Choose your country and language:

Africa

  • Global
  • Angola
  • Botswana
  • DRC
  • Ghana
  • Kenya
  • Mozambique
  • Nigeria
  • South Africa
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda

Americas

  • USA
  • Argentina
  • Brazil

Asia Pacific

  • China
  • India
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Australia

Europe

  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • United Kingdom
Back
Vibrant culture

Indian cuisine takes on South African elements

Food
History
Culture
Family
Durban

EExploration by sea in the 16th and 17th centuries led to a massive explosion of the world as people knew it. Suddenly, European travellers were able to traverse the continents, finding treasures and experiencing cultures.

When South Africa was being colonised in the late 1800s and early 1900s, Indian migrants were brought over to South Africa. Since this time, they tended to gravitate, together, towards the east coast of South Africa, in and around the area now known as Durban in KwaZulu-Natal. This led to a distinct loyalty to the characteristics of Indian cooking, albeit nuanced by centuries of South African influences.

Indian cuisine reflects the climate, land, culture and history in which it finds itself. South Africans of Indian origin have retained the core culinary traits of their Asian motherland but they have also incorporated African ingredients and hospitality traditions from their nearest neighbours.

Did You Know?
TThe restaurants of South Africa offer a wide variety of international cuisine types. These vary from Eastern favourites, such as Thai, Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese, to German eateries, English cafés, Moroccan food stalls and American-style diners.

SSouth African people of Indian descent have taken to cooking with traditional Zulu ingredients such as the fermented milk drink, amasi, while relishes such as the township classic chakalaka show evidence of the incorporation of Indian spices.

TThe local Indian cuisine has very distinctive flavours. Spices are used extensively, and much of the cooking is considered to be hotter than the fare usually consumed by non-Indian South Africans. Still, the complexity and aromas of these spicy combinations are quite irresistible, which is why so many local dishes of other origins bear the marks of this cultural influence.

The most common spices found in these curries are coriander, cumin, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, and plenty of chillies. Garlic and ginger are essential to creating the characteristic flavours. Curries are served with rice as well as some sort of flatbread (such as naan bread, roti or poppadum). Other common sides to a curry are sambals, such as tomato and onion or cucumber in soothing plain yoghurt, known as raita. Common curries include Korma, Tikka Masala and Vindaloo.

In India, foods are very regional specific but because the South African Indian people come from a diverse range of communities, a collective fusion genre of Indian cooking has developed. There are also Zulu influences on the Indian food in South Africa because Indian people and Zulu people lived and worked in close proximity in rural KwaZulu-Natal.

TTry the mutton curry at Durban's shabby-chic Britannia Hotel or head up the coast to Impulse by the Sea at Manor Beach for a superb Indian cooking and a bean bunny deluxe. Find all the ingredients you need to make your own South African Indian cuisine by visiting the Victoria Street Market in Durban.

In Pretoria, Little Durban offers a surprisingly authentic bunny chow as does Cape Town's Mariam's Kitchen in the St. George's Mall.

The strong ties that many South Africans have retained to their traditional Indian roots have brought so much diversity and cultural wealth into this country. One of the aspects in which this is expressed is through food, and international tourists are encouraged to sample as much as they can to get a real taste of Africa.

Who to contact
What will it cost
What to eat
What's happening

Related articles

From the roots of all humanity to a human story that inspired the world

Vibrant culture

From the roots of all humanity to a human story that inspired the world

While South Africa embodies our most ancient roots, we have evolved into an amazing mix of modern cultures.

South Africans food markets- Jozi

Vibrant culture

South Africans food markets- Jozi

Yes you may be in South Africa for the wildlife, sun, sea or all of the above, but the country is gaining a delicious reputation for its food.

Mountain biking and the Owl Route

Vibrant culture

Mountain biking and the Owl Route

The Owl Route is a 50km U-shaped dirt road in the Eastern Cape province, best explored by bicycle.

History and culture in Polokwane

Vibrant culture

History and culture in Polokwane

In Polokwane, history and culture offer insight into this modern city.

Bakone Malapa open-air museum - at home with the Basotho

Vibrant culture

Bakone Malapa open-air museum - at home with the Basotho

The Bakone, a sub-group of the Northern Sotho people, will happily introduce you to their contemporary customs and traditional way of life.

Enjoy the classic and the contemporary at Oliewenhuis Art Museum

Vibrant culture

Enjoy the classic and the contemporary at Oliewenhuis Art Museum

The Oliewenhuis Art Museum may be called a “museum”, but it's really an art experience – gallery, restaurants, gardens and all!

Take a stroll down Route 67 and explore Port Elizabeth’s rich heritage.

Vibrant culture

Take a stroll down Route 67 and explore Port Elizabeth’s rich heritage.

Port Elizabeth's urban-based Route 67 is one of the most exciting and creative of South Africa's inner-city developments.

Oudtshoorn - The capital of the Klein Karoo

Vibrant culture

Oudtshoorn - The capital of the Klein Karoo

Inland from the Cape’s famous Garden Route, over breathtakingly beautiful mountain passes, magnificent red rocks and the wide open spaces of the Klein Karoo, you’ll find Oudtshoorn – once known internationally as the ostrich capital of the world

Sol Plaatje – an inspiring leader and extraordinary thinker

Vibrant culture

Sol Plaatje – an inspiring leader and extraordinary thinker

Sol Plaatje is a leading figure in South Africa's liberation history.

Explore the charming town of Groot Marico

Vibrant culture

Explore the charming town of Groot Marico

Settle in to a genuine South African experience in Groot Marico. It's no wonder that so many of Herman Charles Bosman's tales featured this part of the country.

Gain some perspective at the Mandela Capture Site

Vibrant culture

Gain some perspective at the Mandela Capture Site

The sculpture both affects and is affected by the surrounding landscape, visually shifting throughout the day.

The Diamond Rush brought to life at the Kimberley Mine Museum

Vibrant culture

The Diamond Rush brought to life at the Kimberley Mine Museum

The Kimberley Mine Museum is a window back to a time when fortune seekers converged here to dig for diamonds.

Uncover a “new” ancient history at Mapungubwe

Vibrant culture

Uncover a “new” ancient history at Mapungubwe

South African history goes further back than you think.

Mpumalanga’s Ndebele villages – where colour and culture collide

Vibrant culture

Mpumalanga’s Ndebele villages – where colour and culture collide

Pictures of Mpumalanga’s Ndebele people often adorn posters and guidebooks to South Africa because of their dazzlingly painted traditional homesteads and colourful crafts.

Walk through South Africa’s history in Pretoria, the capital city

Vibrant culture

Walk through South Africa’s history in Pretoria, the capital city

Welcome to South Africa’s capital city.

Walk in the footsteps of our ancient ancestors at the Cradle of Humankind

Vibrant culture

Walk in the footsteps of our ancient ancestors at the Cradle of Humankind

Have you ever wondered where we, human beings, came from? What led to this evolutionary revolution on Planet Earth? All of the answers can be found in one place: the Cradle of Humankind.

Rock out at South Africa’s largest music festival – Oppikoppi

Vibrant culture

Rock out at South Africa’s largest music festival – Oppikoppi

For over 20 years, this gathering of South Africa’s music elite has become an essential pilgrimage for music lovers

March through history on the Battlefields Route

Vibrant culture

March through history on the Battlefields Route

If you’re a history buff, particularly military history, then the Battlefields Route in the Free State province will take you on a journey through the sites of some of the fiercest battles in South African history.

Remembering the past at the Voortrekker Monument

Vibrant culture

Remembering the past at the Voortrekker Monument

The Voortrekker Monument commemorates the epic exodus of disillusioned Boers from the Cape into the interior.

Paris with a difference

Vibrant culture

Paris with a difference

Just over an hour outside of Johannesburg, nestled on the banks of the Vaal River, you’ll come across a small town with a big heart.

Getting cultural in the mountains at the Basotho Cultural Village

Vibrant culture

Getting cultural in the mountains at the Basotho Cultural Village

If you’re looking for that raw mix of South African culture and breathtaking scenery, then you have to visit the Basotho Cultural Village in the Free State province.

Meet the Venda - sacred people in a sacred place

Vibrant culture

Meet the Venda - sacred people in a sacred place

The Venda people are not very populous but they have a rich cultural heritage.

Copyright © 2017 South African Tourism | Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Terms and conditions