It seems fitting that the first stop on our EAT THE WORLD tour will be South Africa. My home country has many great food offerings, from a multitude of different ethnicities and nationalities that have come to influence the cuisine. With 11 official languages, and many more heritages from around the world in South Africa, there are so many delicious yummy things to be had! South Africa's history and immigrant populations from all over have given us a truly delicious melting pot! I miss all that food! Our food represents the unique cultures and rich history of the country. Food in South Africa incorporates cuisine descended from indigenous people and the colonial and settler cuisines, as well as the influence of cuisine from people brought to South Africa as slaves. There are strong influences of Portuguese, Greek and Indian food within the country too - I still whole heartedly believe that some of the best food you can have in the world is in South Africa! 

Fun Facts about South Africa

  • South Africa has the only street in the world to have housed two Nobel Peace Prize Winners:  Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu on Vilakazi Street in Soweto.

  • South Africa has the only national anthem in the world to be sung in four different languages.  

  • South Africa's Karoo region is home to some of the best fossils of early dinosaurs

  • Table Mountain alone has over 1,500 species of plants. This is more than the United Kingdom.

  • Table Mountain is also believed to be one of the oldest mountains in the world.

  • South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique are tearing down fences between the countries' game parks to create a 13,500 square mile game park, which will become the largest conservation area in the world. It will be bigger than Switzerland, Belgium or Taiwan. 

One of South Africa's "national" dishes can be said to be BOBOTIE. This is what we decided to make. It consists of spiced mince meat with bread and an eggy topping. Chutney and curry make key ingredients in this Cape Malay dish. It is a long standing meal in South Africa, and the first record of this dish was in a recipe from a Dutch cookbook in 1609. This can be served with rice, bread, salad, or chips (french fries). We opted for yellow rice. 


serves 6

  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, peeled and sliced
  • 2 1/4 lbs of quality lean ground beef
  • 1 thickish slice of bread (I used two slices as the bread slices were not very thick)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon medium curry powder (I used 2 tablespoons to improve the flavor)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • half a teaspoon of grated pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon of malt vinegar
  • 1/2 cup seedless raisins
  • 2 tablespoons of strong chutney (I used Mrs Balls Chutney and put in 4 tablespoons)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 medium eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. Heat oil in a medium saute pan. Stir in onions. Cook over medium heat until transparent. Add ground beef. Cook until lightly browned and crumbly.
  3. Soak bread in half the milk. Squeeze out excess milk and mash with a fork. Do not toss squeezed out milk. Pour it back into the remaining milk. Set milk aside and add pulled apart bread to the meat mixture. 
  4. Add curry, sugar, salt, pepper, turmeric, vinegar, raisins and chutney to the meat mixture. Spoon the mixture into a greased baking dish and place bay leaves on top. 
  5. Bake for 50-60 minutes in preheated oven.
  6. Beat eggs with remaining milk and pour over mixture approximately 25-30 minutes before end of baking time. 
  7. Serve with steamed rice and extra chutney. 


Spud. The story of a young South African boy pre-1994 in his first year of boarding school in South Africa. We continued on to watch Spud 2 afterwards. 



National Dish of South Africa Bobotie with yellow rice and chutney


I was extremely worried that The Traveling Ninja was not going to like this dish. I was also extremely worried I was going to stuff it up! I have never made it myself before, although my mom's is fantastic and has had many great reviews from friends here in the States. I copied her recipe though and I'm proud to say it worked! The additions she recommended definitely added to the flavor. Having some extra Mrs Balls Chutney Sauce is also an excellent side sauce for the rice!

What I liked:

Bobotie has such an amazing flavor and taste. The different spices really make it exciting! I am really glad we used the additions as recommended by my mom. 

What I didn't like:

We bombed out on the rice. I bought a box of yellow rice from Whole Foods. Either I didn't cook it correctly, or it was just kind of rubbish rice! Luckily we had some white rice from the night before and heated that up - it was much better. Also I don't like my food photography skills! Gonna need to work on that! 


South African Bobotie with yellow rice and Mrs Balls Chutney recipe


The Traveling Ninja's Verdict:

A delicious spicy treat if a lion doesn't eat it first... or you


Have you tried Bobotie? Have you traveled to South Africa? What country should we eat from next?