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Wondering what South Africans eat? Here’s a little taste

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Lynn chapter.

So when I first moved to the US almost 2 years ago, it took a while for me to adjust to the food in America. There was fast food everywhere, burgers, tenders, very typical American food. Besides all of this, for some reason, it tasted as though the food in America had little to no flavor compared to my food back home. I cannot tell you why this is but now I have gotten used to it and I’ve learned to cook with lots of flavor. But I’m gonna tell you guys about my favorite South African foods.

To start off, let’s talk all things savory. There are so many different traditional South African meals but for me, I do not necessarily eat majority of them there’s only about one or two that I really like. First off, it’s something we call Boerewors. This translates to farmer’s sausage, this is the type of sausage that is made from beef and enjoyed across the country. This is a staple to have at a Braai (South African version of a barbecue). Personally, the best way for me to eat. This is a Boerewors roll, where you have the sausage and a hotdog roll with ketchup and grilled onions. This is basically my childhood! Secondly, we have what we call a Potjiekos, this translating to “small pot food”. This is basically a stew that contains meat and vegetables. What is unique about this is that it is slow cooked on an open flame at a cost. It is a pot called a (Potjie). The flavors in this dish are immaculate and at many of my school camps. We would often have  Potjie competitions. This is one of the most unique South African dishes.

Now for the sweet tooth. I must say I do prefer South African desserts. I had no idea these were traditional South African dishes until I moved overseas and realized Americans don’t eat this. So to start off, is one of my sister and I’s favorite dessert for my mom to make and this is called Malva Pudding. This is basically a cake that you bake which the key ingredient is apricot jam. As soon as it comes out the oven, you pour hot sauce over it that allows the cake to absorb it making it super sweet and moist. This is eaten with cream, ice cream or custard. I personally want to say that this is one of the most popular dishes or desserts in South Africa. Next up we have something called Melktert, this translates to Milk Tart, this is basically a tart with a crust and milk filling topped with cinnamon. These are very traditional dishes that every single person in South Africa knows about and loves. 30 is a dessert that I recently started to enjoy and came across in the last five or six years and this is called sago puddin. This is made from Sago pearls, the pearls are soaked in milk or water for a short period of time where they are then added to a mixture of milk, butter, cinnamon, vanilla, and egg. South Africa has adapted this as it has originated in south east Asia. 

Now, for some of my favorite snacks, of course at the top of my list is biltong. Biltong is basically preserved meat that has had spices added to it, such as coriander, salt, and so on. This can be found anywhere in the country. It is the best snack to always have in the grocery cupboard as well as put on road trips. Secondly has to be NikNaks this is a maize snack/ corn snack that is cheese flavor. This is basically my childhood in a bag. These were the chips that we would always take on road trips, on a picnic, at the kids birthday parties everything. If you ever go to South Africa, you have to try them.

I have just mentioned a few of my favorite things in South Africa. If you ever plan on visiting South Africa, I suggest you do your research beforehand so you know what you should try and where the best places to get them. I never realized how unique my country’s culture and food was up until I moved away. 

Lauren is an international student majoring in Hospitality Management. She is a very interactive, positive and friendly young lady who always gives of her best. She always wears a smile on her face and tries brighten up everyone’s day. She is very passionate about her home country and educating many young people about her beloved country.