Five South African Specialties You’ll Wish You Had at Home
You’ve booked your safari vacation to Africa, with South Africa as your preferred destination. Well, there is more to safaris than big-game encounters and luxury lodges. To make the most of the opportunity, we encourage Guests to open their minds and tastebuds to the flavors and culture waiting for you. Here are five of our top treats to try on safari—and how to do it like a local!
South African Snacks
South Africans love meat—with many ranking biltong as their favorite. Biltong is a dry, cured, and spiced meat that has a rich history. At the lodge and on game-drive drink breaks, your ranger will most likely offer you sliced biltong or dry wors sticks (imagine dry sausage); they are delicious and pair with beer or wine perfectly.
Today, biltong is made from a variety of animals including buck, you are likely to encounter kudu biltong and impala biltong in most South African establishments. Each lodge will offer their unique flavors and spices, and if you are lucky, they may have other less common biltong (zebra, wildebeest, blesbok etc). Try them all. We have never been left disappointed.
Amarula is a creamy liqueur made from the African marula, or elephant tree. The flavors are rich, creamy, and, although some describe it as akin to Baileys, it does have a very unique, African flavor profile. Drink it over crushed ice with dessert and you can’t go wrong.
Outside Wild Top Tip: Ask your ranger or guide to add a shot of amarula to your morning coffee in place of milk or creamer. The result is a perfect morning pick-me-up with a kick. The best part, it is common practice, so it is not frowned upon one bit.
How do we begin to describe rusks? They are what appears to be a stale cake and easily overlooked but are absolutely delicious when you eat them correctly. A technique for eating food, who knew?!
Rusks are available in multiple flavors, from bran to wholewheat, buttermilk, and more. These cube-shaped chunks of dried cake are designed for dunking. Dunk them in your coffee, dunk them in your tea; hell, dunk them in your amarula. The key is to dunk them enough to soften the rusk and absorb as much flavor as possible from the drink. It is a local feel-good combo. You may not want to try it initially, but we know you’ll be reaching for more.
Melktert (Milk Tart)
Melktert is the Afrikaans word (South African language similar to Dutch) for Milk Tart. Melktert is a traditional Afrikaaner dessert made with a sweet, crust pastry and custard filling. The milk ratio is higher in melktert than in traditional custard tarts and is considered a South African Snacks’ family-pleaser. The dessert is finished with a sprinkling of cinnamon and there you have it. If you get a chance, sample as many different melktert recipes as possible. Each and every chef—home cooks, too—will have their own secret to the perfect melktert. The best ones, we believe, are sweet and sticky and hold their shape when cut in slices…but only just.
Boerewors and Pap
Boerewors is a spicy sausage, flavored not dissimilarly to biltong and dry wors. The Boerewors recipe is a closely guarded secret and households seem to hold sway if their ‘wors’ recipe is better than others. South Africans eat boerewors on bread rolls as a hotdog or, very often, with pap and sauce. Either combination is delicious, and both are worth a try.
Boerewors is always cooked on an open fire and it is served on safari at all mealtimes. On one of your safari evenings, you will most likely get to experience a boma dinner. This outdoor meal is served under the stars and always offers boerewors. If you haven’t tasted this delicacy, make sure you do…even as a starter. Our mouths are watering just writing about it.
There you have it: five top South African Snacks to try on safari. Of course, there are more—bobotie, malva pudding, vegetable chakalaka etc.—and if you feel that we have missed one, leave a comment. In future articles we will give you some of our favorite recipes and maybe some ‘how-to videos.’
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