Cape Town is a melting pot of cultures and flavours, resulting in a diverse and exciting food scene. From the fresh seafood caught daily off the coast to the vibrant street food scene, Cape Town offers a wide range of culinary experiences. We will be exploring the different types of food most known in Cape Town.
Table of Contents
As a coastal city, it’s no surprise that seafood is a popular choice in Cape Town. The city has access to some of the freshest and most diverse seafood in the world, including yellowtail, kingklip, snoek, crayfish, and mussels.
One of the most popular seafood dishes in Cape Town is fish and chips. This dish is typically made with hake or snoek, coated in batter, and deep-fried until golden and crispy. It’s often served with a side of tartar sauce and a sprinkle of salt and vinegar. You can find fish and chips at many local takeaway shops and restaurants, such as Kalky’s in Kalk Bay or Snoekies in Hout Bay.
Another popular seafood dish in Cape Town is calamari. This dish is typically made with fresh calamari tubes or rings, coated in a light batter or crumb, and deep-fried until golden and crispy. It’s often served with a side of lemon wedges and a spicy dipping sauce. You can find calamari at many seafood restaurants in Cape Town, such as The Codfather in Camps Bay or Harbour House in the V&A Waterfront.
Bunny Chow is a popular street food in Cape Town, originally from Durban. It’s a hollowed-out loaf of bread filled with curry, usually chicken or lamb, and served with a side of sambals, which are made from chopped tomatoes, onions, and chillies. The bread is used as a vessel to scoop up the curry, making it a convenient and tasty meal on the go.
Bunny Chow is said to have originated in the 1940s when Indian workers in Durban needed a portable and affordable lunch option. The dish has since become a South African staple, with variations found across the country. In Cape Town, you can find Bunny Chow at many street food markets, such as the Neighbourgoods Market in Woodstock or the Oranjezicht City Farm Market.
Braai (known by the rest of the world as a barbeque), is a popular social event in South Africa, and Cape Town is no exception. It’s a tradition that brings friends and family together over a hot grill and cold beer. Braai typically involves cooking various types of meat, such as steak, boerewors, lamb chops, and chicken, over an open flame. The meat is often seasoned with a blend of spices and marinades, such as peri-peri or braai spice.
Braai culture is deeply rooted in South African history and has become an important part of the country’s identity. In Cape Town, you can find braai spots at many public parks and beaches, such as Camps Bay Beach or the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. You can also find braai-friendly accommodations, such as Airbnb rentals with outdoor grills.
Cape Malay cuisine
Cape Malay cuisine is a fusion of South African and Southeast Asian flavours, with influences from Malaysia, Indonesia, and India. It’s a reflection of Cape Town’s multicultural history, as the Cape Malay community descends from Indonesian and Malaysian slaves brought to South Africa in the 17th century.
Cape Malay cuisine is characterized by its use of aromatic spices, such as cinnamon, cardamom, and turmeric. Some popular dishes include bobotie, a baked meat dish with a custard topping; samosas, fried or baked pastry filled with spiced meat or vegetables; and bredie, a hearty stew made with lamb or beef and vegetables.
One of the most popular Cape Malay dishes is curry. Cape Town is known for its rich and flavorful curries, which are often served with roti or rice. Some popular Cape Malay curries include chicken or lamb curry, seafood curry, and vegetarian curry. You can find Cape Malay cuisine at many restaurants in Cape Town, such as the Bo-Kaap Kombuis in the Bo-Kaap neighbourhood, where you can experience traditional Cape Malay dishes like bobotie and denningvleis.
Cape Town has a vibrant street food scene, with vendors serving up everything from gourmet burgers to African-inspired cuisine. Street food is a great way to experience the local culture and cuisine in a casual and affordable setting.
One popular street food in Cape Town is Gatsby. Gatsby is a massive sandwich made with a long roll, filled with hot chips, meat (usually steak or chicken), and various toppings like cheese, fried eggs, and peri-peri sauce. It’s a filling and flavorful meal that’s perfect for sharing with friends.
Another popular street food is boerewors rolls. Boerewors is a spicy sausage made with beef, pork, and spices, and it’s often served on a hot dog bun with a variety of condiments like tomato sauce, mustard, and chakalaka (a spicy vegetable relish). You can find street food vendors throughout Cape Town, especially in popular tourist areas like the V&A Waterfront, Greenmarket Square, and Long Street.
Cape Town is also known for its wine, as the city is located near several wine regions, including Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, and Constantia. These regions produce a wide range of wines, including Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Chenin Blanc. Wine tasting is a popular activity in Cape Town, and many wine farms offer tastings and tours.
Some of the most popular wine farms in Cape Town include Groot Constantia, Spier Wine Farm, and Vergenoegd Wine Estate. Many restaurants in Cape Town offer extensive wine lists, and wine pairings are often offered with meals. Some restaurants even have sommeliers on staff to help guests choose the perfect wine to accompany their meal.
Cape Town’s food scene is diverse and exciting, reflecting the city’s multicultural history and proximity to the ocean and wine regions. Whether you’re looking for fresh seafood, spicy curries, or a glass of world-class wine, Cape Town has something for every culinary need.