Food for South Africa: Beyond the Usual

One of the greatest pleasures of traveling or working abroad is experiencing its local culture first-hand, and sampling its cuisine. South Africa boasts an incredible cultural diversity and history, which offers up an abundance of exciting and delectable meals that might surprise or charm.

Here are 10 dishes worth sampling that might surprise, intrigue, or even intrigue you!



Mopane is a protein-rich food popularly eaten in South Africa, made from Emperor Moth caterpillars and commonly enjoyed as a crunchy snack or added into stews for extra protein.


Ostrich Omelette

Ostriches are native to Africa, and their eggs make for a delightful culinary treat. One ostrich egg equals about 24 chicken eggs; therefore an omelette made with one is typically shared among multiple people. Furthermore, the taste is very similar despite the different size; thus making an Ostrich Omelette both familiar and distinctive dining experience!



Though eating termites might seem bizarre, rural South Africans rely heavily on them as a protein source. Common preparation methods include frying or roasting; their crunchy, nutty flavor complementing traditional snacks while offering greater health benefits due to low fat and higher protein counts.


Pineapple Sandwich

For a less daunting meal option, why not give pineapple sandwiches a try? In South Africa, pineapples are commonly used in sandwiches to provide sweet and tart sweetness that counterbalances any saltiness found elsewhere in the sandwich ingredients. Although the combination may seem unusual at first glance, its flavors blend surprisingly well!


Ox Tongue

Although ox tongue may seem foreign to Westerners, in South Africa it's considered a delicacy. When prepared properly it becomes succulent and flavorful; adventurous eaters should definitely give this dish a try!



Biltong, which originated in South Africa, is a type of dried and cured meat snack with its origins in South Africa. While similar to beef jerky in texture and taste, its production requires unique processes and spices that give biltong its distinct character. Popular snacks throughout South Africa.



Boerewors is a type of sausage commonly served in South African cuisine, named for the Afrikaans words for farmer ('boer') and sausage ('wors'). Boerewors can often be found grilled over an open flame and served coiled up, making it an integral part of social gatherings or family dinners.


Bunny Chow

Bunny Chow may sound rabbity but doesn't contain any rabbit at all! This fast food dish consists of a hollowed-out loaf of bread filled with curry-flavored fillings such as mutton, chicken or beans; its origins lie within Durban Indian community but has since spread far and wide across America.



Bobotie is an iconic South African dish composed of spiced minced meat baked with an egg-based sauce, then garnished with walnuts, chutney and bananas for both sweet and savory notes. Bobotie stands as testament to South Africa's culinary legacy as an amalgamation of Malay, Dutch and indigenous African influences.



As your culinary journey in South Africa concludes, enjoy a slice of Melktert for dessert. Translating to "milk tart", this dessert consists of a sweet pastry crust filled with a delicious blend of milk, flour, sugar and eggs; typically garnished with cinnamon for flavoring and usually enjoyed chilled. Melktert showcases South African baking at its best - simple yet delectable flavors!


South Africa's culinary landscape is as varied and expansive as its cultural legacy. From protein-packed insects and bird eggs, to sweet and tangy sandwiches and comforting desserts, there is something deliciously different available at every turn - don't be intimidated to sample its cuisine and experience its distinct flavors!

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