Fri. Jul 19th, 2019

South African foods that the rest of the world knows by a different name

There are some South African foods which have completely different meanings in the rest of the world. We’ve picked a few of the best.

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My fellow South Africans, we’re a funny bunch. For so many reasons other than food, but let’s focus on food now. We talk of chips and russians. Why russian exactly?

Turns out, it is actually named after the Polish Kielbasa and the Russian Kolbasa, and the delicacy has been a part of our country’s cuisine for hundreds of years. You live and you learn.

Talks of a bunny chow and see the confusion darken your international friends’ faces. Not to mention a Gatsby. We’ve compiled a short list; come on, have a laugh with us.

Gatsby

Mostly consumed in the Cape, a Gatsby is pretty much in a food group of its own. My fellow Johannesburg people, please sit down. The thing we call an AK47 is not, I repeat, not a Gatsby.

A Gatsby is a foot-long sub stuffed with chips and meat, usually fish or polony, but I’ve seen beef and chicken Gatsby’s too.

It’s the quintessential street food, and it takes carbo-loading to the next level.

To the rest of the world, the reference is to the 1925 novel titled The Great Gatsby, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

It was also made into an award-winning film in 2013, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire.

The World

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Photo: Promotional film material

South Africa

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Photo: www.roadsandkingdoms.com

Russian

Why do we call it a russian? It baffled me, so I did some research. It may be named after the Russian Kolbasa or the Polish Kielbasa. It’s a sausage made in a similar way to what we South Africans know as the humble Russian.

According to Boerewors & Biltong in Switzerland on Facebook:

“There were successive waves of Polish settlers in the 1920s, 30s, 50s and 70s, and I think it is fair to assume that the Kielbasa came with them.”

The World

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Photo: Wikimedia Commons

South Africa

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Photo: Envato Elements

Bunny chow

Don’t worry, no bunnies were harmed in the writing of this article. Contrary to what your international friends may believe, a bunny chow consists of chicken, mince or lamb. We repeat, no bunnies were harmed.

Originating in Durban, a bunny chow is a half loaf of bread, hollowed out and filled to the brim with yummy goodness. Moreover, it’s cheap, it’s filling, and known as the perfect backpacker meal.

The World

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Photo: Envato Elements

South Africa

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Photo: www.rocharam.co.za

Monkey gland sauce

The Monkey Gland is a cocktail of gin, orange juice, grenadine and absinthe. It’s named after a surgical technique of grafting monkey testicle tissue into humans. Okay then…

The practice was started by Dr Serge Voronoff, intended to produce longevity. But to us South Africans, monkey gland sauce is a thing we put on burgers and steaks.

The World

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Photo: www.chowhound.com

South Africa

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Photo: Envato Elements

Skilpadjies

A ‘skilpadjie’ is the Afrikaans word for a tiny turtle. It’s also what we call a traditional dish made with lamb’s liver wrapped in caul fat and secured with a toothpick.

For some reason, the dish is also called ‘muise’ (mice), ‘vlermuise’ (bats), and ‘pofadder’ (puff adder).

The World

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Photo: Envato Elements

South Africa

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Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Walkie talkies

Everywhere else in the world, ‘walkie talkies’ are 2-way radios. Not in South Africa, no. Here by us, when we talk about ‘walkie talkies’ it usually goes along with pap (porridge.)

The dish is made using chicken feet, heads and often giblets, boiled or braai’ed and served with a tasty sauce. Try it. it’s quite tasty. It’s a delicacy enjoyed all over the world, including Brazil, Nepal, Romania, Russia and Italy.

The World

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Photo: Envato Elements

South Africa

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Photo: www.foodformzansi.co.za

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