Cookbook:Cuisine of South Africa

Cookbook | Ingredients | Cuisines



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 European 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 indentured labourers 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 neighbouring 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.

Braais (barbecues) are very popular.

Breakfast dishes

  • Melk kos
  • Mieliepap (A porridge made from maize and water
  • Bacon and eggs with toast
  • Dry cereals
  • Oats

Soup & Stew



  • Snoek
  • Rock Lobster commonly called "crayfish" but it is not the same as crayfish in most other countries



Most South Africans enjoy chicken and include it in their braais (barbecues). They enjoy pork and beef meat most of wich is beef tripe






  • Aartappel Poeding (Potato Pudding)
  • Asynpoeding (Vinegar Pudding)
  • Boeber
  • Bombay Crush
  • Cape Brandy Pudding
  • Cremora Tart
  • Crunchies
  • Gatsby
  • Hertzoggies
  • Jalebi
  • Koeksisters
  • Koesisters
  • Lemon Meringue Pie
  • Malva Pudding
  • Melktart (Milk Tart)
  • Melkkos
  • Pampoenkoekie (Pumpkin Fritters)
  • Pannekoek (Pancakes)
  • Peppermint Crisp Tart
  • Pineapple Fridge Tart
  • Sago pudding
  • Sticky Date Pudding
  • Trifle


  • Rusks
  • Bread
  • Queen cake
  • Milo cake with condensed milk icing
  • Vetkoek
  • Stokbrood

Condiments & Preserves



  • Amasi (soured milk)
  • Brandy and Coke
  • Don Pedro
  • Ginger Beer
  • Mageu (fermented corn meal)
  • Mampoer (fruit based moonshine, mostly peach or marula)
  • Pineapple Beer
  • Wine
  • Springbokkie
  • Umqombothi (sorghum beer)
  • Witblitz (grape based moonshine)