Did you know?
The name 'Umhlanga' means 'place of reeds' in isiZulu.
The Umhlanga Farmers’ Market has two major attractions – regional fresh produce at very reasonable prices, and authentic home-made Indian treats that alone are worth the excursion.
Regional produce in this subtropical area of South Africa includes exotic fruits and vegetables such as mangos, litchis, avocadoes, paw-paws, pineapple and eggplant. The fresh fruit juice stand is a popular stop-off in the steamy weather.
Fresh trout from the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, which lie an hour or so inland beyond Pietermaritzburg, is a fish lover’s must, while trout patés and products (mousse) make for great picnic items when lunching at the beach just down the hill, especially when combined with the freshly baked breads for sale.
This food market in Umhlanga is popular for its freshly made Indian specialties. Never had a bunny chow? Well, here’s your chance. Bunny chow is a hollowed out loaf of white bread filled with an aromatic curry of your choice. This area is also famous for its spicy treats like chilli bites and samoosas – pastry triangles filled with curry mince, potato and cheese, corn or mixed vegetables.
If spicy scares you, then biryani, with its heady perfume but mild tastes, is the recommended introduction to Indian food. Biryani is an Indian festival dish that features aromatic rice, spiced potatoes and yoghurt, and either chicken or lamb pieces steamed to fall off the bone.
Food markets in KwaZulu-Natal are community driven and the Umhlanga Farmers’ Market has great regional colour thanks to the diverse range of people offering their wares. Food prices in the Umhlanga area can be on the steep side, so this market delivers a real service by providing affordable, fresh produce and food items in a very accessible location that is a five-minute drive up the hill from the main hub of Umhlanga.