- Cuisine of South Africa
Cuisine of South Africa has had a variety of sources and stages:
*Cookery practised by indigenous people of
South Africasuch as the Khoisanand Xhosa- and Sotho-speaking people
*Settler cookery introduced during the colonial period by people of Indian and
Afrikanerand British descent and their slavesand servants - this includes the cuisine of the Cape Malaypeople, which has many characteristics of Malaysiaand Java, and recipes from neighbouring colonial cultures such as Portuguese Mozambique.
In the precolonial period, indigenous cuisine was characterized by the use of a very wide range of fruits, nuts, bulbs, leaves and other products gathered from wild plants and by the hunting of wild game. The domestication of cattle in the region about two thousand years ago by
Khoisangroups enabled the use of milkproducts and the availability of fresh meat on demand. However, during the colonial period the seizure of communal land in South Africa restricted and discouraged traditional agricultureand wild harvesting, and reduced the extent of land available to black people.
Decline of indigenous cookery
Urbanizationfrom the nineteenth century onward, coupled with close control over agricultural production, led black South Africans to rely more and more on comparatively expensive, industrially-processed foodstuffs like wheat flour, white rice, mealie (maize) meal and sugar. Often these foods were imported or processed by white wholesalers, mills and factories. The consequence was to drastically restrict the range of ingredients and cooking styles used by indigenous cooks.On the other hand, some imported food plants (maize, tomatoes) have expanded the dietary range of indigenous cooks. Of these maize is the most significant - it has been integrated to such an extent into the traditional diet that it is often assumed to be an indigenous plant.
Popular foods in modern South Africa are chicken, limes, garlic, ginger, chili, tomatoes, onions and many spices.
South Africa was settled from the seventeenth century onwards by colonists from the
Netherlands, Germanyand France, and later by arrivals from the British Isles. These colonists brought European cookery styles with them.
Traditional cookery of South Africa is often referred to as "Cape Dutch". This cuisine is characterized by the use of spices such as
nutmeg, allspiceand hot peppers. The Cape Dutch cookery style owes at least as much to the cookery of the slavesbrought by the Dutch East India Companyto the Cape from Bengal, Java and Malaysiaas it does to the European styles of cookery imported by settlers, and this is reflected in the use of eastern spices and the names given to many of these dishes.
Currydishes are popular in South Africa among people of all ethnic origins; many dishes came to the country with the thousands of Indian labourers brought to South Africa in the nineteenth century.
Restaurants and fast food outlets
South Africa can be said to have a real "eating out" culture. While there are some restaurants that specialize in traditional South African dishes or modern interpretations thereof, restaurants featuring other cuisines such as Moroccan, Chinese, West African,
Congoleseand Japanese can be found in all of the major cities and many of the larger towns. In addition, there are also a large number of home-grown chain restaurants, such as Spur and Dulce Cafe.
There is also a proliferation of
fast foodrestaurants in South Africa. While there are some international players such as McDonaldsand Kentucky Fried Chickenactive in the country, they face stiff competition from local chains such as Nando'sand Steers.
Many of the restaurant chains originating from South-Africa have also expanded successfully outside the borders of the country.
Typical South African foods and dishes
Amasi, sour milk.
Biltong, a salty dried meat (similar to jerky).
Bobotie, a dish of Malay descent, is like meatloafwith raisins and with baked egg on top, and is often served with yellow rice, sambals, coconut, bananaslices, and chutney.
Boerewors, a sausagethat is traditionally " braaied" ( barbecued).
Bunny chow, currystuffed into a hollowed-out loaf of bread.
Chutney, a sweet sauce made from fruit that is usually poured on meat, especially a local brand called "Mrs Ball's Chutney".
Frikkadelle - meatballs.
*"Gesmoorde vis", salted
codwith potatoes and tomatoes and sometimes served with apricotjam.
*"Hoenderpastei", chicken pie, traditional
Isidudu, pumpkin pap.
Koeksisters come in two forms and are a sweet delicacy. Afrikaans koeksisters are twisted pastries, deep fried and heavily sweetened. Koeksisters found on the Cape Flatsare sweet and spicy, shaped like large eggs, and deep-fried.
Mageu, a drink made from fermented mealie pap
Malva Pudding, a sweet spongy Apricot puddingof Dutch origin.
Mashonzha, made from the mopane worm.
Melktert(milk tart), a milk-based tart or dessert.
Melkkos(milk food), another milk-based dessert.
Mealie-bread, a sweet bread baked with sweetcorn.
Mielie-meal, one of the staple foods, often used in baking but predominantly cooked into pap or phutu.
Ostrichis an increasingly popular proteinsource as it has a low cholesterolcontent; it is either used in a stew or filleted and grilled.
*"Pampoenkoekies" (pumpkin fritters), "patatrolle" (sweet potato rolls) and a further variety of baked goods where flour has been supplemented with or replaced by
pumpkinor sweet potato.
*"Potbrood" (pot bread), savoury bread baked over coals in cast-iron pots.
Potjiekos, a traditional African stewmade with meat and vegetables and cooked over coals in cast-ironpots.
Rusks, a rectangular, hard, dry biscuiteaten after being dunked in teaor coffee; they are either home-baked or shop-bought (with the most popular brand being " Ouma Rusks").
Samosaor "samoosa", a savoury stuffed Indian pastrythat is fried.
*"Smagwinya", fat cakes
Smokedor " braai'ed" snoek, a regional gamefish.
Sosaties, grilled marinated meat on a skewer.
Tomato bredie, a lamb and tomato stew.
Trotters and Beans, from the Cape, made from boiled pig's or sheep's trotters and onions and beans.
Umleqwa, a dish made with free-range chicken.
Umngqusho, a dish made from semolinaand black-eyed peas.
Umphokoqo, an African salad made of maize meal
Umqombothi, a type of beer made from fermented wheat.
Umvubo, sour milk mixed with dry pap, commonly eaten by the Xhosa.
Vetkoek(fat cake), deep-fried doughballs, typically stuffed with meat or served with jam.
*Waterblommetjie bredie (water flower stew), meat
stewed with the flower of the Cape Pondweed.
*Coetzee, Renata, 1977. "The South African Culinary Tradition", C. Struik Publishers, Cape Town, South Africa.
*Leipoldt, C. Louis, 1976. "Leipoldt’s Cape Cookery", Fleesch and Partners, Cape Town, South Africa.
*Van Wyk, B. and Gericke, N., 2000. "People's plants: A guide to useful plants of Southern Africa", Briza,
Pretoria, South Africa.
*Wylie, D., 2001. "Starving on a Full Stomach: Hunger and the Triumph of Cultural Racism in Modern South Africa", University of Virginia Press, Charlottesville, VA., United States of America.
* [http://www.routledge-ny.com/ref/africanhist/farming.html Routledge Encyclopaedia of Africa - Farming]
* [http://www.southafrica.info/plan_trip/holiday/food_wine/food.htm South African cuisine - International Marketing Council of South Africa web site]
* [http://www.cp-pc.ca/english/southafrica/eating.html Eating the South African way]
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