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South African Cuisine

English Food of South Africa

English Cuisine: Traditional Scones and Tea
English Cuisine: Traditional Scones and Tea

South Africa has aptly been dubbed The Rainbow Nation for its diversity of colours, cultures and languages. This has translated to and permeated its culinary array too. The cuisines of South Africa are heavily based on its history, since the influx of so many different people led to the introduction of new methods and ingredients, the adherence to traditional fare and the combination of the two to create a unique, new smorgasbord.

The food introduced by the English colonial settlers was just typically British. Today, many of the white citizens still have roots (whether actual ties or just genetic origin) in the United Kingdom, despite being fully fledged South Africans. This continues to influence the culture and, as a result, cuisine, of a significant proportion of the country.

The British settlers that entered the country (mainly during the 19th century and early 20th century) were soon shaken to reality when they realised that the land that they were occupying was still extremely undeveloped, lacking a formal infrastructure. The indigenous tribes lived off natural roots, berries, fruits, vegetables and the meat of the animals that they hunted or slaughtered from their own stock. They bartered rather than dealing with hard currency, and they lived according to how hard they had worked.

English Cuisine: The ever-popular Sunday Roast
English Cuisine: The ever-popular Sunday Roast
The British culture had, for centuries, been one of simultaneous elegance and emotional restraint. Their daily routine of tea and scones, and early dinners was to be maintained at almost all costs. This became very difficult in a land that was significantly hotter (so that their goods did not keep for as long), far less structured, and less equipped than their royal homeland.

Still, when new settlers arrived, they brought with them certain ingredients and cooking techniques that have, over the ages, been adopted and integrated into local cuisine to create a new kind of Anglo-African flavour. The best known of these are Sunday roasts, fish and chips, full English breakfasts, and Shepherd’s Pie.

Over time, though, South Africans have added their own twists to these dishes to incorporate local flavours more. For example, a full English breakfast of bacon and eggs may include spicy chakalaka or a cheese griller. A Sunday roast may not be lamb or beef, but ostrich or kudu. In this way, the white population of South Africa has created a brand new ‘normal’ of Anglo-African cuisine.

There are certain foods and cooking methods that seem to appeal to South Africans across the board, such as braai and freshly baked pies. Their origins may differ, but they characterise the country as a whole, no matter how diverse the individuals that make up its beautiful mosaic.

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Did You Know?
Thanks to the cosmopolitan nature of this country, the restaurants of South Africa offer a wide variety of international cuisine types too. These vary from Eastern favourites (Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, and so on) to German eateries, English cafés, Moroccan food stalls and American-style diners.

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Cuisine: English Food of South Africa
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