Bobotie, South Africa's national dish. Credit: South African Tourism
Bobotie, South Africa's national dish. Credit: South African Tourism

Travel With Your Tastebuds: South Africa

Food is one of the things I love (and miss) most about travel. It’s the chance to seek out new and exotic dishes, try different ingredients and flavour combinations, and, hopefully, pick up a few skills to use in the kitchen back home. While we can’t do that right now, we can still travel with our tastebuds.

South African Tourism has recently partnered with South African born chef, and food editor of delicious magazine, Warren Mendes for a new campaign helping budding chefs (and happy amateur bakers like me) recreate classic South African recipes at home.

The six-part video series is like a culinary journey across South Africa, with Mendes revealing some of the country’s best loved dishes each week. First up is the iconic national dish bobotie. And I’m already dusting off the pots and pans to give it a try.   

More than just sharing pretty videos, South African Tourism encouraging viewers to recreate and share photos of their dishes on social media with the hashtag #EatSouthAfricaNow. If you nail it, you have the chance to win a tasty South African hamper filled with wines and other goodies. Just what you need for the extra time you’re spending at home…

Here is the full list of dishes to look forward to:

Week 1: Bobotie

Warren will delve into South Africa’s Malay culture with the first session focusing on Bobotie – pronounced ‘ba-boor-tea’. Known as the national dish of South Africa, this is a delicious mixture of curried meat and fruit with a creamy golden topping, not dissimilar to moussaka. Imported from Indonesia and adapted by the Cape Malay community, it’s easy to make at home as it utilises pantry staples such as curry powder and sultanas.

Week 2: Melktert

On week two, Warren will prepare something sweet, Melktert. Afrikaans for ‘milk tart’, it’s a delicate but decadent dessert with a flaky crust and topped with a generous dusting of cinnamon. It’s got some famous fans too, including British chef Jamie Oliver, who re-created the tart in 2014 and poured golden caramel over the top for extra crunch.

Week 3: Bunny Chow

This budget-friendly dish is comprised of curry in a hollowed-out bread loaf and is loved for its portability and rich and hearty flavours. Originating from a large Indian community in Durban, this is now one of South Africa’s, and Warren’s, go-to street foods.

Week 4: Koeksisters

These crisp donut plaits are a sweet South African delicacy. Fried and dipped in an aromatic syrup, it’s not hard to understand why Warren, and South Africans, love to indulge in this sweet treat.

Week 5: Chakalaka, Boerewors and Pap

Chakalaka is a refreshing tomato bean relish made with a dash of spicy Portuguese flair, served with boerewors sausages and ‘Pap’ which is typically made from cornmeal or maize. It’s a much-loved meal in South Africa and a firm favourite at a braai (or what Aussies refer to as a barbeque!)

Week 6: Malva Pudding

Malva pudding is perfect for preparing at home thanks to its simple ingredients of jam, flour, sugar, butter, eggs, milk and a surprise ingredient – vinegar. Warren will showcase this Nelson Mandela favourite (also loved by Oprah Winfrey), with its humble origins, in week six. The dish represents how to enjoy the simple things in life with its easy-to-find and affordable ingredients. Maggie Pepler – an entirely self-taught cook – brought the recipe to fame in the 1970’s and it’s been a firm favourite in the country ever since.

Visit South African Tourism’s YouTube channel now for more.

Written by
Chris Ashton

We're Chris Ashton and Simon Ceglinski, two Aussie travellers with a love of exploration and adventure, and the odd bit of luxury thrown in. We seek out street art, street food, and scuba diving wherever we go, and prefer the road less travelled over well-worn tourist paths.

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Written by Chris Ashton