Popular South-African Dishes

South African dish

beef biltong © Arnold Goodway/Flickr

South African cuisine is one of the most diverse in the world. Dubbed a ‘rainbow cuisine’, the South African cuisine combines the tribal and ancestral cooking methods of Africa with those of European settlers. The result? An irresistible blend of flavors and spices.

No visit to South Africa should ever end before getting the chance to attend a true South African feast, and try some of the delicious dishes that are specific to this region. Unfortunately in this post we can only present a few of them, so it will be your job to explore the rainbow cuisine further:


A South African of the otherwise universal jerky, Biltong can be found in both restaurants and shops. The method of preparation is simple but takes time: meat is cut into strips, then cured with salt and herbs, and finally dried in a special room. Biltong can be made of beef, but also of various types of game and sometimes of ostrich.

South African dish

beef biltong © Arnold Goodway/Flickr

Milk Tart

This simple dessert is a classic of South African cuisine. The ingredients are those in the English custard – milk, eggs, vanilla and flour, but instead of being boiled, this dessert is cooked in the oven. The result is a light, creamy tart, generously dusted with sugar and cinnamon.

African sweet

milk tart ©Arnold Goodway/Flickr

Butternut Soup

Butternut soup is another popular South-African dish. The main ingredient in this sweet & spicy soup is, of course, butternut. Apples and milk are also added, and curry and nutmeg are used for seasoning.

Malva pudding

You’ll hardly find any South African restaurant that does not serve Malva pudding. The Dutch sweet pudding has become a much loved South African desert. Milk, eggs, butter and sugar are all used in making this delicious pudding, but the signature ingredient is apricot jam.

Mealie Bread

Mealie bread is also known as sweetcorn bread, but it is sweet and closer to a cake than a bread. Just like polenta pie, mealie bread is made with corn flour, but has a spongy consistency and yellow color. The bread it is eaten casually at barbecues or picnics.


These South African sausages are a constant presence at barbecues and other similar culinary events. Boerewors are made with mince beef and spices, and are originally a Dutch dish that colonists have brought with them. Remember that the best boerewors are always grilled in open air – this is why a cook out with friends is the best occasion to try them.

African sausage

grilled boarewors © AndyRobertsPhotos/Flickr


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