South African cuisine is rich and diverse, greatly influenced by the many nationalities living here. It’s one of the best places where you can spoil your taste buds with all sorts of flavors and spices, and street food is an affordable alternative to restaurants, but just as delicious. No matter if you’re just planning on sampling as you travel, or if you’re embarking on a food tour, I’ll tell you which are the best South African traditional street foods to try out!
What food do South Africa eat?
1. Bunny Chow
This has to be the number one street food recipe enjoyed all over South Africa. It doesn’t have anything to do with a bunny, the name of the dish being a variation of the word “bania”, an Indian social class that traditionally ate it and brought it to South Africa.
The recipe is simple: you have a loaf of fresh bread and stuff it with curry. Simple as it is, a portion is very filling, delicious, and costs around $1.
2. Walkie Talkie
Remember that when you explore the food culture of another country, you must keep an open mind. This dish might sound odd for most Americans, but the fact is that chicken feet are delicious.
Yes, Walkie Talkies are grilled or boiled chicken feet that for the locals are affordable delicacies. You can eat them with various sauces or with a combination of different spices.
It’s close to jerky, but not quite. There are many types of meat used to make biltong, which is spiced and dried meat, traditionally eaten all over Africa. Even though you can buy it at food stalls and snack on it as it is, many places will offer more complex dishes based on biltong, even soups.
This giant sandwich can satisfy everyone’s appetite and tastes because food stalls will let you customize the type of meat and sauce you want it filled with. But one thing that makes it special, is that it’s always filled to the brim with golden french fries. Even though it is already very affordable, locals in South Africa often get one and split it.
5. Braaied mielie
You cannot go wrong with some sweet fried corn, especially when you have so many topper options. Loved by locals and tourists alike, this South African street food is simple, affordable, and very tasty. It was probably adopted from Asia, as this dish is very popular there as well.
6. Boerewors roll
The South African hot dog also known as a boerie roll is one of the street foods preferred by the youth, because it’s convenient to eat everywhere. The bun holds a braaied boerewors, which is a traditional sausage, topped with onions and a sauce of your choice. The taste and flavor will beat any hot dog you have ever eaten.
Sometimes called “fat cakes”, these dumplings are made of dough filled with curry, but the recipe took various forms, and now you can find them filled with everything your heart desires, from cheese and meat to fruits and everything sweet.
Those who love meat will love a traditional braai, which is meat grilled on coals. Even though it sounds pretty much like an American barbecue, in South Africa they make whole meals on coals, including corn and potatoes. What’s even better, you don’t need a special occasion for a braai, and locals love them at any time of the day and in every type of weather.
Adopted from Asian cuisine, this filling treat is a popular option in South Africa when it comes to street food. A samosa is like a triangle-shaped hot pocket made of fried pastry and filled cheese, potatoes, meat, vegetables, and all other sorts of things. The recipe can change with the region but is always delicious.
10. Masala Pineapples
This unique snack is generally found on the beach in Durban. It consists of pieces of fresh pineapple on kebab sticks, seasoned with a mix of sour, sweet, and spicy condiments. Tourists and locals alike love this blend of flavors while enjoying their time on the beach, even though the masala pineapples are not easily found all over South Africa.
11. Mopane Worms
This snack was and still is an important source of protein for locals living in rural Africa, but it’s also a popular crunchy snack for tourists that dare to try something new and different. The caterpillars are fried and typically served with various sauces, peanut sauce being the one preferred by those who try it.
I couldn’t end the list without a sweet treat. Commonly known as “milk tart”, this dessert consists of a pie crust filled with creamy custard, topped with cinnamon. It can be eaten hot or cold, and it’s a delicious way to satisfy your sweet tooth while wandering the streets of South Africa.
Have you tried any of the dishes? Let me know down below in the comments section. My favourite ever is the Samosa!