Must-Try Traditional South African Foods

Published on 02/15/2021

South Africa is one of the most amazing countries in the world, with astonishing landscapes, diverse wildlife, and fascinating history, its no wonder that South Africa has a wide variety of the most delightful foods on the planet.  Also known as ‘The Rainbow Nation’, this southern African country is packed with so much cultural diversity which means that while vacationing in this beautiful place, the experiences are unlimited. Just don’t forget to try some of these authentic, traditional foods.

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Must-Try Traditional South African Foods

Bunny chow

Bunny Chow is a super delicious street food that first originated in the city of Durban during the 1940s. However, today Bunny Chow can be eaten nearly anywhere and everywhere around South Africa. So what exactly does this mouth-watering meal consist of? Firstly, a loaf of white bread is hollowed out, afterwards, it is filled with spicy pork, lamb, or chicken curry.  chicken, lamb, or pork curry. You can also try the vegetarian option that generally contains kidney beans, lentils, tomatoes, and onions. Many international foodies have voted this South African dish as one of the best food dishes.


If you’re an American native, you’ll probably think, “oh I know this snack, we eat it here all the time”. Well let us tell you, you are very mistaken. Beef jerky is absolutely nothing like the tantalizing Biltong from sunny South Africa. It is made by drying out me (generally beef), however other types of game such as ostrich, kudu, or even chicken is used and before adding an array of different spices. Biltong is definitely a huge favorite amongst every South African and can be found almost in every place that you travel within South Africa. This great snack is also a staple for long road trips and when watching a good game of rugby.

Chakalaka & Pap

Both pap (mielie pap) and chakalaka are essential dishes on every South African dinner table. It’s quite a simple dish that consists of a spicy vegetable relish along with baked beans, onions, bell peppers, tomato, and of course curry. Depending on where in the country you get to taste the deliocus meal will also depend if other vegetables and spices are added in as well. But you will be guaranteed a wonderful meal packed with an array of flavors and spices. It is often served with pap (meaning porridge) which is made from white corn maize. Do not leave South Africa without trying this!


We couldn’t have a complete list without at least one South African dessert. A koeksister is a traditional Afrikaner confectionery made of fried dough infused in syrup or honey. It is one of the best tea-time treats, especially for people who have a major sweet tooth.

Rooibos Tea

Lastly, we wanted to include this one of a kind beverage – Rooibos tea. Rooibos is a South African plant, its leaves are commonly used for brewing tea. Rooibos tea has been a favorite in South Africa for many generations, however, some people say that it is an acquired taste. But take it from us, you must try this – at least once.  Rooibos tea can be served both hot or cold.