By Puja Gupta
Food is invariably a universal connector – however, experiencing and sharing-in the food of a different land is a very personal experience.
As early merchants and travellers navigated the globe, they not only bought back home goods and ideas, but also recipes, spices and edible ingredients, which they then customized and further cultivated.
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Interestingly, South Africa’s delicious signature dish – the Bunny Chow (also simply known as the ‘bunny’), has Indian origins. The dish consists of a hollowed-out loaf of white bread filled with meat or vegetable curry. This dish, though rare in India, is extremely popular with the locals of the Rainbow Nation. In fact, each year in September the ‘Bunny Chow Barometer’, which attracts numerous entrants from across the Durban Metro region to compete for the title of top bunny maker, is held in Durban.
Other delicacies include, traditional African food cooked over an open fire or in a three-legged pot (or potjie), morogo (type of wild spinach), chakalaka (a spicy relish served alongside a main course), and the ubiquitous boerewors roll (a variety of spicy sausage).
Vegetarians will find a wide range of appetizing food options such as veg bobotie (a national dish of South Africa, which is a delicious mixture of curried vegetables, spices, fruits and nuts with a creamy golden topping, that add to its complex flavor), pampoenkoekie (light, fluffy and literally melt in your mouth pumpkin fritters) and pap tart (Pap, also known as mieliepap, is the Afrikaans word for porridge, typically prepared with corn-maize).
Before the coronavirus pandemic resulted in shutting down of borders, South African food trails were hugely popular among visitors. In South Africa, a typical food trail would include a few must-have experiences like wine tasting, Bunny Chow sampling, coffee tasting at a local roaster, walking tours of food gardens, visits to ethical butcheries, spice shops and quaint chocolate factories.
Since a significant number of Indian travellers are vegetarian, South Africa offers a vegetarian adaption/variation to nearly every local South African dish, whether it is Bunny Chow or the traditional braai – this resonates well with Indian travellers on food trails.
With the rise of halal consciousness, the destination has also increased efforts to make restaurants across the food trail halal friendly. Wine, and wine trails in particular, have also become an enormous part of the South African experience.
We can’t wait for borders to open, and for us to have an authentic South African dining experience! (IANS)