On The Menu


South African cooking, like South Africanisms reflects the cultural diversity of the "rainbow nation." From traditional African food to food passed down from Indonesian and Malaysian slaves, South African food is a cacophony of tastes and textures. South African cooking has its roots in the many cultures that have visited the country over time. Therefore you will find the main dishes include a mixture of Eastern flavours, Western tastes and a healthy dose of bushveld ingredients.

Traditional African food is generally cooked over an open fire or in a three-legged pot, so meat tends to be served in either stewed or grilled form. Typical South African dishes include but not limited to;

mala mogodu

Mala Mogodu/ Tripe

Is a traditional treat favoured by most Africans. Mala Mogodu or Mogodu is a Southern African food. Mogodu is a derivative of tripe served as a stew with hot pap usually in winter. If washed well and cooked well, this is the best African meal by far.


Morogo/ Umfino

Is a type of wild or African spinach. It ranges from pumpkin leaves to other green leaves that are rich in vitamin A and C. Combined with butter-braised onions and tomato or mixed into maize porridge, it is a rural ingredient with mainstream appeal.



Is very “South African”. It is served as a sauce or as a relish and often as a cold salad with other greens. It consists of grated carrots, green peppers, sliced onion, vinegar, chilli and that secret ingredient that will distinguish it from anyone else’s. Founded in shebeens, chakalaka has made its way to 5 star game lodges and fine city hotels.

mala mogodu


What could be described as a staple among uniquely South African foods, made out of mielie-meal, a little bit like corn flour, pap can be used in a similar position as potatoes. As strong as an African, pap will make you strong male or female.



Similar in many respects to beef jerky, biltong is a tough, slightly salty meat that comes in small, snack-size pieces. It’ll have you craving more, very addictive stuff.


Sphatlho/ Kota

This is some kasi-vibe meal mostly liked for its fastness in preparation and deliciousness. It is made of a quarter bread, put inside some potato chips, archaar, polony, russian, vienna, cheese, egg, tomato, lettuce, cucumber and special garlic.



Another fairly quick yet ridiculously unhealthy meal is a vetkoek. The vetkoek is quite literally a piece of dough deep-fried in gallons of cooking oil. Again, we stuff this with pretty much anything, from a savory offering of mince to a sweet offering of syrup or jam. Either way, don’t expect this to fit too well with your 10-day muscle-building plan.


Curry (beef, chicken, lamb)

These are South Africa’s finest, loved by many and served well with rice or pap in the South African society. The meat is normally chopped into smaller pieces and boiled together with spices and soups. Great taste!



Is a type of sausage popular in South African food. The name came from the Afrikaans words boer "farmer" and wors "sausage". Boerewors is made out of at least 90% meat - always containing beef, as well as lamb or pork or a mixture of lamb and pork. The other 10% is made up of spices and other ingredients. Not more than 30% of the meat content may be fat. It is mostly served in a braai.



Come in two forms and are a sweet delicacy. Afrikaans koeksisters are twisted pastries, deep-fried and heavily sweetened. Koeksisters found on the Cape Flats are sweet and spicy, shaped like large eggs, and deep-fried. A koeksister derives from the Dutch word koekje, which translates to "cookie".



Made from the mopane worm. This meal is more popular with the people from the northern side of the country. While other people see this as a worm, some South Africans really enjoy it.


Walkie Talkies

Grilled or deep-fried chicken heads and feet, most popular in townships and sold by street vendors, sometimes in industrial areas with high concentrations of workers. Most South Africans eat it as a snack.



A heavily spiced stew incorporating meat (typical lamp) and vegetable. The most common variant of the bredie is the tomato bredie which is traditional South African lamb, vegetable and tomato stew that taste great especially in winter. Although it is cooked for a very long time, it is enjoyable once ready.



A hoof of a cow, pig or sheep. The hoof is boiled, and then spiced for taste. It started in settlements but now it has made a way to many 5 star restaurants.



Head of a cow, sheep or goat. The head is first scrubbed with a sharp instrument like a razor to remove skin and unwanted parts like ears and the nose are then cut out. The head is then boiled and allowed to simmer. A skop is highly favoured by African men; they just dish it into a big basin and eat in groups.

South African cuisine has over years developed to include cuisine from many other countries, we have among many others; Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Moroccan, French, Portuguese, Indian, Congolese, Brazilian, Greek and Korean restaurants.

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Travel2Africa Consultant