Dining and Braai-ing

In preparation for 10 days in Cape Town, Cousin Gary wanted to know what I’d like to see and do.  He was, amazingly enough, prepared to take off a couple of days from work during the week – and both weekends – to tour me where I wanted to tour.

I threw together a list of highlights, with a few priorities and sent it to Gary before I left.  I knew I wanted to climb Table Mountain, or at least a good part of it.  I wanted to go the Cape of Good Hope, which was also part of Table Mountain National Park. I wanted to go back to the wine country and back to Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden . And I wanted to get a healthy – and maybe beyond healthy – load of traditional South African food.

To my astonishment, when Gary picked me up at the airport and drove me back to his home, he had already put together an elaborate set of options for everything I wanted to do and more and a strategic itinerary to maximize my experiences.  And he would be the volunteer driver to show me the way.

In the next blog post, you’ll see pictures and hear stories of these various adventures, but first… with the help of Rachel and Ella and Anna Castle and random adults floating in and out of the conversation, you will be introduced to a lexicon of South African delectables and other SA words of wonder and weirdness.

  1. Snoek – A white fish, kind of like cod
  2. Snoek pate – This the SA equivalent to white fish salad
  3. Biltong – This is a kind of softish meat jerky.  Mostly you can find it in beef, nowadays, but you can also get it from a wide range of animals including various boks (bucks like Springbok), or even ostrich.
  4. Black Cat Peanut Butter – This is the best darn version in the world.
  5. Chuckles – a chocolate malted milk ball with a great kid-friendly name
  6. Rusk – a hard scone-like tooth shattering crusty pastry which people keep in their backpacks for long treks… or for dunking at the table.
  7. Braai – is equivalent to BBQ. Braai is the verb form; “let’s braai it”
  8. Braai Vleis – this is the noun form of BBQ (Vleis is pronounced flais- similar to Yiddish flesh).  I’m going to a Braai Vleis
  9. Snoekkies – This is probably Cape Town’s most famous fish and chip place. Gary took me to the one in Haut Bay
  10. Boerewors (Wors) – These are sausages that you have when you Braai. They have dried coriander seasoning, We had these at Gary and Janine’s when there was a huge gathering of all three of Sybil’s children, spouses and available children.
  11. Pap – This is like the national side dish of SA.  A lot like cornmeal grits in the US.
  12. Bobotie –Minced meat is simmered with spices, usually curry powder, herbs and dried fruit, then topped with a mixture of egg and milk and baked until set.
  13. Melktert – Similar to the British custard tart or Portuguese pasteis de nata, melktert consists of a pastry case filled with milk, eggs and sugar, which is usually thickened with flour. The finished tart is traditionally dusted with cinnamon.
  14. Monkey Gland sauce – if you have to ask…. No, don’t worry, it’s not really what it sounds like. It’s a red chili based salsa.
  15. Naartjie – a Clementine tangerine
  16. Miellie – corn
  17. Nandos – A very popular fried chicken fast food restaurant throughout the country and recently spread to England.

OK… then the girls wanted to add some South African terms that had nothing to do with food but that would give me a real sense of the local patois, the influence of Afrikaans on local English, and… well.. the best ways to swear.

  1. Lappie – A cleaning cloth/rag
  2. Doos – An idiot
  3. Voetsak – go away 
  4. Eina – ouch
  5. Dagga – marijuana 
  6. Jou ma se poes – (From the Urban Dictionary) “Your mother’s cunt. A derogatory Afrikaans phrase used throughout South Africa. Can be highly insulting to a stranger, but oddly endearing among friends.”
  7. Poes – Defined by the girls as “a very rude word”
  8. Vok –  Well, this one is too easy. In English its ..  well… replace the V with an  F and it gets pretty obvious.
  9. Gatvol – extremely fed up

Do they allow nasty words on blogs?  Hmm… we’ll find out.


One thought on “Dining and Braai-ing

  1. Daniel, I am enthralled by your accounts of all of these aspects of your travels – from your arrival in Istanbul and your interactions with people there, to your time with your amazing extended family, and now to this fascinating vocabulary lesson – all against the backdrop of the heartache of the world. Thank you!


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