South Africa’s rich history and diverse cultural background are the perfect ingredients for a culinary safari. Often called the “rainbow cuisine,” South African foods reflect a mingling of many cultures that culminate into an adventure for your taste buds.

For the next few minutes, I’m going to be your guide. Meet the big 5 of your culinary safari. It’s the must “taste” on your South African journey.

BILTONG
For lack of a better description, biltong is a form of South African jerky. It can consist of cured beef to wild game and is made with a variety of  spices. This mouth watering snack is a staple and is often enjoyed with beer.

BOBOTIE
This Cape Malay dish is made with spiced minced beef or lamb, curry powder, turmeric, onions and dried fruit, typically raisins or apricots. It’s topped with a flavorful egg custard. It’s not overly spicy but does offer a unique combination of complex flavors. Bobotie is often served with Sambal, a chili type sauce.

I had the pleasure of trying this dish while traveling on Rovos Rail from Pretoria to Cape Town. However I’m guilty of removing the egg custard topping as I’m not a big fan of eggs.

Try Bobotie at home with this tasty recipe.

BOEREWORS
A very popular sausage in South Africa often referred to as “wors.” It’s made from minced beef that can often be combined with pork and/or lamb. Coriander gives this sausage its strong flavor. It is often served with pap (South African porridge), rice or potatoes. Street vendors also sell it on a bun.

Boerewors is my favorite for breakfast each morning when visiting South Africa. The taste so unique from any other sausage I’ve had in the United States. I try to ignore the high fat content and savor each bite.

MALVA PUDDING
Malva pudding is a sweet moist pudding served with custard. The pudding is made with apricot jam and has a caramelized texture. The pudding is served drenched with custard. It alone is worth a trip to South Africa! Thankfully you can find it on the dessert menus of most South African restaurants.

This Dutch dish is one of my “must have” desserts. It seems others share that sentiment. Oprah Winfrey’s personal chef, Art Smith, prepared Christmas dinner for the students at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in 2006. Their favorite dish of the night? You guessed it. Chef Smith’s Malva pudding!  Chef Smith’s recipe is available to try at home.

POTJIEKOS
A small pot meal at its finest. Potjiekos is a stew made from a variety of spiced meats, vegetables and often a form of alcohol such as beer, sherry or wine. Once all the ingredients are added to the pot, it’s left to simmer to perfection. Served most often with rice or pasta, potjiekos typically take about 6-hours to cook. Here’s an excellent potjiekos recipe to try at home.

ARE YOUR TASTE BUDS A LITTLE MORE ADVENTUROUS? No worries. You’ll find everything from delectable wild game selections like kudu, impala and even warthog to crocodile sirloins and even fried caterpillars!

If your taste buds aren’t up for a safari of their own, old familiar favorites from hamburgers to spaghetti are readily available. No matter what your palate craves, South Africa will deliver.

Complete your culinary safari with a peek at this video from Fox News entitled “South Africa’s Rainbow Cuisine” featuring Braai Restaurant in New York City.

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