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The famous Mopane worm eaten in Africa is in fact the caterpillar of the nocturnal Emperor Moth
Since the demise of apartheid, Pan-African cuisine tours are more accesible thanks to the large number of African people from other parts of our continent that have settled in South Africa. Such immigrants have brought with them a delicious range of culinary genres and ingredients.
Pan-African food safaris allow travellers to taste Africa’s culinary diversity in all its glory, and Gauteng in particular is home to many African markets, spice shops and restaurants.
While it is hard to define a definitive Pan-African style, due to the size and diversity of the continent, loosely, the term refers to cooking that uses ingredients indigenous to Africa as their base, such as venison (typically antelope meat) and vegetables such as plaintains, edible wild greens, cassava and maize.
Stylistically, Pan-African cuisine incorporates more than just African ingredients and includes both western and Asian spices and techniques to create a unique synergy of style, flavour and ingredients.
If you are itching to taste the flavours of Africa, there are tour operators that can provide access to Johannesburg’s cosmopolitan Pan-African culinary culture.
On a Pan-African food tour, expect the likes of a morning spent sniffing spices in Johannesburg’s African Market in Yeoville, and eating injera at an Ethiopian restaurant. Burundian fine dining or shabby-chic Ivorian can be added for those who like to dress up and go out at night.
Represented in South Africa you will find all of the above options as well as Mozambican, Moroccan, Egyptian, Somali, Nigerian and Ghanaian restaurants in both Johannesburg and Cape Town. However, you may struggle to find much Pan-African cuisine outside of these centres.
The shabby-chic suburb of Yeoville is a continuing destination for immigrants into Johannesburg, and an ideal place to take your own Pan-African food tour. Immigrants from East and West Africa, and the Middle East ensure plenty of authentic eateries and an African grocery market. Be aware that here, regular opening hours don’t apply.
Sandton is another area, that you can take your own Pan-African food tour. Restaurants like Lekgotla on Nelson Mandela Square serve a mélange of quasi-African foods from the across continent; Hombaze restaurant in the Village Walk serves authentic Nigerian dishes, or rub shoulders with the elite of Africa that come to dine at Burundian chef Fathi Reinarhz's restaurant, Sel et Poivre.
Zemara resturant in Pretoria serves fine dining inspired by Central Africa and lures droves of gourmet travellers.