Top 10 South African Dishes You Must Try!

Top 10 South African Dishes You Must Try!

South Africa is a country filled with diverse cultures which all have mouth-watering dishes that you need to one day try! Since there are so many different cultures and cuisines, we have narrowed it down and come up with the top 10 South African dishes, you need to try

However, we cannot go any further without giving special mention to pap! This is that starch that has raised presidents, innovators, businessmen and women, popes, and the general population at large. Black, white, colored, or Indian, if you are South African and have lived in South Africa, the chances that you have never tasted pap in your life should be close to 0.

If you haven't had Pap in your life, try our quick and easy recipe today, and let us know what you think!

Top 10 South African Foods

In random order, here are the dishes you should try today.

Each dish has a link you can click that will take you straight to the mouth-watering recipe

1. Mogodu

Mala Mogodu, Tripe, Umgxabiso, commonly known as Usu, is a dish enjoyed by many South African's who have had the privilege to indulge in various African Delicacies. 

Truth be told, many people worldwide enjoy tripe, but South African's have their unique way of preparing the dish. Be it sheep, lamb, or ox tribe, someone in SA is opening a beer and celebrating Mogodu Monday 

2. Hlakwana

I can feel my mouth begin to water as I think of having a bowl of sticky cow/pork, pap, and Musi Foods Mouth-Watering Atchar! 


Interestingly enough, hlakwana is a very healthy meal to have (depending on how it is prepared). The bone marrow is classified as a superfood for humans as it is rich in protein, phosphate, calcium, and magnesium. Older generations believe that cow heels stew is not only used to cure hangovers but also acts as an aphrodisiac! I do not know if this is true, but if you feed it to your secret-admire as well, they might fall in love with you!


Bone marrow is one of humanity's first superfoods, eaten by our early ancestors and full of protein, calcium, phosphate, and magnesium. Cow foot stew is also revered as an aphrodisiac and recommended as a hangover cure. Chicken's feet are also used as a tasty way to cure what ails you.

3. Koeksisters

Have a sweet tooth? This tasty treat will please your palette! Koeksisters are South Africa's golden dessert which has come a long way with our country. They are made by frying pleated-dough pieces and often served with a hint of sugar syrup. 


The Cape Malay version of the Koeksister is one we would also recommend you try. Compared to the more common Koeksister, theirs is rolled in desiccated coconut and has a more spicy flavour.

4. Biltong and droerwors

Are you watching a game of soccer or rugby? 

About to have a braai with mates/family?

Whatever you may be doing, a bowl of biltong and droerwors will complete your day!

Biltong is made up of meat cuts soaked in brine and hung to cure with a spec of salt. Doerwors or dried sausage is prepared almost the same way as biltong, but instead of using meat cuts, ground beef, mince, and mutton fat are mixed with different spices, and thin sausages are formed out of the mix.

Many South African's usually go hunting and from these adventurous hunting trips can make their own types of biltong

If you are visiting for the first time and would love to try your luck hunting, here are a few hunting reserves we think you should see: Top Hunting Game Reserves in South Africa

5. Traditional Potjie

Potjiekos - Food Cooked in a pot

We know what you are thinking; however, in South Africa, making a Potjie is not just about making any type of food in any pot! To us, making a potjie requires a very special process that cannot be changed or broken.

A potjie is a form of stew that is never stirred during the cooking process, is cooking slowly over a fire, and a cast iron pot must be used to prepare the meal.

We are not 100% sure if you could add atchar to your potjiekos but try it out and let us know.

6. The Typical Braai

Braai master, grab your braai thongs, beers and let us begin the braai!

As a tradition, a month never goes by in South Africa without a braai. To be honest with you, there is never a time not to braai. Whether it is raining or snowing, windy or sunny, Christmas or Wednesday, as long as there is meat, South African's will always find a reason to gather around the braai stand and have a great time.


Even though the meat is prepared very similarly, a braai is very different from the traditional BBQ. As a rule, a braai cannot be cooked over gas! You need to light a real fire and get your wood/coal burning to cook your meat! 

7. Vetkoeks

Unhealthy but delicious. I do not want to translate the term Vetkoeks because I am scared you may not want to try them…

Vetkoeks are delicious and go with almost any meal. In the townships, they are often served with a slice of cheese, polony, snoekfish and some atchar. Others enjoy stuffing their vetkoeks with different types of mince or curry.

Vetkoeks are fried pieces of dough, very similar to the bread used to form donuts, except they do not have the hole in the middle, and yeast dough is used to make the bread.

If you ask for a vetkoek and someone looks at you with confusion, rephrase your sentence and ask for Magwinya, a smile followed by an "ahaaaa" will follow as your companion gets you your share of fat cakes.

8. Chakalaka

Chakalaka is one of the best side dishes for a braai or any other meal with pap! This spicy salad is made from vegetables such as carrots, peppers, onions, and tomatoes mixed to form relish. This relish is different from atchar, but it serves as a great add-on as well for meals.

9. Chicken Feet

By now, you are probably thinking, "Jeez, what do South African's not eat!" However, there is nothing in this world you can compare to the taste of chicken feet, and to top it all of, chicken feet are also healthy. Chicken feet are made up of skin, cartilage, and tendons, which contain vast minerals and vitamins essential to humans for growth!


Make sure the chef knows what he is doing and the chicken feet have been cleaned properly so you can truly experience the pleasantry offered by this traditional South African dish!

10. Skopo 

The famous smiley! Look, don't judge us until you taste i'skopo (meat of the head).

The meal does not look appetizing at all. Imagine holding a sheep's or cow's head and extracting the meat from the various bones but trust me on this one! Head to the local taxi rank or township, you will find old ladies sitting with big pots next to the side of the road, and for only R25.00 they will give you meat that will change your life!

Know of more traditional meals or have interesting stories to share with us about your favourite South African foods? Leave your comment below and let us get the conversation going. :-)

While you are here, check our Musi Foods Mouth-Watering atchar at This is the one pickle you cannot afford to miss out on!



Your atchaar is so delicious. My husband loves it. I will order more!


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