National dishes to delight our World Cup visitors

WITH more than a million visitors expected for the 2010 World Cup, the tournament will put the global spotlight on South African tastes and flavours.

WITH more than a million visitors expected for the 2010 World Cup, the tournament will put the global spotlight on South African tastes and flavours.

Our cooking is difficult to pin down. It has its roots in the many cultures that exist in the country. You will find dishes that include a mixture of Eastern flavours, Western tastes and a healthy dose of indigenous ingredients.

Almost every city and town has its specialtiesand there are regional trends too; the end result is a huge number of local dishes rather than a single national cuisine. However, there are some dishes that you will find almost everywhere and that are now standard among the many South African communities scattered across the country.

From biltong to slap tjips, wors to samp and beans, bobotie to waterblommetjie bredie, the 2010 visitors will not only enjoy this beautiful country but also its unique tastes.

Fresh facts about South African food:

Koeksuster: synonymous with South African desserts. The Afrikaner version is more like a cake - but spicier and usually covered in dried coconut. It is prepared by deep-frying dough in oil then dipping the dough into cold sugar syrup. Best eaten cold, koeksusters are very sticky, sweet and taste like honey.

Potjiekos: A traditional South African dish which all nationalities make. Loosely translated, it is "pot food". The recipe is a stew which includes meat, vegetables, rice or potatoes, cooked slowly with a touch of spice. In the olden days the dish would be prepared outside in an area where villagers could have meetings and socialise over a meal.

Mopane worms: Popularly known as Masonja, they are traditionally found in trees in the northern parts of South Africa. They are hand-picked in the wild, and then preserved by drying them in the sun or by smoking to add more flavour. These can be eaten dry as a snack or as part of a warm meal with mash or pap.

Mageu: A Zulu-Xhosa, non-alcoholic drink originally found in the Zulu and Xhosa-speaking regions (KwaZulu-Natal or Eastern Cape). It is made from fermented mealie pap.

Malva pudding: is a sweet pudding of Dutch origin, usually served hot with custard and/or ice-cream. It is made with apricot jam and has a caramelised texture.

Bunny chow: is a slang term for a fast food made from a loaf of bread, with the inside scooped out and filled with curry chicken, lamb or beef.

It was created in Durban, where there is a large Indian community, in the 1940s. The bunny chow has since become synonymous with township living where many variations have emerged.

Amasi: is the common word for fermented milk. It tastes more like yoghurt but is thicker. Amasi is traditionally prepared by storing unpasteurised cow's milk in a calabash container to allow fermenting. This thick liquid is mostly poured over the mealie meal (pap), or drunk straight.

Umqombothi is a beer made from maize (corn), maize malt, sorghum malt, yeast and water. The beer has a heavy and distinctly sour aroma.

The beer is also often used during customary weddings, funerals and imbizos (village meetings).

Isidudu is a Zulu-Xhosa traditional staple food - traditional pap prepared with pumpkin and served with amasi.

Mogodu is beef or mutton tripe. Eaten as a delicacy, it has become traditional with all ethnic groups. It is stewed with onions, tomatoes and potatoes and served with bread, rice or pap.

Rooibos tea is a herbal variety, rich in anti-oxidants, that grows nowhere else on earth but South Africa. It is one of South Africa's biggest exports.

Drink it hot or cold, with or without milk, plain or sweetened with honey.

Globally the tea has also become an ingredient in beauty therapy treatments.

Klippies: In pubs all over the nation you will hear South Africans order "a double Klippies and Coke". The drink has been packaged as a lifestyle drink, which is mixed and ready to drink and available in up-market supermarkets and bottlestores.

Pap is finely ground maize porridge made from mielie meal. Served with almost everything and eaten at any time of the day.

Smiley is a whole, roasted sheep or cow's head (including skin, eyes, tongue, and nose). Traditionally only men were allowed to eat this part at a traditional ceremony. The cooking process takes place on an open fire to char the skin and is eaten with pap.

Walkie talkies are the stewed heads and feet of chickens served with tomatoes, rice or pap. Additional info SA tourism