These Are The South African Foods You Have To Try

By Kelsey Marie


If South Africa is on your travel wishlist, then you are in for a treat — literally.

South Africa is a melting pot of cultures and that is evident in their foods. Whether you’re a simple eater or one who craves spices and complexity, South African cuisine will be sure to please.

These are the must-try foods when in South Africa:


Courtesy of Southlands Sun

With a name that derives from being made of a quarter-loaf of bread, the Kota is not for the light eater. The quarter-loaf of bread is hollowed out and then stuffed with ingredients such as polony (Bologna sausage), chips (fries), egg, cheese, Russian sausage and a variety of sauces.

This street food originated in the townships of Johannesburg and can be found at the Spaza shops (convenience stores usually run from homes in South Africa).

Kota’s are both cheap and delicious, making it a must-try when in South Africa.

Pap And Chakalaka

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These foods are commonly found at Braai’s (barbecues) and are eaten as a side dish.

Chakalaka is a vegetable relish consisting of carrots, onions, peppers, tomatoes, beans, and spices.

Much like the Kota, this dish originated in the townships of Johannesburg and is commonly paired with pap, a maize porridge.


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Made from strips of dried, spiced meat, this snack can be found at most supermarkets and garages (gas stations) in South Africa.

Biltong can be made from a variety of meats with beef being the most common.

Bunny Chow

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Originating from the Indian South Africans in Durban, this dish is made from a hollowed-out loaf of white bread and then filled with curry.

The perfect bunny chow has gravy from the curry overflowing the walls of the bread. Bunny chow is commonly made with chicken, lamb or vegetable curry and is eaten with your fingers.


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Commonly known as the official dish, this hearty South African food is made from curried mince meat and topped with custard then baked until browned.

Bobotie is sometimes made with the addition of raisins or apples and served with yellow rice.

This is definitely one of those meals you loosen your belt for.

Braai Meat

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Braai means to barbecue and boy, do South Africans know how to braai!

Meats like boerewors (South African sausage), marinated chicken, steaks, lamb chops, and kebabs are thrown onto the grill and cooked over an open flame.

Men commonly gather around to cook the braii meat while the women prepare the pap, chakalaka, vegetables, and desserts.


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These balls of fried dough or ‘fatcakes’ are filled with either spiced minced meat, cheese, polony (Bologna sausage) or jam.

It is made with a yeast dough and resembles a donut, without the holes.

Which South African foods will you be trying?

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Kelsey Marie

Kelsey-Marie is an NYC girl who currently lives in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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