Celebrate Heritage Day with Traditional South African Dishes That Go Beyond the Braai

Each year in early spring on the 24th of September, South Africans across every race, language, region, and creed get together to eat, drink, be merry, and to celebrate what binds us together as a rainbow nation – unity. A proud day that celebrates the cultural traditions, the communities, and the heritage of our country – Heritage Day not only mark the beginning of summer, but it also observes the start of braai season. And we all know how much South Africans love to braai!

We are a Nation of Outdoor Grillers

Every country has its day. Brazil celebrates with a 7-day carnival and street food, the Irish wear green on St Patrick’s Day, the French drink boutique gin on Bastille Day, and the Americans flip burgers and hot dogs on Independence Day. In South Africa, we indulge in the smoky-sweet flavour of a braai. If there is one thing that South Africans have in common with each other – from Cape Town, Pretoria, Johannesburg, and Durban to Mpumalanga – it is our love for sosaties, boerewors, lamb chops and steak.

This day is all about honouring a rainbow of cultures and tradition, and millions of South Africans will celebrate their holiday around a grill with family and friends. But there is so much more to our food heritage than braaiing a few delicious pieces of your favourite meat, so before you whip out your tongs to pay tribute to our colourful nation, look at some traditional dishes:

  • Braaibroodjie
  • Pap and Chakalaka
  • Melktert
  • Malay Bobotie
  • Pumpkin Fritters
  • Cape Dutch koeksisters
  • Curried samp and beans
  • Curried mince vetkoek
  • Chilli Bites
  • Beer bread
  • Malay Koeksisters
  • Durban curry bunny chow
  • Easy mealie bread
  • Waterblommetjie bredie
  • Masala chicken Gatsby
  • Suzelle’s DIY Braai Pie

South Africans live in a diverse country with plenty of cuisine cultures. And there is no better way to celebrate who we are and where we come from than with a braai, one of the above local-is-lekker dishes, an ice-cold beer, and a delicious traditional sweet dessert after – because nothing can complete a meal without one of grandma’s delicious delicacies.

Whatever you do to celebrate our heritage, make sure you enjoy it with friends and family, and remember how lucky you are to come from such an incredible country with so many friendly cultures.