Satisfy Your Foodie Side on a Gourmet Walking Tour in Cape Town

by Sandy Salle on February 18, 2015

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Guest article written by our Cape Town tour guide, Pam McOnie of Cape Fusion Tours

So much about a country and a culture is expressed through its cuisine. The first thing I do when I travel is head out to taste the local dishes. In South Africa much of the cuisine is a home cuisine and to get a taste you really need to search hard! As such this tour aims to combine the history of our country and city through exploring the back streets to find the tastes that represent our entire rainbow nation. Today we walk the streets of Cape Town and experience its history, its people and its gourmet delights. En route we stop to taste a mixture of traditional food, South African street food and to visit some artisanal foodie and coffee shops. This way you will enjoy a real taste of the Cape!

Within South Africa, there are a large number of different tribes. On the gourmet walking tours in Cape Town, we sample some of the basics of what people eat on a daily basis. We stop and sample some traditional tribal cuisine dishes – pap, samp and beans, and Vetkoek.

9% of our population are categorized as “Cape Malay.” This grouping comes from our early history where we were brought slaves, mainly from Indonesia, plus a few from Malaysia, Sri Lanka, India, Madagascar, and East / West Africa. The slave population had relationships with their local Dutch East Company masters and with the indigenous Khoi Khoi population, resulting in a “mixed” population of people in the Cape. These groups brought with them their knowledge of cooking with spices, and, as a result, we in the Cape are left with a cuisine known locally as Cape Malay cuisine. On the Cape Town culinary tour, we try the local samosas and a salome – simply a rooti wrapped with curry in the middle.

1.3% of our population are Indian. Although some Indian people came to South Africa as slaves in 1659, the majority came 150 years ago to work as indentured labour on the sugar cane fields of Kwazulu Natal. Most had a 7-year contract and would then be guaranteed a passage home to India. Although some decided to stay in Africa, many who wished to return discovered that the contractors refused to pay for the return voyage. As such, Natal still has a large Indian population. Over the years the curry recipes they had brought with them ended up having a South African touch to them. One of the interesting items that remains as part of our street food culture in Natal is a take away bunny chow. A bunny chow is quite simply a loaf of bread with the insides scooped out and filled with curry. It takes away the cost of packaging! During this Cape Town gourmet tour, stop for a taste of a gourmet version of the traditional Bunny Chow!

Note that the Gourmet Walking Tour in Cape Town combines experiencing the city from an architectural, historical, shopping and culinary point of view. Each aspect works hand in hand in experiencing a city and its people!    

During our walk we will also taste some of the following items:

  • African Soul food: pap, samp and beans, a meat stew, and vetkoek
  • Falooda – a traditional Muslim Rose Milkshake
  • A Koesister – which is a traditional Cape Malay spicy doughnut
  • A salome or “dhaltjies”/chilli bites and a Cape samosa
  • Coffee from one of the micro artisan coffee roasters in the city (we can try at a couple of them if we have coffeeholics on tour!)
  • Artisan Chocolate made from pure unroasted cocoa beans and combined only with sugar – suitable for vegans!
  • Bobotie pies – this is a modern take on our traditional Babotie dish, which both our Cape Malay group and our Afrikaner group refer to as their traditional dish
  • Milk Tart – traditionally Cape Malay and Afrikaans in its heritage
  • Gourmet Bunny Chows!
  • Visit Atlas Spices – the main spice shop where the Cape Malay community shop. Here you will have the opportunity to buy spices and to taste Meebos – a local sweet made from dried apricots.
  • Boerewors – a traditional South Africa sausage traditionally cooked on a Braai (BBQ)


This Article was written by Pamela McOnie who contributes to the foodie side of this website and also offers private guiding services and gourmet & wine tours of the Cape region.

Have a question for Pam or want to have Pam guide your next Cape Town tour? Contact us today.

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