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Traditional South African dishes

By January 6, 2023December 8th, 2023FinGlobal

Traditional South African dishes

January 6, 2023


At FinGlobal, the topic of tradition is often raised, especially with our clients who don’t want to become, for want of a better word, rootless. While emigration is exciting in terms of broadening our horizons, it also means that certain things we have always taken for granted are suddenly unavailable. For example, the great weather, fantastic culture and almost permanent holiday lifestyle! But more than our idyllic living conditions, nothing illustrates our South African-ism quite like our infamous traditional South African dishes!

Traditional South African food

Let’s be frank; there are few places in the world where you can cook your entire dinner, including pudding over the hot coals. You’ll also be hard-pressed to find anywhere outside of Africa offering a selection of real dried meats to nibble on while watching the rugby! And to clarify, jerky is not real biltong, no matter what flavouring you put on it!

From vetkoek and boerewors to milk tart (melktert), pap, koeksusters, and bunny chow, traditional South African dishes outstrip most foreign cuisine offerings! This is why many Saffas abroad spend a lot of time searching for traditional South African food. Who can blame them? So, at FinGlobal, you know we aim to please, so we decided to collate all our posted recipes in one place to help you easily find the traditional South African dishes you need.

Top 10 traditional South African dishes


Koeksisters have been part of our heritage since the 17th century with the arrival of the Dutch settlers in the Cape. These deep-fried dough plaits are dipped in syrup and honey and served as a sticky doughnut treat. Why not make some this weekend for Sunday afternoon tea?


As a Saffa, you know that no braai is complete without the classic braaibroodjie! This simple traditional South African food, or rather braai staple, is made from a combination of bread, cheese, tomato, and onion and toasted directly on the coals! Check out our recipe for chakalaka braaibroodjies; they are bound to give your tastebuds a zap!

Milk tart

Milk tart or melktert, no matter what you call it, this milky treat is one you’ll find hard to forget! A firm South African favourite since the dawn of time, many of us can remember the milk tarts’ presence at every family event! Made from rich ingredients such as full cream milk, eggs, vanilla, and cinnamon, the milk tart is so tasty there won’t be a crumb left for second helpings! Try our milk tart muffins and see for yourself.


A mandatory braai ingredient, boerewors or boerie, as it’s affectionately known, is loved by every Saffa abroad and at home. The combination of pork, beef and spices has had South Africans salivating while standing next to the braai since Adam ate the apple! Perhaps he should have had a boerie roll instead! Why not wow your guests with our easy boerewors recipe this weekend?


Bobotie for every South African home is the welcome home, fond farewell, good luck with exams, I love you, all rolled into one kind of meal. If you’re looking for a dish that says everything for you while you guzzle its succulent curried mince and sultana ingredients, this is it! Just don’t forget a dollop of Mrs. Balls Chutney! Try our bobotie pannekoek stack recipe; it’s a dribble inducer!


Synonymous with South African culture for centuries, mieliepap, also known as pap, has been around so long it goes with almost anything. Eat it as a breakfast porridge with lashings of butter and sugar, or serve it as a savoury side with tender lamb or juicy beef! Try our lamb shank and pap recipe for your next Sunday dinner!


Biltong, manna from the gods, and the king of traditional South African dishes; no one forgets the taste of a lekker stukkie biltong! As a result, many Saffas based abroad eventually get desperate enough to try and make their own, which isn’t a bad thing if you know what you’re doing! Check out our easy recipe and get biltong-ready for the rugby!


Vetkoek is another 17th-century traditional South African food that has stood the test of time. Made from deep-fried dough balls stuffed with savoury mince or any decadent filling of your choice, the humble vetkoek is an excellent mid-week feast! Try our recipe for vetkoek without yeast the next time you struggle with dinner ideas.


For Saffas abroad, the winter chill will still have you very much in its grip this time of year, but that doesn’t mean a regte egte potjie is off the cards! Instead, haul out that potjie pot, pull on your winter warmers, and try our warming chicken potjie today! Although you can still enjoy this potjie while seated under the hot African sun, it’s just as tasty!

Bunny Chow

Who can say they don’t love a huge chunk of soft white bread stuffed with curried lamb, chicken, or beef and vegetables? Not many, to be sure! The bunny, as it’s fondly known, is quite simply one of the tastiest traditional South African dishes around. It’s also super easy to make and an excellent snack or main dish! Take a peek at our vegetarian bunny chow version and get scoffing tonight!

The final helping

As traditional foods go, South Africa has a menu bursting at the proverbial seams! From rooibos tea to gatsby sandwiches and bowls of steaming umngqusho (samp), as a tourist, returning Saffa or SA local, you certainly won’t struggle to find some tasty grub!

Expert advice for SA expats right here at FinGlobal

If you need emigration advice that caters to your unique needs and requirements, the FinGlobal team is the answer. They can assist with every aspect of your emigration journey, from the initial investigative stage to your final plane journey!

Whether you are a business owner, self-employed, or looking to broaden your horizons, FinGlobal can assist. Their accreditations and extensive industry experience mean they can offer professional advice on tax, retirement annuities, pensions, and much more. So why not contact the FinGlobal team and get your emigration journey started today?

To discuss your unique needs with our team, simply get in touch with us. Give us a call on +27 28 312 2764 or send us an email at, and we will assist you promptly.

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