Top 10 South African Foods to Try

Take a look at this list of top 10 South African foods to try in order to get the best picks from dishes with local, Dutch, Malay and French influences. South Africa is by far the most cosmopolitan country in Africa and has a mature tourism industry. There is so much to do and see from going on safari to visiting townships; taking indulgent food and wine tours in the Cape to visiting a foodie haven in Durban. However due to the number of South African migrants worldwide, you no longer have to...MORE travel very far to experience a taste of South Africa. Although nothing beats the authentic experience that travel brings, that South African experience may be closer than you think. 

  • 01 of 10
    Chakalaka Topped with Eggs Sausages. GO! / Lee Malan

     Chakalaka is a very simple and easy to make relish which has grown out of the townships of South Africa's cities. Usual components are baked beans, curry, peppers and carrots. It is almost impossible to find a South African bbq (braai) without chakalaka. Try this easy to follow recipe to make your own chakalaka at home.

  • 02 of 10


    Biltong. Neil Overy

    From its humble beginnings as a cured meat made purely for preservation, to the spicy snack it is today, biltong is ubiquitously one of the top South African foods to try. It is loved by many a South African, but may be an acquired taste for others. If you have tried beef jerky and loved it, it is highly likely that biltong will go down very well.

  • 03 of 10
    Chicken in Cast Iron Dish. Núria Talavera

    Potjiekos is a quintessential South African dish born purely out of necessity to cook whilst on the move in the out doors. With its roots set in an Afrikaaner tradition which supposedly emerged during the Great Trek, potjiekos has come a long way; yet it is part and parcel of South Africa's food cuture as we know it today.

  • 04 of 10
    Durban Chicken Curry. F. Muyambo

    An introduction to Durban curries, this chicken curry recipe is quick and easy. The results are very satisfying. You end up with a moreish and comforting curry that goes very well with basmati rice and a sambal on the side.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Milk Tart

    Milk Tart
    Milk Tart (Melktert). Gallo Images

    Milk tart, otherwise known as melktert in Afrikaans, is South Africa's milky answer to the traditional custard tart. A recipe imported by the Dutch, yet melktert is a part of the fabric of South African food that every year, the 27th of February is celebrated in South Africa as the official milk tart day.

  • 06 of 10
    Homemade chutney. Getty Images (Anne Clark)

    Apricot blatjang is a South African chutney made with dried apricots. It is the perfect condiment that goes well with cheese or even bobotie. Is this a chutney, you may ask? Yes, it is a chutney. But not all chutneys qualify as blatjangs.

  • 07 of 10

    Malva Pudding

    Malva Pudding
    South African Dessert: Malva Pudding. F. Muyambo

    Malva pudding is a South African dessert with its origins in the Cape. It is said to have been created by the Dutch settlers and incorporates apricot jam in the recipe. It is so decadent and is comparable to sticky toffee pudding, but it is so much better. Trust me!

  • 08 of 10
    Pap served with boerewors, peanut butter greens and gravy. F. Muyambo

    Pap is the South African name for the stiff cornmeal porridge which is so famous across the African continent. It is an essential dish at braais (South African barbecues) and is perfect for scooping up thick and tasty sauces and stews.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10


    Boerewors on a Braai. Carla McMaho

    Boerewors is a high quality sausage often spiralled into a circular shape, as it is presented. It is made using a high content of meat and can be made of beef, pork or game meat. It is a must have at a braai.

  • 10 of 10
    Beef Bobotie with orange topping. F. Muyambo

    Bobotie is a purely South African dish made with minced or shredded meat, fruit and spices. It is topped off with a savoury custard and bay leaves and baked in an oven until the custard is ready.

Depending on where you are in the world, you will not have to look very far in order to have a South African food experience. Simply going to a South African shop or major market in your city coud be enough to get you started.