13 February 2012 by Chris Marais

Ode to the mighty meaty pie…

There’s a revolution under way – and it’s happening on the side of our roads.

South Africa, you may have noticed, is in the middle of a roadside revolution. You’ve seen them in passing on your journeys; you may have been brave enough to stop and enter 1.

Yes, we’re talking about the Great South African padstal (farm stall). In decades gone by, they were nothing more than flimsy wooden shacks erected by a farmer, with a worker listlessly selling a couple of bored bananas and some tomatoes that had long reached their sell-by date.

The sign always promised you great things. Once you stepped into the gloomy little padstal, however, all you wanted to do was run away.

That’s all changed. The roadside revolution I speak of is the Great Padstal Revival. The sign promises the world, and the world is invariably delivered to you, fresh and tasty and full of goodness. Outside Nelspruit is Hall’s, the mother of padstals. Outside Port Elizabeth is Nanaga, the father of all padstals.

Which brings me to the mighty meaty pie. I know you health buffs out there like a padstal for its farm produce, but me, long-time grizzled road warrior that I am, I am a fan of a meat pie.

And somewhere in the middle are great little padstals like Daggaboer’s Nek on the N10 between PE and Cradock (and the dagga is always sold out, according to the sign outside), and the Houw Hoek Farm Stall in the Western Cape.

Which brings me to the mighty meaty pie. I know you health buffs out there like a padstal for its farm produce, but me, long-time grizzled road warrior that I am, I am a fan of a meat pie. And I judge my padstals according to the quality of the meat pie, especially the pepper steak variety.

Of late it’s been a close-run thing between Nanaga and the Houw Hoek padstal. I’m kind of leaning towards Houw Hoek because of the general setting and ambience of Apple Country around me. And the fact that their pies are just that: mighty and meaty.

And if you call that junk food, well them I’m just a junkyard dog…

Category: Culture & History

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