South African Traditional Recipes



The cuisine of South Africa reflects the diversity of the various ethnic groups that make up the population of South Africa. The variety of different culinary traditions combined with the great variety of fresh food present a cuisine that caters for every taste sensation. Although the historical traditions are evident in the cuisine, modern food trends also influence its development.

South African cuisine is strongly influenced by Dutch, German, English, French, Malaysian, Portuguese, Indonesian, Indian, Native African and even Asian cuisines. As a result, we have a great variety of dishes.

South African history's influence on culinary tradition

The first settlers in South Africa were the Dutch, who established a trading post in the Cape in 1652. Many men from Germany also came to work in the Cape. Towards the end of the 17th century, Malay slaves were imported. The French Huguenots, after fleeing their country due to religious persecution, came to South Africa and started our fine winemaking tradition. Britain gained control of the Cape in 1806. The discovery of gold and diamonds lead to further British colonizations in South Africa. Under their rule, Indian slaves were imported as cheap labour. Later Britain gave South Africa its independence. The Portuguese influence came mostly from Mozambique and Angola, two of South Africa's neighboring countries. Long ignored are also the African influences in South African cuisine, now much more popular since the passing of Apartheid.

Meat dishes are very popular, especially amongst European descendants commonly known as the Afrikaners. There's an old joke that states that a Boer eats mutton, beef and bacon for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and when he feels like some vegetables, he eats chicken.

Among the Afrikaners, braais (barbeques) are very popular.

Breakfast dishes

  • Melk kos
  • Mieliepap (A porridge made from maize and water)


  • Butternut Soup: A great starter to lamp dishes


  • Biltong: Try Chilli sticks for a spicy snack
  • Boerewors: Check out the recipe - remember, Braaiwors and Boerewors are completely different
  • Sosaties (Kebabs)
  • Bobotie
  • Frikadelle (Meat Balls)
  • Samoosas
  • Potjie


  • Chakalaka (Spicy vegetable salad)
  • Morogo (Wild spinach)
  • Pap (Corn porridge)
  • Samosas


  • Koeksusters
  • Melktert


  • Rusks
  • Bread
  • Cakes

Condiments & Preserves

  • Mango Atchar
  • Apricot Jam
  • Chutney: Try Mrs. Balls, the local favourite
  • Sauces
  • Pickles


  • Ginger Beer
  • Pineapple Beer
  • Wine
  • Mampoer / Witblits
  • SABMiller Beers