There are some countries I travel to that I just feel an instant connection with – South Africa is one of them. I can’t put my finger on why exactly but it’s a great combination of lovely people, delicious food, beautiful scenery, a rich history and fascinating culture.
Oh and lots and lots of meat!
I’m lucky enough to have visited the country a few times and so I’ve pulled together a few blog posts in appreciation of my highlights so far…this one is about Johannesburg but there’s still so much to see and do!
I have a friend in Jo-burg as well that I met whilst travelling last year – I love having friends all around the world! So when I’m in the area we meet up for a good catch-up over some delicious South African food…always a meat feast!
I even managed to celebrate Halloween with her…check out this blog
On my first trip to South Africa, my friend and her housemate cooked me a delicious braai. “Braai” is Afrikaans for grill or barbecue, coming from the word “braaivleis” which means roasted meat. But its more than just a meal – it’s a social experience that works for any occasion.
We snacked on local crisps – “simba” and “nik naks” as well as droëwors (dried sausage).
Followed by frikkadelle (meatballs) in burger buns and biltong (dried meat).
And of course some South African wine…which we had from a Turkey ‘goat’ jug! “Dop” is Afrikaans for “drink” and there’s never a shortage at a braai.
Then it was grill time…
We had sosaties (grilled marinated meat on a kebab skewer)…
…and antelope steak.
But you can have so many different meats at a braai – from boerewors (a spicey beef/pork sausage), mixed steaks and even seafood.
Finishing up with peppermint crisp tart – a typical south African dessert. It’s made from tennis biscuits (plain un-iced coconut biscuits), peppermint crisps, whipped cream and caramelised condensed milk.
Such a delicious feast.
The Butcher’s Shop, Sandton, Jo-burg
‘The Butcher’s Shop & Grill’ in Mandela Square. This meat haven offers up a delicious menu, featuring their signature steaks.
And, of course, some gorgeous red wine.
Biltong is one of my must-have snacks. I stock up whenever I'm in South Africa on this dried meat...grabbing a mixture of beef, game and ostrich. I'd recommend finding your local South African butcher (there's loads in London) as this makes a great and healthy on-the-road snack, or a tasty addition to salads or eggs.
Soet Koekies are old-fashioned sweet buttery biscuits with a hint of nutmeg and cinnamon. They are traditional Afrikaans biscuits but loved by all generations – especially with a cup of tea. Just like at home! Except the South African tea is normally the taster (in my opinion), Rooibos tea.
I also like to buy some of the chocolate bars that we don't get at home to keep me going on the long flight back...
- 'Vetkoek ' (fat cakes): deep fried bread, often filled with mince or served with jam, cheese or boerewors.
- 'Walkie talkies', 'runaways; and 'chicken dust': these are chicken feet, plus head, intestine, heart and giblets. The feet are cooked in hot water so that the outer layer of the skin can be peeled off, covered in seasonings and grilled.
- 'Smiley': a sheep or goats head (including brains and eyeballs). This is cooked over a fire so that the mouth retracts into a smile!
- Pap (aka mieliepap): Afrikaans for maize porridge
- Bunny chow (aka kota): curry stuffed into a hollowed out load of bread
- Sparletta: a bright green crème soda and apparently a great hangover cure!
- Koeksisters: there are two types of this sugared pastry: Afrikaans koeksisters are twisted, deep-fried and heavily sweetened. Cape Flats koeksisters are sweet and spicey, shaped like large eggs and deep-fried
- Mashonzha: these mopane worms are a good source of protein. Either served dried and eaten raw as a crisp snack or soaked to rehydrate then fried until crunchy.
- Melktert: a milk-based tart or dessert
- And this bacon-cheese spread...