South African food reflects the mix of cultures that have inhabited the country for the past number of centuries. In all the larger cities you will find Italian, Chinese, Mexican, Portuguese etc. restaurants. Look out however for the indigenous delicacies such as ‘boerewors’ (farmer’s sausage), this speciality can be eaten as part of a healthy Afrikaans breakfast or a main meal. The ‘braai’ is one of the country’s favourite past time, this is the South African equivalent of a barbecue which involves the cooking of meat, fish, chicken, potatoes and onions over hot coals. Almost every South African household has a ‘braai’ and some people even have one indoors. Many traditional Black South African dishes have ‘pap’ (a maize porridge) as their base ingredient; these dishes are usually savoury and are accompanied by green vegetables. Another traditional dish, not so popular with tourists, is ‘Mashonzha’ which is Mopani caterpillar cooked with chilli and often peanuts.
Also look out for fish dishes, South Africa’s expansive waters are rich in crayfish, kingklip, hake, cod, sole and many more.
Restaurants in South Africa are very reasonable you can expect to find a good main course in most places for around £5 and the very best for around £15. As a general rule restaurants are licensed – look out for indigenous wines which are great tasting and relatively cheap. A recent phenomenon in South Africa, especially Cape Town are cafes which are often open all night. Here you can have a simple coffee or a full meal for about £4-5.
Beer and wine are the main drinks in South Africa and South Africans favour their local home beers. Most beer in South Africa is produced by South Africans Breweries but also look out for a popular favourite with Black South Africans known as ‘Umqombothi’. In more recent years imported beers are also making an appearance in the country but they can be rather expensive.
The wine industry in South Africa has grown and grown in the last number of years… the country is now producing some excellent wines, which are really cheap. Prices vary for around £3 - £20. Wines can be purchased in supermarkets but the best way to do so is directly from a vineyard. The oldest and most renowned wine regions are ‘Constantia estates’ in Cape Town and the region ‘Winelands’ around the towns of Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek.
The bar and pub culture which exists elsewhere in the world doesn't exist in South Africa. Many pubs were conventionally ‘men only’ establishments but recent years have seen the arrival of the more traditional style pub into South Africa.