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A Taste of South Africa

One of the ways our family likes to travel is through food.

While researching for our Taste of South Africa night, we weren’t surprised to learn that the cuisine is as diverse as the country itself.

Influenced by many cultures including indigenous, Dutch, Malaysian, French, and Indian, South Africans have a rainbow of choices for their tables.

Bobotie is considered to be the closest thing to South Africa’s national dish.

It can be prepared in many ways, but traditionally it is made with minced meat that has been simmered with spices – usually curry powder, herbs, and dried fruit.  It’s topped with a mixture of egg and milk and baked until set.

Try this recipe.


Chakalaka is common on most South African dinner tables.


It is a spicy vegetable relish made with onions, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, beans, and spices.

Chakalaka is often served cold, with braaied (barbecued) meat, bread, salad, stews, and pap (a polenta-like food made out of mielie meal, or ground maize).

Try this recipe.


Braai, the Afrikaans word for “barbecue,” is a social custom in South Africa – gathering and grilling a variety of meats.


  • Boerewors (boer meaning farmer and wors meaning sausage) are served in a coiled shape or on a bun covered in mustard and tomato sauce.
  • Sosaties are marinated and skewered meats.

Biltong is a dried, cured meat that is compared to beef jerky.


It is high in protein, low in fat, and may have added flavors such as chili or garlic.

Bunny chow is a street food of Durban, home to a large community of Indians.

Hollowed-out loaves of bread are stuffed with spicy curry – chicken, pork, or vegetarian with lentils and beans.


Try this recipe.

Melktert (milk tart) is a pastry filled with milk, eggs, and sugar, thickened with flour and dusted with cinnamon.

Try this recipe.



Koeksisters, from the Dutch word koekje meaning cookie, are twisted syrup-infused doughnuts.

Try this recipe.



We hope you get a chance to try some of South Africa’s diverse dishes!

Food photo credits licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.  Chakalaka by philipp , braai by Jim Sher; bunny chow by Lucinda jolly; melktert by Sharon; koeksisters by Fiona Henderson.

Additional South Africa Resources

Welcome to our Olympics for Kids series! The Olympics are a wonderful opportunity to teach kids about the world and explore cultures together.
Today, you can find more about other recipes from various countries thanks to our participating bloggers:

5 French Recipes to Cook with Kids – Multicultural Kid Blogs
Cooking Hoosier Style (Indiana, USA) – using resources wisely
Chilean Sopaipillas – La Clase de Sra. DuFault
5 Dutch Foods You Need to Try – Expat Life with a Double Buggy
My Favorite Latvian Childhood Dessert – Let the Journey Begin
Puerto Rican Shortbread Cookies with Guava – Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes
Brigadeiros – the piri-piri lexicon

You can also download our Summer Games Unit activity pack to learn more about the world and have fun during the Olympics.