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Lesson Transcript

Eric: Welcome back to AfrikaansPod101.com. This is All About, Lesson 7, South African Dishes. I'm Eric.
Pieter: My naam is Pieter.
Eric: Pieter, I have to say that I think most people don’t really know what South African cuisine is.
Pieter: Yes, most people when they think about South Africa, think about the safaris and the vineyards. But when it comes to the food…
Eric: Yeah... Well, I think one food people have heard about is biltong. Maybe also boerewors.
Pieter: Yeah biltong and boerewors, and of course Nando’s.
Eric: You’re already thinking about peri peri chicken, but let’s start with a South African breakfast.
Pieter: That would be bread and beskuit! Beskuit, also known as boerebeskuit, literally means “farmer’s cookie.” They are light, round, rather crumbly rusks that are eaten in South Africa with breakfast.
Eric: Yes, but you can eat them all day long if you like!
Pieter: Indeed. It’s customary to serve koffie met beskuit, flavored with aniseed and other flavors. We prepare this in the morning for guests who have stayed over.
Eric: How do you eat your beskuit?
Pieter: I love to dunk them in my morning coffee.
Eric: I think that’s the best way to eat them. Be careful not to dunk them for too long, though, or they’ll get soggy and end up in your cup!
Pieter: Always a danger… By the way, Lekker eet, hmm, how would you translate that.
Eric: It means something like “Let’s eat,” but a better translation might be the French phrase, bon appetite?
Pieter. I guess that will do. Lekker eet!
Eric: Okay, what’s next?
Pieter: melktert. that’s a famous South African pastry. It’s an eggy custardy pie, which you can have for dessert.
Eric: Mmm, delicious! And isn’t it actually strongly influenced by Portuguese cuisine?
Pieter: Indeed! There’s a very similar dish in Portugal. This is because neighbouring Mozambique used to be part of the Portuguese Empire, but it also has a strong Dutch tradition. In fact, I’ve heard a group of bakers in Bloemfontein created a special recipe including some ground tulip leaves!
Eric: That’s interesting. I’d loved to try it. By the way, listeners, did you know that because South Africa is such a diverse country, they call it the Rainbow Nation? Because South African food is so varied, some people call it the Rainbow Cuisine!
Pieter: That’s very true. Talking about food has already made me hungry. Right now, I would love some koeksisters, which are like braided donuts boiled in syrup!
Eric: Hmm.. well I guess that depends which ones you mean! There are the Afrikaner kind, which I guess can best be described as a sweet pastry, but then there are the Cape Malay kind, which are quite spicy!
Pieter: Cape Malay food is the best. I also love boeber!
Eric: Yes, the Cape Malay people traditionally drink that – it’s a sweet milk-based drink.
Pieter: That’s right. We drink it exactly halfway through Ramadan to celebrate completing 15 days of fasting. They say at that point they are op die berg, or “on the mountain,” as they’ve still got 15 days to go. There’s nothing quite like traditional homemade boeber!
Eric: Okay, what’s next?
Pieter: I want to mention Nando’s. It’s a chain of South African chicken restaurants that is famous around the world for their take on the traditional Portuguese peri peri spices.
Eric: Did you know the first Nando’s was founded in 1987 in downtown Johannesburg?
Pieter: I didn’t know that, although I really like a half chicken or a steak roll from that chain. South Africans love grilled meat. Did you know we had a whole culture based around it?
Eric: Yeah, South Africa is famous for its barbecues, or as you call them, braais. On the weekend, you might invite your whole family and all of your friends over to eat meat, drink some beer, and watch sports!
Pieter: And if you aren’t a big fan of fast food, I recommend that you go to Bo-Kaap and get some Malay food. I know a place that does a delicious Bobotie, which is like a meatloaf with raisins, an egg on top and lots of spices. By the way, Eric, do you know why biltong became so popular in South Africa?
Eric: No I don’t actually.
Pieter: Well, it might be one of South Africa’s oldest foods! The indigenous people of South Africa like the Khoikhoi used to preserve meat by salting it and hanging it up to dry. When European settlers arrived, they started doing it too but with vinegar, cloves and other things as well. It was the only way to keep the meat fresh in the heat. There were no ice boxes back in the 17th century!
Eric: Wow Pieter, you’re teaching me a lot of new things today! Okay, what other foods do you want to introduce?
Pieter: mieliebroodjies. In English, this means “sweet bread.”
Eric: It is a kind of bread made with sweet corn, traditionally buttered and eaten hot, straight out of the oven.
Pieter: And if you’re looking for a good soup, look for Stamppot.
Eric: This hearty meat and vegetable stew is usually made outside in a round, cast-iron pot over the fire. Everything is slow-cooked with delicious Dutch-Malay spices. Okay, before we go, let’s have a look at the top five South African delicacies.
Pieter: At number five I would put boerewors.
Eric: These are sausages made of beef and lamb, traditionally grilled.
Pieter: For number four I would say bobotie.
Eric: That’s the delicious Cape Malay-influenced meatloaf with egg, raisins, and spices. What would you put at number three?
Pieter: Sosaties
Eric: Yeah, I don’t think we mentioned that before! That’s marinated meat which is cubed, skewered, and, of course, put on the braai! Okay, this brings us to number two.
Pieter: Grilled game meat.
Eric: Yeah, game meat is delicious and very good for you.
Pieter: Like ostrich… that’s one of South Africa’s favorite meats!
Eric: Wow! And what about the number one food then?
Pieter: Biltong
Eric: Spiced and salted dried meat. It’s a perfect snack to take with you wherever you go. Now, how about we mention some food for the brave?
Pieter: Some challenging food?
Eric: Yeah, what would you suggest?
Pieter: At number five I would say “Trotters and beans.”
Eric: That’s a dish made of boiled pig’s or sheep’s trotters with onions and potatoes. What would you put at number four?
Pieter: Umqobothi.
Eric: It’s a kind of beer traditionally brewed with fermented maize and sorghum, a type of cereal.
Pieter: I know it sounds a bit strange, but it’s really tasty.
Eric: Then, what’s your number three?
Pieter: Walkie talkies
Eric: Grilled or deep fried chicken heads and feet. These are mainly sold by street vendors in the townships, but sometimes in business and industrial areas too. And your number two?
Pieter: Skilpadjies
Eric: Lamb’s liver wrapped in netvet or caul fat and grilled over hot coals. Okay, what would you say is the most challenging food?
Pieter: Mashonzha.
Eric: That is hardcore South African food! It’s made from Mopane worms, which are boiled in salt water then dried in the sun.
Pieter: Those are a real experience.
Eric: Listeners, we hope you get a chance to try them all out when you visit South Africa! Okay, that’s it for this lesson.
Pieter: Thanks for listening!
Eric: And we’ll see you next time.
Pieter: Totsiens!

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What's your favorite dish?