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Feed a Fever

June 17, 2010

The world is suffering from soccer fever (well, the world apart from the U.S. anyway), with the World Cup going on in South Africa.  So here at the MHK we thought we’d take a peek into typical South African fare to see what the natives and the tourists are eating while they celebrate the world’s greatest sport.  Here is a list of common comestibles found in South Africa, courtesy of e-gnu.com.  Some of them look awesome.  I have tried biltong, brought here from a friend who traveled to South Africa – very tasty.  What have you had on this list?  Enjoy!

Biltong is a national delicacy. Similar to American jerky, but totally different, it is made from spiced slices of meat that are hung up – out of the sun – to dry in the wind. The most common variety is beef, but game biltong is also available. Connoisseurs claim that ostrich and kudu biltong are the best.
Bobotie is a traditional Cape Malay dish consisting of a fruity mince curry which is topped with egg custard and lemon or bay leaves, and baked.
Boerewors is essential at a braai. It is a fatty, spicy beef sausage – there are loads of secret recipes all containing quite exotic spices such as coriander, cumin and others.
Boggems are definitely an acquired taste. They are small, whole mullet (called harder in South Africa) that are salted and dried. They’re a bit tough to just chew on but they can be reconstituted and cooked into something approaching a Portuguese bacalhau, which makes them far more palatable.
Braais are part of South African life and they are so much more than a barbecue. As well as boerewors, sosaties, pap en sous and roosterbrood, there may be any other kind of meat and fish. Crayfish braais are very popular.
Bredie is the Afrikaans term for a stew, usually mutton-based and served with rice. The most popular is tamatie bredie (tomato stew), and the most unusual is waterblommetjiebredie (see below).
Bunny chow lunch is an essential part of a visit to Durban. Consisting of curry (either meat or veg) piled into a hollowed out half or quarter loaf of bread it is best eaten with the hands on the street. (Yes, it’s a cultural experience).
Gatsby is a form of street food found mainly in Cape Town. Cheap and filling it consists of a whole loaf of bread cut lengthwise and filled with chips (French fries), salad and either meat, curry or fish.
Imifino is a wonderful dish of wild spinach-like greens fried up with onion, spices and perhaps a bit of chilli, and usually served with pap or putu (see below).
Koeksuster is a sweet, syrupy, plaited confectionary not entirely unlike a doughnut but much richer. Great stuff if you have a very sweet tooth and fantastic with strong coffee. 
Line fish is the term given to fish that has been caught locally that day on a line (as opposed to netted fish). In restaurants it will often be the ‘fish of the day’.
Milktart is a traditional baked custard tart, sprinkled with cinnamon.
Moskonfyt is a delicious sweet and tangy syrup made from must (which is the solid residue left over after pressing grapes for wine.)  A bit like a fruity version of maple syrup, it’s really good on bread or pancakes and even, for those with a very sweet tooth, on ice cream. It is delicious stirred into plain yoghurt.
Pap is a gritslike maize porridge. It can be made quite sloppy in which case it is eaten with a spoon as a breakfast cereal, or made really stiff in which case it is called stywepap and eaten with the hands with some kind of sauce or relish. Relish could be imifino (see above) or a rich meat stew. Pap en sous, in which the sauce (sous) will almost always be an onion and tomato based one, is a traditional accompaniment to a braai 
Peri-peri, or piri-piri as it is sometimes called, hails from neighbouring Mozambique. It’s a fiery concoction of mainly, chilies, garlic and tomato (and a few other secret ingredients). It’s most commonly used as a basting for fish, chicken or prawns but can be used for anything. Beware; some varieties are very hot, while others are nicely tasty.
Perlemoen is the local word for abalone. Many locals claim the best way to eat this is braaied (see above) on the beach in a piece of kelp (hollow seaweed), but it is easier to try it as a schnitzel in a restaurant, or cut into strips and stir-fried 
Potbrood is bread made in a cast-iron pot on the top of a fire (also see roosterbrood).
Roosterbrood is bread made on the grill over an open fire. (Brood is the Afrikaans word for bread.)
Roti is traditional Indian flat bread which may be quite familiar.
Salomies are rotis, filled with curry and rolled up, so they can be eaten with the hands.
Samp is whole maize which is cooked up rather like rice and most often served with beans which makes it a very nutritious, high protein food highly valued by traditional societies.
Skilpad is the Afrikaans name for a tortoise, and you may well be offered this at a braai. Do not be alarmed. It is not a whole tortoise roasted in its shell; far from it. There is a delicious vegetarian option – a whole cabbage, with slits half way through it and filled with butter, garlic and spices and cooked in foil over the fire. A richer, meatier version consists of liver or kidneys wrapped in caul fat and braaied – very rich and only for dedicated carnivores. Never eat real tortoises!
Smoorsnoek is a kedgeree-like dish made of flaked smoked snoek (see below) cooked up with tomato, onion and spices.
Snoek is a local game fish not unlike barracuda. It is delicious freshly braaied but it most often eaten smoked – possibly even more delicious.
Sosaties are very similar to kebabs – chunks of meat impaled on a skewer. Traditional ones will be marinated in a lightly curried fruity sauce and then cooked over the fire but there are dozens of variations.
Waterblommetjiebredie is a stew (see bredie above) featuring endemic waterflowers that grow wild in seasonal wetlands in winter in the Cape.

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