For many travellers, food is the reason they explore the world. They want to taste new cultures and digest what makes them unique, memorable and, of course, delicious. In South Africa, part of our culinary culture, while at first may seem quite universal, is totally unique to the South African experience.
Enter the braai, or as foreigners like to call it, the “barbeque”. All you need is a grill, like a Weber, laden with burning charcoal and some well-prepared meat to sizzle. Essentially, that’s a braai! You can use gas, but that’s generally considered a desecration by most braai purists.
However, this goes deeper than the braai. It is a central point of unity and tradition for all South Africans. Ever heard of Shisa Nyama? This is the Zulu term for braaing and essentially comes down to the same meaty and delicious conclusions – people gathering to grill meat over an open fire.
If we look back in time and across racial lines and class, South African families have always preserved the culture of cooking meat around an open fire, particularly during traditional ceremonies and celebrations. The truth is, Shisa Nyama or braaing, is perhaps the single most common practice across our Rainbow Nation and one we are proud to call South African.
It doesn’t matter what the reason for gathering is. It could be a sporting event, somebody’s birthday, or even just all out boredom – this is THE go-to activity for all South Africans. When in doubt… braai.
It’s not all about the meat, although that is a religion on its own. It’s about community. It’s about friends and families growing closer. It’s about connecting with strangers. And Ultimately, It’s about feeling the South African spirit unite us all as we sink our teeth into the finest meat this world has to offer.
So if you’re visiting South Africa for the first time, forget what you know about “barbeques”. This is a whole new level of mouth-watering cuisine. If you’re hankering for some traditional South African meat cooked the South African way, point your stomach in the direction of Mzoli’s in Cape Town, Imbizo Shisanyama and MASH Braai House Gauteng, and MAN Buy and Braai in the Eastern Cape.
source: south africa