What are the typical things you look forward to when traveling to a foreign country?
Meeting new people, tasting new foods, visiting places you have only dreamed of until now, discovering the nation’s history and traditions? Your decision as to where to travel to will largely depend on – perhaps even subconsciously – your answer to the above question. For me, it is most definitely the traditions and history of the country, its cuisine, its shopping malls 🙂 the places I get to visit, i.e. museums, the possibility of doing things I love and have an interest in therefor my destination of choice would definitely be Europe. My husband on the other hand, loves to explore different cultures, a bit more of an adventurous personality – he would love to try different types of food – stuff that we don’t get to taste in South Africa. He therefore prefers the Asian countries as their culture and culinary style is so different to ours. He loves food, I love history….. you get the picture?
The saying goes – Your heart is where your home is…My heart is in South Africa which makes this my home. Proudly South African! I therefore, today, want to invite you into my heart and home as I introduce to you some of South Africa’s traditional tastes.
At this juncture I want to remind you that South Africa is a very diverse country with 11 – yes 11 official languages – each group with its own unique culture and traditions (although you do find the slight overlaps here and there) This blog however focuses on a taste of South Africa from my culture’s perspective, being a White “Boeremeisie”.
Should you ask any White Afrikaans (Dutch) speaking male in South Africa about his food heritage – he would most probably sum it up in four words : Rugby, biltong, braai & beer (with Black Label and Castle) being on the top of their lists. (and don’t forget Klippies and Coke aka Brandy and Coke)!
Should you however look at it more holistically you will realize it goes much deeper than that! We’ve got quite a few delicious traditional South African Cuisines that complement the above very well, and I would like to share with you 7 of MY all time favorites. I would also like to invite you to make sure you try these out during your next visit to South Africa. I promise you won’t be disappointed!!
- First up – True “boerekos”. What is “boerekos” you may ask. “Boerekos” is the White Afrikaans Speaking South African’s traditional food – which has its origins during the time that the “boere” still used to “trek” and was typically prepared from that which grows in your own garden and/or graze on your own farm yard. It normally consists of slow cooked meat, onion, potatoes, vegetables and rice – this was literally my staple food growing up. This would most likely be the kind of food that a farmer would have come home to at night during the olden days. In today’s day and age it is mostly the still traditional families that would cook “boerekos” due to the modernization of our lifestyle where everything needs to be prepared and served in the shortest possible time. Should you want to try this out during your next visit to South Africa, you are more likely to find this at a guest house in the smaller towns or specialized restaurants in the bigger cities, such as the Bistrot Boer Geoisie in Pretoria, or if visiting Cape Town, at the “Volkskombuis” in Stellenbosch.
- Home baked bread – my mom was one of a kind when it came to home baked bread! Oh how I would never ever forget coming home and as you open the front door you could already smell the divine smell of freshly baked bread lingering in the air, served with jam or marmite with the butter having melted into the warm bread together with…
- Fresh peculated coffee.
- “Boerebeskuit” (Rusks) – Boerebeskuit is made from a sweet dough. Traditionally this is the rusks that the “Boere” would have taken with them on Commando during the “Boer” wars of the 1800. They say once you have tasted this you would never want another rusk ever again!
- Bobotie – (top left) is a curried minced meat dish, normally accompanied by yellow rice or mashed potatoes. (This really is one of my top favorite foods) and I still make it to this day.
- Bean Soup – The traditional recipe is one that was brought over to South Africa during the end of the 17th century by the French Huguenots.
- And then – last but not least – Milk tart! This is my absolutely favorite and will always take me back to my childhood days. My mom was known as the milk tart queen in our district and no one could beat her to it! Even our dog wouldn’t just gulp it down – it would savor each and every moment eating this true delicacy!! No lie! Well, so I got married, and started trying out recipes of my own – and of cause milk tart (because I love it so much) was first on my list. Well, truth being told – I think I just happened to stumble across the right recipe and with a few adjustments of my own – boy of boy! What a delight! My husband reckons mine is better than my mom’s!! I wish I could invite you over to taste it! So, a few days back was my hubby’s birthday and I decided to make him one which then inspired me to write this post on our wonderful heritage.
Next time you visit South Africa make sure you give these dishes a try and why not make use of Travelstart, Africa’s biggest online travel site, through which you can make all your flight arrangements, car hire and hotel reservations – to and from South Africa as well as during your tour of our beautiful country.
Stay divalicious till we chat again.