South African Cuisine

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Traditional South African cuisine was for centuries comprised of the earthy and hearty food preferences of native South Africans.

South African Cuisine

(Photo Attributed to Author: wang Cho from Pacific Grove, California, USA)

However, because of centuries of colonization, South African cuisine reflects a heavy European influence. Take a typical breakfast, for instance, which usually is very light, just tea or coffee (heavily sweetened with sugar) and some sort of bread – could be a piece of toast with jam, or as simple as a hot dog bun, or what they call a “rusk, which is a buttermilk cookie so hard you could break a weak incisor trying to bite into one.

Exceptions to the normal light, “Tea and Crumpets” English style of breakfast do happen, though, especially after long nights staying up very late to watch World Cup Futbol at their favorite sports pub.

When South Africans wake up with a large appetite, however, the menu will still be very British. South African breakfast foods of choice for a heavy breakfast will include: bacon, eggs, sautéed mushrooms, and perhaps some favorite sausages of theirs, the rather greasy boerewors.

Oh, and if you are an American and were to be invited to have breakfast as a guest in someone’s home, and you are told they will be serving bacon with the meal, don’t expect the crispy-fried bacon you are accustomed to back home. They prefer and serve up the floppy and fatty “back bacon“.

Really, then, traditional South African homes have a breakfast that is not all that different than European or American homes. So, because readers here from the other continents, Australia, China, etc., can read up on what they would consider the “ethnic” foods from Europe and America on other pages here at Ethnic Foods R Us, on this page we will skip breakfast, and move on for a typical mid-day meal for our ethnic food adventure in the deep south of Africa.

Do, however, have a go at the delicious South African Boerewors Sausage, and with your normal breakfast of eggs, toast and coffee, try some Back Bacon, for the taste of a traditional South African breakfast.

Oh, and don’t forget to try some buttermilk rusk cookies, too … but only if you have good strong teeth. Actually I am exaggerating a bit, they are hard, but when dipped into your coffee or tea, they soften nicely and the flavor and texture is well worth the effort.

Okay. Moving on, to more about South African Cuisine!

Please note: For your convenience, you can click on the recipes listed directly below and be taken directly to a page with just that one recipe on it, in printer-friendly format.

Here is the complete list, in alphabetical order:


Cape Malay Fish Curry

Cape Malay Pickled Fish

Spice Chutney Chicken

T-Bone Steak Braai (with Mustard and Sun-Dried Tomato Garlic Butter)

Tomato Bredie

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