Five dishes to try in Dubai and Abu Dhabi on South Africa's Heritage Day
Here's a guide to understanding some of South Africa’s best-loved cuisine and where to find it in the UAE
On September 24 every year, South Africans celebrate their diverse and rich culture with Heritage Day. Whether or not you speak any one of South Africa’s 11 official languages or belong to any of its ethnic tribes, the country’s delicious and diverse dishes will appeal to any foodie – and are available in the UAE.
From traditional African stews to syrupy sweet treats, here are five dishes to know and try this Heritage Day.
Despite its name, bunny chow involves no rabbits whatsoever. Taking inspiration from South Africa’s Indian community and originating in the Durban region in KwaZulu-Natal, the dish consists of half a hollowed-out white bread filled with a spicy Durbanstyle curry (because not all curries are made equal). This carb-fest of a meal is eaten with a carrot salad and best devoured using your hands.
Try it at: Durban Curry Cafe, Pearl Marina Apartments, Dubai Marina promenade
Braai is used as both a verb and a noun in South Africa. It means to cook food on an open flame, typically by grilling a variety of marinated meat – steak, chops, sausages, chicken and boerewors, a type of South African sausage made from course ground meat mixed with seasoning and spices. Accompanying sides include potato salad,
roosterbrood (a type of braai bread), pap and green salad. Both the words braai and boerewors originate from the South Africa’s Dutch heritage that has made its way into the Afrikaans culture, but is enjoyed by all South Africans whether watching a big sports match, for a birthday celebration or just a fun evening.
Try it at: The Meat Co, Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi
Made from coarsely ground maize, this dish is a national staple in South Africa and is enjoyed as a main meal, a breakfast porridge served with milk, butter and sugar, or as a side dish in the form of uphuthu, with stews, curries and braais or simply on its own with amasi (the South African version of labneh). You can find the maize meal in its coarse form in most grocery stores in the UAE with a South African section if you want impress your friends by making it on your own.
Try it at: The Grand Grill, Habtoor Grand Beach Resort, Dubai Marina
This South African dish is made in a cast iron pot and often cooked over an open flame outdoors for hours, offering tender falling-offthe-bone oxtail served with root vegetables such as carrots and potatoes. Potjie is the Afrikaans term for pot. Often served with dumplings called leqebekoane, this winter dish is influenced by the Basotho people who lived in an area that encompasses much of South Africa’s Free State province.
Try it at: Tribes, Mall of the Emirates or The Dubai Mall
Cape Malay-style koesister or Dutch-style koeksister
Yes, they are different. The Cape-Malay koesister (pictured) is flavoured in aromatics such as cinnamon, cardamom, mixed spices and aniseed, deep-fried and then doused in syrup made of water and sugar, and covered in coconut. The term Cape Malay comes from the Dutch settlers who sent thousands of labourers, slaves and political exiles from their colonies of the Dutch East Indies (present-day Indonesia) to Cape Town. The plaited Dutch-style koeksister, on the other hand, is from within the Afrikaans community, and is crispy on the outside, and very saucy and syrupy on the inside.
Try them at: Hyperama, Al Quoz, Dubai (the store delivers to Abu Dhabi) or check out the South Africans in Dubai Facebook group, where you can order these homemade delicacies
Updated: September 23, 2019 09:22 AM