10 Popular South African Snacks And Street Food In South Africa

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Many travelers have come to love South African snacks simply because the foods are no less attractive than the traditional main fares. From Bunny Chow to Boerewors, the cultural coalescence of street foods in South Africa is both beautiful and mouth-wateringly delicious

What’s Special About South African Snacks And Street Food?

If you’ve traveled to South Africa, you’ll be aware of the vast and flavorsome world that makes up their cuisines. South African snacks can suit every preference and taste palette because you’ll find food from almost all cultures throughout the globe.

Don’t overlook the street vendors, food trucks, and market stalls. From Dutch, Indonesian, and Indian cuisines stretching to French, Malaysian, and German roots, street food in South Africa has roots in a multicultural past that has shaped the present.

The beauty of South African food is that they have embraced these different cuisines – and diversity is now an integral part of their identity and uniqueness. Here are some of the most popular snacks in South Africa to sink your teeth into!

Most Popular South African Snack

Biltong

traditional-biltong

This has become one of the most well-known South African snacks worldwide. There are now several viral social media videos that sing the praises of Biltong, and how they wished they had found this South African street food sooner.

Other Biltong varieties can also be found in other African countries such as Namibia, Malawi, and Zimbabwe.

As delicious as it tastes, the process of making Biltong is simple. Meat, most commonly beef, is dried and cured and often served with spices like black pepper, coriander, and salt. While the process is simple, you need to be well-versed in the art of curing meat to prevent harmful bacteria from growing.

But there’s one thing South Africans can agree on: if you’re looking for some of the most delicious South African snacks, Biltong is very high on the list.

Traditional South African Snacks And Street Food

Boerewors

Wherever you go, you can be sure to find Boerewors sizzling away on a braai (or fire grill) outside a shopping center, cafe, or butcher – ready to be bought and enjoyed on the go. This South African street food is a part of so many South African diets and lifestyles and is considered a local favorite.

If it’s not raining, you can bet there are South Africans outside, beer in hand, enjoying an afternoon braai. And wors (translated as sausage) will surely be on the menu.

This traditional sausage is made from a variety of meats like beef, kudu, and even mutton or lamb. Mixed with spices like cloves, coriander, and black pepper, they’re ready and waiting to be cooked into a delicious meaty meal.

Sosaties (Skewered Meat)

skewered-meat

When you think of South African snacks, Sosaties is one of the must-try foods and traditional meals. Introduced to the country by the Cape Malays, who play an integral role in the influence of South African cuisine, Sosaties are unusual in the best of ways.

They are made from a curried apricot jam marinade, and infused with garlic. The culmination of these tart and sweet flavors makes for a beautiful end result.

The meat is marinated and joined with a skewer, and lamb is often used as it pairs particularly well with the apricot jam and vinegar marinade. During a braai, these Sosaties can be eaten as appetizers, making them the perfect choice of South African snacks and meaty treats.

Cape Malay Curry

cape-malay-curry

Brought to South Africa by the French and Dutch that settled in Cape Town with Indonesian, Indian, and Malaysian populations, the Cape Malay Curry has been popular for hundreds of years. Now, this delectable and aromatic meal is a much-loved South African street food and a popular meal option.

This curry is made with mouth-watering spices like saffron, cinnamon, and turmeric, and the combination of these sweet spices has been at the heart of many dishes throughout South Africa. If you’re looking for a hearty and flavorsome dish, the Cape Malay curry is the perfect choice. 

Walkie Talkie

walkie-talkie

While unusual for most Western taste palettes, one very popular choice of South African snacks is called the Walkie Talkie. An endearing term for the feet and heads of chickens, this uncommon food is a delicacy in South Africa and has remained a favorite for a long time throughout the country’s history.

If you have the courage to try this South African street food, you’ll be both surprised and delighted by how unexpectedly delicious they are. Preparation is everything. When they are seasoned, marinated, and grilled – you’ll learn quickly why the Walkie Talkie is still popular and loved.

Often served with side dishes like pap (a type of maize meal), vegetables, and other braai meat. They also serve as a fantastic addition to stews, sauces, and traditional soups.

Modern South African Snacks And Street Food

Bunny Chow

When it comes to South African snacks, there’s little argument about Bunny Chows and how perfect they are, any time of the day. South African food is vast and varied, and even a single dish of Bunny Chow has many different methods of preparation and ingredients.

Locals will point out a little shop that you may have driven past unnoticed, and inside, you’ll find the most heavenly smells and menus, all offering different types of Bunny Chows.

Brought to South Africa by the Indian community, these dishes are made up of Indian curry that includes either lamb, vegetables, or beef. Half or a quarter loaf of bread is hollowed out and the insides are served as a beautiful fresh sponge to soak up the curry.

There are few South African street food options that trump the authentic Bunny Chow.

Amagwinya Or Vetkoek (Fat Cake)

Originated and brought to Africa by the Dutch, Vetkoek, also called Amagwinya by the Zulus, is a much-loved choice when it comes to South African snacks. Anywhere you travel, you can be sure to find these fried, doughnut-like treats on street corners and inside cafes.

After all, it’s one of the most popular South African street food choices, as it’s both cheap, filling, and absolutely delicious. Many even have it for breakfast in South Africa.

Made from flour dough, you’ll find their shapes may be different, as some are perfectly round while others are flatted or compressed. One thing they all share is the crispy deep-fried surface and the soft delectable center.

When you buy these mouth-watering South African snacks fresh in the morning, they’re still warm and steaming! Some have fillings of mince or curry, while some are plain. It all depends on how hungry you are and what your preference is.

Chicken, Vegetarian, Or Mutton Roti

mutton-roti

Whether you’re looking for something quick to eat late in the morning or craving food after a light lunch, one of the most in-demand and sought-after South African snacks and meals is the Roti. If you’re in Durban, many will recommend the household name Johnny’s Roti, which is a common stop for many looking for the perfect Roti.

Made with chicken, vegetables, potato chips (slap chips), and cheese, or mutton, roti is a dominant and much-loved street food in South African . Many locals will have fond memories of stopping for their favorite Roti after a long day at the beach or pool, or even after a long night at a club.

Braai Or Shisa Nyama

Shisa Nyama in Zulu and Braai in Afrikaans is extremely popular, well-loved, and mouth-wateringly good. A Braai or Shisa Nyama is an integral part of South African identity that represents culture, good food, and community.

A typical celebration in South Africans includes cooking meat over an open flame and gathering together to share in the wholesome connection that comes from such events.

When it comes to a braai in South Africa, there are many types of meats that are cooked, like beef, chicken, pork, lamb, and boerewors. And there’s always more than anyone can eat. This means there is always a much-welcomed morning or lunchtime snack the next day.

If you’re vegetarian, you can be sure to find potato salad and garlic bread on the menu. While you won’t be able to enjoy the succulent meat, you can still always join in the fun, and without going hungry!

Kota

Known as the budget Bunny Chow, Kota is a favorite go-to South African street food that is often found in petrol stations and small cafes. Deeply rooted in the Apartheid period, Kota makes for a budget-friendly and quick meal in South Africa.

Kota is made up of various items, like Vienna sausage or polony, tomato sauce, and chakalaka, topped with hot potato chips and cheese. Served in a quarter loaf of bread that is hollowed out or on a bread roll, you’ll be surprised by how delicious this Street food in South Africa is.

Once you’ve tried it, you’ll find yourself looking for the ingredients to make this yourself as the perfect lunchtime meal or midnight snack.

South African Snacks And Street Food In A Nutshell

Whether you’re in the mood for something sweet, savory, or anything in between, South African snacks have it all. From curries and delicious meats to wraps or roti, it all depends on what you’re craving and willing to try.

 And because Street food in South Africa includes so many cultures, you can take a trip around the world in a single country!


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Welcome To NomadsUnveiled
This is Rax. For over a decade, I have traveled to over 60 countries - from a budget backpacker to a business traveler, expat and then a digital nomad. You can find insights and perspectives from myself and other world travelers that will inspire your journey of discovery.

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