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Local Food Names that make Foreigners say “What?!”

South Africans sure have a way with words. With 11 official languages who can blame us? We’ve created a few colourful words for our food that often leave foreigners with confused expressions on their faces. Here are our top 8 favourite names for local food that will make foreigners say “what?!”


Commonly referred to by the rest of the world as “sausage”. No braai (or barbecue) is complete without a long string of fresh boerewors. It’s also noteworthy to point out that there is a huge difference between a hotdog and a boerewors roll. (Hotdogs are made with viennas and are sub-par to the mighty boerewors roll.)


Often accompanied by boerewors, pap can best be described to foreigners as porridge. Eaten savoury or sweet, pap forms part of most local households’ staple food. This dish is also known as mielie meel. (Maize porridge)

pap and boerewors
Instagram: @salifestyleguide


Simply put a mielie is a cob of corn. South Africans often braai mielies (barbecue cobs of corn) as a side to their main meat course.


Known to Americans as pickles or dill. In South Africa we use the British version of the word and simply call these little green delights gherkins.

Instagram: @slowferment

Shisha Nyama

A word for any meat cooked on a fire. (Not at all affiliated with the pipe) Also used to describe a barbecue.

All Gold

A South African brand of ketchup that is so delicious we use it as a collective noun. Some South Africans also refer to ketchup as “tomato sauce”.

Instagram: @biltong2u


A citrus fruit that can be peeled and divided into slices. Other nationalities know these as mandarins or tangerines.


A very unique name for a very unique condiment. Chakalaka is essentially a spicy vegetable relish that can be eaten with just about anything. Be wary of this side dish if you don’t do well with spicy food!

Chakalaka and pap
Instagram: @chef_ricardo_le_roux


Want to try some of these local dishes and condiments? #Staypremier at any one of our 18 properties and you’re bound to come across some of these at the buffet.

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