Bobotie, melktert, potjiekos and samosa: the kitchen of ‘rainbow nation’ South Africa is as diverse as its people. Through the centuries, people from numerous places have set foot on the Cape, bringing their culinary habits with them. Combined with the traditional cuisine of the indigenous people, it has resulted in a melting pot that is as eclectic as it is delicious.
Cape Town is set amidst the majestic Table Mountain, rolling vineyards and the blue ocean, and its residents affectionately call it the ‘mother city’. This vibrant destination is the ideal place to sample South African (cooking) culture. South Africa’s culinary capital features many restaurants, from simple to highly exclusive. The traditional cuisine, with roots in Africa, Asia and Europe, is available everywhere. Here are some delicacies you won’t want to miss.
With its painted houses and paved streets, Bo-Kaap is one of the prettiest districts in Cape Town. It is known as Cape Malay ─ the settlement of former slaves from Indonesia, the Malayan archipelago and India ─ who were brought to the Cape by the Dutch and British in the 17th century. They came with aromatic spices such as clove, nutmeg, ginger and cilantro. To taste these Eastern flavours, head for Biesmiellah, a cosy Cape Malay family restaurant. The specialty is typical South African bobotie: a deliciously spiced minced meat dish with chutney and raisins.
Biesmiellah, Wale Street, Cape Town
South Africans love their sweets. A classic dessert that you’ll find on many menus is Malva pudding, traditionally served with apricot jam and cream or ice-cream. Another typical South African sweet dish is koeksisters: braided pastry, covered in syrup. Or try a slice of melktert with your coffee. This mildly sweet milk tart based on milk and eggs is as simple as it is delicious. The best cupcakes in Cape Town can be found at Charly’s Bakery. Its pink façade conceals a paradise of petit fours, cookies and cakes in a variety of colours and flavours.
Charly’s Bakery, 38 Canterbury Street, Cape Town