Top 5 dishes to try in South Africa

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It can be hard to figure out what food you should eat while visiting South Africa, so we’ve put together a list of our favourite dishes to get you start! These 5 food options can be find in most restaurants across the country, and will give you an opportunity to sample some of the country’s most well-know dishes. After all, there’s nothing more South African than enjoying your dinner with friends and family! You can find these dishes at any of the best restaurants in Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban.

1) Bobotie

Bobotie is a traditional South African meat pie dish. It consists of minced meat baked with fruit, curry, and spices. The dish originated from Dutch settlers who arrived in South Africa. In some English-speaking countries, bobotie is also know as shepherd’s pie or cottage pie due to its resemblance to pies from those countries. Regardless of the name, it’s delicious and should be try if you’re planning on visiting South Africa. This may just become your new favourite dish!

2) Melktert

Melktert is a dessert popular throughout South Africa. It consists of milk, usually evaporat, which is mixe with flour and sometimes sugar. The mixture is stirre until it thickens, forming a dumpling-like consistency. Melktert is often eat for breakfast with raisins or fry fish rusks on top. You can also eat it as a dessert by adding fruits like stewed apples or bananas to your melktert. When you order melktert at a restaurant, you will receive one giant dumpling rather than several small ones—so be sure to share!

3) Pap

This traditional South African dish is prepar by placing meat, fish, or vegetables into a cast-iron pot over an open fire. First, you heat up coals in a separate container until they are red hot. The hot coals are then place into a large cast-iron pot with water and brought to a boil. Spices are add during cooking—think ginger, garlic, and chilies for flavor—and serve when do.

4) Potjiekos

Potjiekos is a traditional South African food dish that consists of meat, vegetables, and beans slow-cooked over a fire. It’s usually prepar outdoors using a three-legged cast-iron pot called a potjie, which sits atop an open fire. Soaking dried beans for 24 hours will help them cook through faster so you don’t have to be on guard as vigilantly.

When you’re ready to start cooking, make sure there are enough wood chips on your fire (usually provided by your campsite) and preheat your potjie pot with some butter or oil before putting it onto your fire; otherwise, food will stick. Put about one inch of water into your pot and let it simmer for about two hours, stirring occasionally. If you like spice, add green chili pepper when adding salt to taste. Serve with bread rolls and coleslaw for a complete meal. The best part: Some people say eating out of a cast-iron pot makes food taste better!

5) Bunny Chow

Ask any South African ex-pat for a South African food dish and they will probably suggest Bunny Chow. It is a traditional South African comfort food make from bread dough wrapped around curry, baked beans, rice, and whatever else you have lying around. Almost every country has its own version of a Bunny Chow – think shepher pie – except Bunny chow is made with naan or roti bread instead of mashed potatoes. The best place to find it would be at a braai (barbecue) party because Bunny chow is also a very popular takeaway food sold from small stands called chow houses that are found all over South Africa.


Regardless of whether you’re visiting South Africa for work or pleasure, there’s no better way to immerse yourself in a new culture than by trying its local food. While Cape Town is famous for its iconic bunny chow (an Indian-inspired curry that features hollowed-out bread as a serving vessel), several other mouth-watering South African dishes have been gaining traction around the world, particularly those native to Durban.

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