Six spots for traditional South African dishes

Posted by Fatima Anter on 9 December 2014

From spicy curries to Dutch-inspired stews, get your fix of traditional South African dishes at these six eateries.

potjie, camping, sunset

Potjiekos. Photo by Kati Auld


1. Bobotie at Bo-Kaap Kombuis, Bo-Kaap

This Malay-rooted dish of curried beef mince and sultanas topped with egg custard is the closest thing to a national dish (it was named as such in 1954 by the UN Women’s Organisation). Bo-Kaap Kombuis serves theirs with savoury rice, cooked veggies and a dollop of chutney for R85. Sit on the balcony for a picture-perfect view of Table Mountain, and the interior’s industrial look with walls of glass is toned down with family portraits and warm hospitality. End your meal with a Cape Malay koesister (a spicy doughnut sprinkled with coconut, not to be mistaken with the Afrikaans koeksister).
Contact: Tel 021 422 5446,


2. Bunnychow at Gounden’s Restaurant and Take-Away, Durban

Dipping pieces of bread into saucy curry filling a hollowed-out half-loaf is meant to leave your fingers covered in orangey goodness, so don’t expect shiny cutlery and white tablecloths at Gounden’s (one of our top 13 curry restaurants in Durban). Neither is it the kind of place you’d take a first date – or any date. It’s in the middle of an industrial area and the decor is bleak (and clearly the doings of a Manchester United devotee), but this doesn’t deter the hordes that frequent the hotspot. Pick the mutton bunny for R42.
Contact: Tel 031 205 5363


3. Chakalaka at Wandie’s Place, Soweto

Where better to get this spicy vegetable relish than in the place of its birth? At Wandie’s, it’s served with bread, pap, umngqusho (a dish made with white maize and sugar beans) or stew. The walls of the bar (the cosiest spot in the two-storey restaurant) are covered in messages and business cards from patrons that include celebrity Will Smith. Take time out of your buffet meal (R115) to admire the local artworks on the ceiling.
Contact: Tel 011 982 2796,


4. Potjiekos at Chief’s Boma at Indaba Hotel, Fourways

The best place to have a potjie is at home with family and friends (all you need to make the stew-like dish is a three-legged cast-iron pot, hot coals, meat, veg and two hours of your time), but Chief’s Boma at Jozi’s Indaba Hotel offers it alongside a buffet selection of other iconic South African dishes. Zulu-patterned pillars and a live marimba band make it an ideal setting for a traditional meal.
Contact: Tel 011 840 6600,


5. Karoo lamb at Antie Evelyne se Eetplek, Pienaarsig

Sheep on the Karoo plateau feed on various indigenous shrubs that give the meat its distinctive taste. Antie Evelyne Olifant, who grew up in Pienaarsig township in Nieu-Bethesda and is no stranger to lamb, provides true Karoo hospitality and hearty, authentic meals. Never mind the mismatched plates, yellow walls and floral paintings, once you dig into the lamb chops and homemade tomato smoor, you’ll add her place to your must-revisit list.
Contact: Tel 083 873 5526,


6. Bokkoms at Blikkie Pizzeria, Paternoster

Bokkoms are juvenile mullets (a type of fish) that are salted and dried in the sun before being peeled and eaten. As you can imagine, they reek and taste as pungent as they smell. Locals love it, but if you’re a newbie to this West Coast speciality, try it in small doses. Blikkie Pizzeria does a yummy pizza – aptly named The Paternoster (R87) – with smoked snoek, marinated bokkoms, Peppadews (a brand of sweet piquant peppers grown in Limpopo) and onions. As you enter, the bright turquoise corrugated exterior walls give way to a waft of garlic and an unpretentious interior with vintage adverts and antique cupboards. Grab a table outside and admire the beautiful town and sea views.
Contact: Tel 022 752 2246,


This article first appeared in the August 2014 issue of Getaway Magazine.

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