The 10 Best South African Dishes to Try When You Visit the Country

South Africa is a country that not only welcomes millions of tourists yearly but also provides them with several unique cuisines to grace their taste buds. The cuisine selection of this country sometimes may make travelers want to come to this country for just the food. Trying out these specially made local South African cuisines is a big deal to many tourists, many tourists see it as a must-try.

This nation is known for its beautiful and rich culture, breathtaking natural landscapes, wildlife, and, more especially, its beautifully and wonderfully molded women. This country has a lot of captivating qualities, therefore attracting tourists from all around the globe.

South Africa offers both local and foreign cuisines, and every one of these meals is worth trying. Most tourists prefer to try the local South African dishes because of the uniqueness it contains. You should consider trying one or more of these ten specially listed dishes when you are in South Africa.

The 10 Best South African Dishes to Try When You Visit the Country

1. Geelrys

Geelrys is a delicious, savoury and sweet meal. Its unique yellow colour is obtained from its specially selected ingredients including white rice, brown sugar, salt, turmeric, ground cinnamon, butter and cinnamon stick. After carefully selecting the ingredients, the white rice is then boiled and steamed with the other ingredients. The turmeric gives it that special yellow rice look.

South African Dishes

This meal has a strong delicious aroma. With the aroma, you can easily judge how tasty this meal will be. Geelrys (yellow rice) can be served along with fish, matched beef, chicken or turkey. Instead of the normal traditional way of boiling rice, the classic South African way of styling rice gave birth to Geelrys.

2. Potjiekos

Potjiekos means ‘food made in a pot’. Potjiekos is pronounced as ‘poi-key-kos’, which also means ‘pot meal’. This food is usually cooked in a round three-legged pot called potjie. Potjie is a Dutch oven introduced to South Africans by the Netherlands in the 17th century.

South African Dishes

Potjie can easily be found in people’s homes across South Africa. The food got its name from the pot used in cooking it. The recipe for making this meal is straightforward. The food is easy to prepare by following a few rules. This meal’s ingredients are mainly meat, potatoes, mushrooms, carrots, chilli, garlic, seasonings and vegetables. This outdoor meal is very popular in South Africa.

3. Bunny Chow

Bunny Chow is a famous and tasty South African street food. This meal can be considered as a one-of-a-kind sandwich. You may feel that this food has a rabbit in it because of the ‘bunny’ in its name, but no rabbit is included in this dish. The usual sorts of proteins used include beef, chicken, lamb or vegetables and guess what, it turns out to be so delicious.

South African Dishes

This tasty food is the end product of serving the combination of meat, chickpeas, potatoes and aromatic spices in hollow bread. One very special charm this meal has is that it can be eaten for either dinner, lunch or breakfast. This is a sandwich that’s hard to come by, so when you’re in South Africa, be sure to grab a bite.

Read also, The 10 Foods to Take Along While on a Journey

4. Mielie Pap

This meal is a popular South African breakfast. Mielie Pap is also called maize porridge. This meal has its origin from maize and not oats. The ingredients involved in making this food include maize meal, butter and salt. To prepare this meal, boil a reasonable amount of water, and add the salt, butter and maize meal. Consistently stir the maize meal and you will see it becoming stiff and good to be served. Serve it with your favourite sauce and enjoy it with a chilled soft drink.

South African Dishes

If you don’t want to buy the ingredients and prepare this meal yourself, you can walk into any famous restaurant and place your order. The meal is cheap, easy to make and stays fresh for a long time even without being refrigerated.

5. Bobotie

South African Dishes

The nutritional value of this meal is top-notch. Bobotie is pronounced as ba-boor-tea. Ingredients in making this meal include bread, milk, egg, butter, onions, beef, garlic, salt and pepper. After baking, the dish can then be cut into desired shapes. Bobotie can be served with yellow rice, baked beans, green beans, mashed potatoes, cabbage soup, Shirazi salad, couscous, roasted root vegetables, and spinach salad, and can be eaten alone. Either way you prefer it to be served, the meal is sure to leave you with the intention of having more.

6. Malva Pudding

South African Dishes

Malva Pudding is a common South African dessert. This dessert is one of South Africa’s favourites. Malva is known for its simplicity and it’s very easy to prepare. Ingredients include the pudding itself, sugar, eggs, apricot jam, all-purpose flour, baking soda, butter, salt, milk and vinegar. This dessert can be served along with vanilla ice cream, fresh berries, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, citrus salad, roasted nuts, vanilla custard and several meals.

7. Koeksisters

South African Dishes

One unique thing about this food is that it is sweet and at the same time savoury. Koeksisters are commonly called South African doughnuts because of the way the dough is styled and the uniquely refreshing taste it delivers. Ingredients include cake flour, baking powder, sugar, oil, lemon juice, ginger, milk, butter and salt. This food is very easy to identify. It has two dough pieces braided together, having a unique golden brown colour. Seeing isn’t enough; you need to grab a bite to feel the unique taste. The savoury taste comes from the salt in the doughnut, while the sweet taste comes from the icing-coated sugar.

8. Cape Malay Chicken Curry

South African Dishes

Cape Malay Chicken Curry is a South African meal that can be made in different ways but with the same results. The exceptional taste of this meal comes from its simplicity and fresh ingredients. Ingredients include chicken thighs, curry powder, vegetable oil, chilli powder, salt, onion and seasoning. Yellow rice is a good accompaniment to Cape Malay Chicken Curry. This particular meal is always stuffed with enough chicken, so if you love chicken, this dish is a must-try.

9. Boerewors

Boerewors is also called farmers sausage. Although they look like normal sausages, this food entails more. The recipe includes well-matured beef, fatty pork, salt, nutmeg, fresh ground black pepper, brown sugar, dry red wine or dark vinegar. After carefully selecting the ingredients, special rules guide its cooking;

South African Dishes

  • The sausage is expected to have at least 90% meat or fat from beef, lamb, goat or pork.
  • The meat’s fat should not exceed 30%.
  • Lamb and pork may be added for flavour but beef blend must always be the majority.

Boerewors is best served with coleslaw, potato salad, mashed potato and baked beans, pasta sauce and spaghetti, Mielies and green salad.

10. Melktert

South African Dishes

Melktert is a famous South African dessert. This dessert is rich in protein. The recipe involved in making this milk tart includes cake flour, baking powder, cornflour, sugar, egg, salt and full cream milk. Milk tart can easily be gotten in South Africa. The ingredients are very common and it is very easy to make. Whether you make it for yourself or buy from food vendors, you should try to grab a taste of this dessert when you’re in South Africa.


South Africa is a great nation with beautiful cultures worth exploring. South Africa’s culture is backed up with good food. The South African people sure know how to make good use of available recipes. Ensure to do justice to the meals whenever you visit South Africa.


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I'm Emmanuel Ayodele, a Travel Writer. As a passionate travel writer, I embark on exhilarating journeys to capture the essence of captivating destinations. With a keen eye for detail, I immerse myself in local cultures, uncovering hidden gems and sharing my personal adventures through evocative storytelling. I strive to inspire and inform readers, as I believe that each travel experience has the power to transform and enrich our lives. Let my words transport you to extraordinary places, igniting your wanderlust with every page.

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