Which foods do South Africans miss most when abroad?

Posted: April 23, 2012

Today South Africa is characterised by the kaleidoscope of cultures, traditions and religions that brought about the term Rainbow Nation.

Without doubt a great way to experience the diversity of cultures is through the local food. For the daring diner, South Africa offers culinary adventures ranging from crocodile and mopane worms to ostrich eggs. But are these the food South Africans miss most when abroad?

Favourite South African Foods

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Biltong is a kind of cured meat which originates from South Africa.  The word biltong is from the Dutch bil (“rump”) and tong (“strip” or “tongue”) The Dutch settlers who arrived in southern Africa in the 17th century brought recipes for dried meat from Europe.


Is often referred to as droëwors in Afrikaans this product is related both in name and in nature to the Dutch droge worst.  Droëwors does not contain curing agent as found in a traditional cured sausage.


Boerewors is based on an older traditional Dutch sausage.  It is made from coarsely minced beef, sometimes combined with minced pork and lamb as well as spices.

Sparletta Creme Soda

Which is very similar in taste the UK versions of cream soda,  however happens to be bright green in South Africa.

Simba Nik Naks

Corn based crisps that come in a variety of flavours, however the cheese ones are most popular.

Mrs Balls Chutney

Is a brand with roots firmly planted in South African heritage, it is eaten with many South African meals.

Peppermint Crisp

Is a milk chocolate bar filled with a multitude of thin cylinders of mint-flavoured toffee Invented in South Africa by Wilson-Rowntree, it is common for children to bite off both ends of the bar and use the series of mint tubes as a straw to drink milk.

Ouma Rusks

South Africa’s best-known brand of rusks - a traditional South African snack that is dipped in coffee or tea before being eaten.

Maize meal

Locally referred to as mielie/mealie pap, is a staple food in South Africa. It is mixed with hot water and stirred until a porridge like mash is created, often served with tomato sauce and meat.

Tennis Biscuits

These square coconut biscuits made with real golden syrup, coconut and butter are apparently South Africa’s favourite biscuit.


Migratory circuits connecting South Africa, UK and Europe have long been active. Its therefore not surprising that from our research, three of the foods that came up in our top list were of Dutch origin Biltong, Drywors and  Boerewors.

There are approximately 140,000 South African born residents in the UK according to the 2001 census. It’s estimated that half of the total population of South Africans in the UK live and work in London. So we focused our research there, interviewing 5 of London’s top South African food shops to find out what foods they sell most of.

Despite The United Kingdom being a multi-cultural melting the items of food most missed by UK expats according to HCR are Cadburys Dairy Milk Chocolate, Bisto Gravy Granules and HP Sauce.-All British in heritage.

We would like to thank Kalahari Moon, www.biltongstmarcus.co.uk, Taste of South Africa, Biltong2u Ltd and South African Foods for their help with this study.

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