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Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Ten of the best: South African street food

Ten of the best: South African street food:



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Ten of the best: South African street food

Some of the best fun in South Africa happens outside, and perhaps our excellent street food has something to do with it. Here’s a round up of old favourites and a guide for newbies.


Street food and home cooking are the highlights of South African cuisine, and few dishes are more beloved than those we seek late at night, the morning after, or on the run. Ranking these foods against each other would be unfair, and limiting the selection to only five or ten would be criminal. Instead, here’s a selection of national favourites.
Bunny Chow
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The Bunny Chow, or ‘bunny’ to addicts, is a Durban invention that was made to eat on the street. A hollowed quarter loaf of bread brimming with hot curry is often topped with sambal and never eaten with a knife and fork. Leave your larny/lanie at home for this one.
The Gatsby
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The Gatsby needs little introduction – at least for Capetonians. A foot-long feast that’s impossible to conquer alone, it’s packed with slap chips and your meat of choice. Arguments about where to get the best Gatsby in Cape Town abound, but everyone agrees that a Gatsby without chips is merely a sandwich.
Johnny’s Roti
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The chip and cheese Roti, a Durban favourite, is only available at a place the locals call Jonny’s Roti, even though it’s actually Sunshine Chip N Ranch. This is a hungover student’s dream that could keep a small family satisfied. The only other branch is in Mowbray, though it’s not as famous in Slaapstad.
Samosas
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There’s only one ‘o’ in samosa, but you wouldn’t know it in Mzansi. These golden, joy-filled triangles pervade South African markets, bakeries, corner shops and even petrol stations. Some like ‘em with soy, others with spicy chicken, and the hunt is usually on for either a pile of little bites, or a face-sized snack.
Boerie Rolls
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Companion to every sports game, festival and Saturday morning parking lot, the Boerie Roll is a South African staple. The smell of frying onions alone will have you lining up for as long as it takes to get a tomato-sauced boerie in a soft white roll.
Amagwinya
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Vetkoek’s status as a street food is debatable, but amagwinya leaves no confusion. Traditionally topped with jam, cheese or mince, the heart-attack in your hand is great before a night out.
Walkie Talkies
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Walkie Talkies, and perhaps Smileys, are some of our scariest street-side treats. Smoking skottels bubbling with deep-fried chicken feet may not appeal to everyone, but dedicated munchers keep fires alight on the road home to the kasi.
Masala Pineapples
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Masala-coated pineapples may not be famous, but they’re certainly a long-established street food. Served on the Durban beachfront for decades, they’re a sweet and spicy snack for brave newbies and old fans.
Fish and Chips
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We share our love for harbour-side fish and chips with Kiwis, Aussies and – of course – the Brits. Whether you like your chips slap or crispy, and with snoek or hake, you’ll probably be hounded by seagulls.
Pies
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Pies – or what the Brits would call a ‘pasty’ are certainly padkos, if not street food. When not near a padstal, the best place to get a pie is at a bakery, or – believe it or not – a petrol station. Locals have been known to choose to fill their tanks at certain places only because they stock their favourite brand.
Kota
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A Sowetan cousin to the Bunny Chow, the Kota loaf is a blue collar basic. Another petrol station staple, it consists of a quarter loaf of white bread houses hot chips and viennas or polony topped with tomato sauce.
With no mention of Shawarmas, Prego rolls or Sosaties, this list is far from complete. What are some of your favourites when it comes to street chow?

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