The people, languages and cultures found just within the city of Cape Town form a colourful, eclectic fusion. Xhosa, Indian, Cape Malay and Afrikaans cultures can be witnessed in the city centre markets, at farm stalls on the roadside and in the kitchens of locals. Within a day you can hear multiple languages and taste different cuisine made by people who call South Africa home. If you don’t have a mom like mine who can whip up all these local dishes in your kitchen, then here are some places to visit to taste different slices of Cape Town.
1. Kalkies, Kalk Bay.
Fishing has long been a trade of many South Africans living on this peninsula. Fresh tuna, hake and snoek are brought in daily and served fresh in restaurants around the city. One of our favourite ways to enjoy our fish is with hot chips. These are not fries but fat, slap chips dosed with salt and vinegar and served beside snoek or hake. It has been around for ages and many agree that every other fish and chip shop cannot rival its offerings. Best of all you can enjoy your crayfish, prawns and fish with a view of Kalk Bay’s bustling harbour.
2. Bo Kaap Kombuis, Bo Kaap.
On the slopes of Signal Hill and nestled amongst the pink, yellow, green and blue painted houses lies a restaurant called Bo Kaap Kombuis. This area is the oldest settlement of Malay people in South Africa and its cobbled streets will whisper the tales of those who first arrived over 300 years ago. Malay cooking is something I grew up on and will enrapture your senses from the get go. Taste butter chicken, curries, traditional Malay Boboti, Sosati chops and samoosas. You may never be the same again.
3. Eastern Food Bazaar
Whilst the city of Durban houses the largest population of Indians outside of Indian, many Indians do reside in Cape Town. On 96 Longmarket Street in the centre of town, you can sample any kind of Indian food your heart desires such as bean bunny chow, vegetable breyani, lamb sheek kebab, tandoori chicken and chicken tikka masala. For those afraid of diving into the spice too soon, there is also Chinese and Turkish food available.
4. Boerewors Roll Stand, Muizenberg.
It would be a sin to come to South Africa and not taste our incredible sausage called Boerewors. We love to braai it over coals and serve it on a bread roll with sauces of your choice. I have a small addiction to the R17 boerewors rolls served from a stand in Surfer’s corner on Muizenberg Beach. The sausage is Halaal and made with all kinds of heavenly spices. These are best served with dhania sauce and onions.
Photo credited to Simply-delicious.co.za
5. Mzoli’s, Gugulethu.
For a real township experience head to Gugulethu in a group and prepare yourself of a meat feast. Don’t expect posh, else you’ll be greatly disappointed- this is a rustic experience. Mzoli’s is all about the mouth-watering meat dipped in delicious marinade and braaied over the flames. It gets crazy busy on Sunday, so book a table in advance and bring your own paper plates, serviettes and drinks (you can also buy drinks there). Great place to vibe around the fire to the sound of groovy live djs and enjoy drinks with the Cape Town’s funky locals and foreigners alike.
6. Mama Africa, Long Street.
This iconic restaurant has showcased some of the best African dishes since 1995 and due to its location along the pumping Long Street; it is always filled with foreigners wanting to get a taste of our superb meat (we just make it at home). Here you can taste East Coast mussels, feta and biltong salad, Springbok, Kudu and Ostrich steak and snoek pate. The hearty meal and live music will ensure you are well on your way to falling adding African cuisine to the top of your list.
7. Societi Bistro, Orange Street.
If you are looking for a wholesome meal in a renovated Georgian-style home with a tinge of gourmet sans the price tag, visit Societi Bistro for all kinds of goodness. For the lovers of Italian, there’s prawn, chorizo and truffle oil spaghetti, ciabatta breads and mushroom risotto. Meat lovers will find their joy in the pork belly, Filet Au Poivre, sirloin or the venison served with almond and apricot couscous. There are gourmet sandwiches, ostrich burgers and desserts to make you smile. In winter, snuggle up beside the fire or dine al fresco on a warm summer night.
8. Royale Eatery, Long Street.
For gourmet burgers that will change your life, duck into this Capetononian All Star. You can have 160g beef patty served on rolls with just about any topping you can dream off. Chorizo, chillies and coriander, beetroot relish, mint jelly, sun-dried tomato pesto, Mediterranean pesto and melted mozzarella. After on sitting, no ordinary burger will ever do, again.
Photo credited to goingwithmygut.com
9. Aneesa’s, Wynberg.
I grew up in Wynberg and discovered the divine taste of a masala steak Gatsby-a meal synonymous with Cape Town- years ago. It’s a long roll filled with steak, polony or Vienna sausage together with lettuce, tomato, hot chips and sauces. It is by far the unhealthiest meal you could ever eat but guaranteed to be one of the best. You could never eat entire one by yourself and at best I’ve managed to finish a quarter of it. Aneesa’s also sells roti, curry, burgers, Vienna and chip parcels and sandwiches all for takeaway.
Now that your mouth is watering, go forth and enjoy.