South African dishes you have to try on your travels

South Africa may be a land of spectacular scenery and astonishing wildlife- but it’s also the land of delectable food! From the street food of the townships to the ubiquitous braai, South Africa wouldn’t have her unique flavour without her singular food. Today, Go Touch Down Travel and Tours walks you through the very best of our proudly South African traditional dishes- you simply have to try them!


Vetkoek, literally ‘fat cake’, is a flat bread stuffed with all sorts of fillings, both sweet and savoury. Apricot jam, cheese, spicy mince and polony all make an appearance. It’s great on the run, simple and filling.


Ah, biltong…the nation’s favourite snack. Don’t go comparing this to jerky, now! Saying biltong is a spiced and dried meat doesn’t do it justice, and it has to be tasted to be truly understood. It’s a great gift for those back home, too!

Bobotie, bredie, boerewors and braais, oh my!

Bobotie is a traditional Cape Malay dish, starring lightly spiced mince topped with an egg-and-milk crust which is then oven baked. Some recipes add a sweet touch to complement the golden spice of the dish. Meanwhile, bredie is typically a lamb dish, enhanced by the edible waterbloommetjie flowers, although it can also be made with tomato and beef. It’s a slow cooked, soul food style stew. Serve over rice for an authentic taste of Africa. Borewors, a traditional thick ‘farmer’s sausage’, is a staple of the South African experience. Pop it in a roll for a ‘hotdog’ like no other, sizzle it in a coil on the traditional braai, or add to any number of dishes- it simply has to be tried. Speaking of braais, remember this is oh-so-much-more than a mere BBQ. Gathered with friends around the open fire, the flame-cooked meats [braaivleis or shisa nyama] are as tasty as the conversation- and don’t forget a beer or two. Toss a grilled ‘braaibroodjie’ sandwich on for good measure. Cheese, tomato, onion and garlic are local favourites.

Bunny Chow and Boozy Shakes

The ideal lunch for the worker on the go, bunny chow is a hollowed-out half loaf stuffed to the brim with delectable curry. Typical for booze-loving South Africa, this is also home of the ‘Don Pedro’, a spiced up adult milkshake that brings the fun back to the party while keeping a nostalgic touch.

Koeksisters, Melk Tert and so much more

Lovers of all things sweet, you’ve found your new treats. Koeksisters are a deep-fried, syrup-soaked braided dough. Not to be confused with the coconut covered spiced dough balls [Koesisters] of Cape Malay heritage, of course! Too confusing? Opt for a deliciously sticky Malva pudding, a baked upside-down pudding dripping in toffee sauce. Or choose the Melk Tert, a pale, smooth milky tart topped with sprinkled cinnamon and ideal for a tea time treat. Otherwise, embrace your inner child and head straight for the peppermint crisp tart. It’s not sophisticated, but it sure is delicious.

Dishes to die for

Looking for a tasty local main? If you’re at the coast, try our local mackerel species, snoek. It’s fiddly to debone, but delicious to taste.  There’s also local favourite, Pap [coarse ground maize porridge] and sous [usually a tomato sauce, but tastes vary]. Pair it with meat, or eat as it is. It’s ideal with boerewors! Jazz up your pap with a unique fermented milk called ‘amasi’, for the traditional dish Umphokoqo. Or try Umngqusho, a simple side of unhusked maize [called samp] and beans that makes a great accompaniment to stew. If you’re feeling brave, try a plate of Mogodu [slow cooked tripe] with ting, a fermented sorghum porridge somewhat similar to quinoa.

Wherever you venture in South Africa, a rich culinary heritage will unfold around you, inspired by the multicultural diversity that makes up this unique land. Go Touch Down Travel and Tours strongly recommends you enhance your experience of this beautiful country [and tickly your taste buds] with a selection of the delicious traditional dishes so unique to South Africa.