Although I have not been blogging for the past three weeks, I sure have been eating! Sorry for the hiatus, but I was busy hanging out with penguins and lions and rhinos and other cool stuff in South Africa. Still sounds crazy to me that I’ve been to Africa! If someone would have asked me a few years ago if I could ever see myself visiting Africa, I would have probably said “ummm are you crazy?!” Little did I know that a boy would change all of that. That boyfriend Jonty of mine who joins me in a ton of eating was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. That being said, it was time he show me his roots and where he was brought into this world.
Visiting a new place always sparks my taste buds with excitement. I dedicate a large majority of my vacation to finding the best food to enjoy, photograph, and write about. After all, if it hasn’t been photographed then you didn’t really eat it…right?! After spending some time in Johannesburg and Cape Town, I can confidently say that the food is incredibly delicious, fresh and worth talking about.
An authentic South African food is dried meat, also known as biltong. It is quite comparable to beef jerky, yet I find it way more enjoyable. To be honest, before this trip I would never indulge in some biltong whenever Jonty would come across some in Toronto. Three weeks surrounded by this stuff has converted me into a biltong fan.
For years I have been hearing Jonty talk about this Shawarma restaurant in Johannesburg that he went to years ago on his last visit back. I always just thought “ok yeah it’s shawarma, what’s the big deal?”. Well, I now know the big deal. It is super yum! The array of toppings and salads you can stuff inside your sandwich include the staples such as hummus, lettuce, eggplant, veggies, and then some nontraditional ones such as mashed avocado and potato salad!! Also, the beef ribs were literally fall-off-the-bone delicious, yet also quite rich. The juicy, soft meat smothered in a sweet, tangy sauce made for probably the best ribs I have tasted.
A common chain throughout the country is a place called The Spur. Since Jonty and I love to indulge in anything that has hit the deep fryer, we ordered calamari, with fries and onion rings. The one thing I couldn’t comprehend is why they are called rings. They are onion strings to us North Americans! Oh well, I still had no difficulty eating them.
The surrounding oceans in Cape Town allow for seafood to be readily available and extremely fresh throughout the country. Also a chain, which was just mediocre in my opinion was called the Ocean Basket. The food is tasty and the price is reasonable, but it would not be my first choice of restaurants. Anyways, Jonty and I ordered a seafood platter which consisted of prawns, calamari, fries, rice and hake fish, in which we got two fried and two grilled. When it arrived at our table we were overwhelmed with the amount of food, but before we knew it, our plates were empty.
These days you can find frozen yogurt on basically every corner in Toronto, however this trend is quite new to South Africa. There is only one fro yo shop, called Wakaberry, which we of course visited. I do prefer the yogurt here, as I find it to be creamier and tastier. However, for something so new in South Africa, I give it two thumbs up. The toppings were also a little bit different to me, considering there was some candy and treats that I am not familiar with, but I did give many of them a try and was pleasantly surprised. After all, if it’s sweet and sugary, I’ll most likely enjoy it!
We actually only ate Italian food once at a restaurant called Mimmos. Avocado is extremely popular in many dishes because of the freshness and mass quantity of them. The pizza we chose was topped with mushrooms, avocado, and chicken, which are three of my favourite things! We also ordered linguine with chicken and spinach in a garlic cream sauce. My carb craving was thankfully filled with a fresh, satisfying meal.
After all these savory delights I was in desperate need of something sweet. As I entered Milky Lane, I knew I had found the right place. Milkshakes, ice cream, sundaes, donuts, I didn’t know where to begin. I found a section on the menu which was kind of like a Mcflurry or blizzard with different flavours. I chose a Bar One (kind of like Mars bar) and banana creation. As soon as it arrived, I dug in and didn’t look up until I could see the bottom of the bowl. Let’s just say I enjoyed it. As for Jonty, he was feeling nostalgic and ordered something he loved from his childhood, which I find quite revolting, a bubblegum milkshake.
Whenever the topic of food and South Africa come up in conversation, the restaurant Turn n’ Tender is almost always recommended. Since this is the case, I just had to see what it was all about. To start, Jonty and I ordered biltong carpaccio, which was thinly sliced biltong topped with a bed of arugula, Parmesan cheese, and a drizzle of olive oil. This isn’t something I would have ever thought to order before this trip, but I am sooo glad that I did because I couldn’t get enough. As for the main course, Jonty and I each ordered a steak cooked to a medium perfection with a side of fries and onion rings/strings. I now know why this restaurant is talked about over and over again.
Stay tuned for part two and the rest of our photo diary from Cape Town.