10 South African Food Dishes to Try

South Africa is a land of diversity, boasting a rich tapestry of cultures, traditions, and, of course, cuisine. From the spicy flavors of dishes to the hearty comforts of traditional African fare, South African food reflects the country’s unique blend of influences.

Whether you’re a culinary adventurer or simply looking to tantalize your taste buds, here are 10 South African food dishes you simply must try.

Bunny Chow:

Bunny Chow South African food
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Originating from the Indian community in Durban, bunny chow is a beloved South African street food

It consists of a hollowed-out loaf of bread filled with spicy curry, typically chicken, beef, or vegetable.

This dish is as flavorful as it is hearty, offering a delightful mix of textures and aromas.


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Bobotie is a savory meat dish with a sweet and tangy flavor profile.

It typically features minced meat, such as beef or lamb, mixed with spices, fruit, and topped with an egg custard.

Bobotie is often served with yellow rice, chutney, and a variety of side dishes.


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The South African equivalent of a barbecue, a braai is more than just a meal – it’s a social and cultural experience.

Whether it’s sizzling boerewors (sausage), succulent steaks, or grilled seafood, a braai brings people together to enjoy good food, good company, and the great outdoors.

Pap and Wors:

Pap, a type of maize porridge, is a staple food in many South African households.

When paired with wors (sausage), it becomes a delicious and satisfying meal.

Pap and wors are often served with tomato and onion gravy, adding an extra layer of flavor to this simple yet comforting dish.

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Potjiekos South African food
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Potjiekos, which translates to “small pot food,” is a traditional South African stew cooked in a cast-iron pot over an open fire.

This slow-cooked dish typically contains a variety of meats, vegetables, and spices, resulting in a rich and flavorful meal that’s perfect for sharing with friends and family.

Snoek Braai:

Snoek Braai South African food
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Snoek, a type of fish found along the South African coast, is often enjoyed grilled over an open flame.

Known for its firm flesh and distinct flavor, snoek braai is a popular dish, especially in the Western Cape region.

It’s usually served with a side of  a spicy relish.


chakalaka South African food
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A spicy vegetable relish with roots in the townships of South Africa, chakalaka is a flavorful accompaniment to any meal.

Made with ingredients like onions, tomatoes, peppers, and beans, chakalaka adds a burst of color and heat to dishes like pap, braai, or grilled meats.

Malva Pudding:

Malva Pudding South African food
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No South African meal is complete without a sweet treat, and malva pudding fits the bill perfectly.

This moist and decadent dessert, reminiscent of sticky toffee pudding, is made with apricot jam and served warm with a creamy custard or ice cream.

It’s the ultimate indulgence for those with a sweet tooth.


Biltong South African food
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A South African snack staple, biltong is dried and cured meat that’s thinly sliced and seasoned with a blend of spices.

Similar to beef jerky but with its own unique flavor profile, biltong is enjoyed as a protein-rich snack or added to sandwiches, salads, and other dishes for an extra burst of flavor.


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These twisted pastries, deep-fried and soaked in syrup, are a beloved South African treat.

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Koeksisters are sweet, sticky, and irresistibly delicious, with a crunchy exterior giving way to a soft and syrupy center.

Whether enjoyed with a cup of coffee or as a decadent dessert, koeksisters are sure to satisfy any sweet craving.

South African cuisine is a celebration of diversity, flavor, and tradition.

From spicy curries to hearty stews, sweet treats to savory snacks, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

So, the next time you find yourself in South Africa or at a South African restaurant, be sure to try these 10 must-try dishes for an unforgettable culinary experience.

Your taste buds will thank you!