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August 8, 2020
Here’s a list of eat-outs, restaurants, and online stores to answer your question ‘where to get South African food near me in the U.S.?’
Granted, all foreigners living away from their home countries do at some point get homesick. If you are a South African expatriate or student living in the U.S., and feeling homesick. Well, you could just travel back home!
But that is easier said than done. You could be deep into your work or studies in the U.S. plus it’s not like Cape Town, Durban, or Johannesburg is just a drive away. You need to book an airline, sit hours inside a cylinder flying hundreds of feet above the Atlantic. It’s just not that simple!
So why not bring a little of South Africa near you wherever you are in the U.S.? That could be in the form of eating South African foods. You may not be at home, but you could at least eat like you are at home!
The list above is nowhere near the holistic list of foods South Africa has to give to the culinary market. Though they are some of the most popular dishes in the country, ironically, they are not what South Africa exports the most to the international culinary market.
That can be seen from the fact that the most successful food brand from South Africa is Nando’s, a fast-food chain of restaurants. A special at this food chain is the flame-grilled peri-peri chicken. Nando’s restaurants are available in Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and Illinois.
2. The Shebeen
The name ‘The Shebeen’ is a local South African word meaning a traditional township tavern. Ironically, the restaurant is located in a salubrious area of Charlottesville, VA. Very much unlike what the name means in the South African dialect.
The Shebeen is known for some of the best servings of South African breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Notable lunchtime plates include the sadza cakes, boerewors burgers. Popular dinner dishes include Camps Bay calamari and the Cape mussels. Both of which are popular seafood dishes in South Africa.
The 10 Degrees South has tried to recreate the Western Cape right inside America. Some of the popular South African dishes on their menu include beef fillet sosaties, mealie pap, carpaccio salads, and biltong.
‘Amawele’ means ‘twins’ in Zulu. It is an appropriate name for the restaurant since it was founded by twin chefs, Pam and Wendy, form Durban. The duo paid homage to their South African roots by not just opening a restaurant serving South African cuisine but also gave the establishment a South African name.
Some of the notable Durban cuisines served at this establishment include roti wraps and bunny chows. You can also get the frikaddel slap chip roll (which is fries infused with Afrikaans meatballs), beef pork, spiced mince, and dried meat.
We are not going to make the common mistakes made by people, not from the continent who assume South African is a big homogenous group of people. No, South Africans come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, quite literally.
Naturally, traditional dishes are as diverse as the people themselves. Some even have a blend of recipes borrowed from neighboring countries like Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Some recipes are borrowed from far flang countries across the oceans like Britain, Portugal; primarily brought in by the settlers from Europe and South East Asia.
The different ethnic groups make South Africa a melting pot of various traditions and food cuisines. Though South African cuisines have not grown to be quite as popular in the U.S. as West African foods.
These are not the times to be out and about mingling with folks. No, coronavirus made sure of that, and until a vaccine or cure comes through. That will remain the new normal. If you feel like having a South African food, but not up to going out to an African restaurant. You can order South African food ingredients online and have them delivered right to your doorstep.
Then you can make all the magic happen right inside your kitchen, making sure the food you eat is up to your preferred hygiene-food-handling standards. Some of the notable online sources to order ingredients for South African cuisine are:
To most non-South Africans, Johannesburg defines the Southern African country. No wonder one of the world’s iconic freedom fighters, Nelson Mandela was laid to rest in this city. So naturally, foods common in ‘The City of Gold,’ Jozi, or Joburg will likely be well represented at an African restaurant in the U.S. selling traditional South African dish. As far as foods from Joburg is concerned, they include malva pudding, kota, atchar, melktert, chakalaka, and of course biltong.