated as “farmer’s sausage” – is a sausage made from beef minced, spiced with coriander, cloves and nutmeg – guaranteed to be served Braai.(Barbequed)
  • Biryani – of Indian origin, a spicy yellow rice
  • Dombolo flour bread usually made steamed in a pot.
  • Frikkadelle – meatballs.
  • Amanqina, feet of animals like Chicken, Cow, Pig, Lamb or Sheep – a delicacy in South Africa
  • Gesmoorde vis, salted cod or snoek with potatoes and tomatoes and sometimes served with apricot or moskonfyt (grape must) jam.
  • Isidudu which is a pumpkin pap.

Spices like Chakalaka a spicy South African vegetable relish and Chutney, or blatjang, a sweet sauce made from fruit that are usually poured on meat and served to accompany pap.

Shop from the South African bakery online or contact us on 0424 456 291 and orders@africanbites.com.au for any enquiries.