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Learn How These Ten South African Dishes Are Pronounced (Photos)


The issue of language is also very important in our country where a lot of people find themselves in predicaments due to mispronunciation of names and places. No more mispronunciations of words when ordering these dishes anymore with this breakdown:

1. Umphokoqo : “oom-pho-koh-qoh”, the syllables are short and crisp, where there is an ‘h’ you add more breathe to the sound. This meal is called Krimmelpap in Afrikaans. It is made with mielie meal, water and salt. It is enjoyed with sour milk, or ‘maas’ as it is often called.

2. Umngqusho : “oom-nqoo-shoh”, for this word, you have to press your tongue on the roof of your mouth, just behind your teeth, to get the sound, the ‘q’ does not sound like a ‘k’ as it does in English. This is samp and beans and can be served plain or with a number of different sides, the favourite option being stew.

3. Ulusu : “oo-loo-soo”. This word is relatively easy. It is the isiXhosa word for tripe or as some people call it, avfaal. The insides of a sheep, or a cow. It is usually served with bread or pap.

4. Imifino/Umfino: “ee-mee-fee-noh”. This dish is a mixture of leafy greens that grow freely and in some cases are planted. More modern adaptations of the vegetable dish include spinach as a base and mielie rice (ground rice, a substitute for mielie meal) is used.

5. Umqa: “oom-qah”, this dish is made with pumpkin and grinding corn, it is a one pot meal, that is very popular with the older generations.

6. Ujeqe/ isonka samanzi: “oo-jeh-qeh (the q is also a click and not a ‘k’ sound.) Ee-soh-nkah (like you would say car but with an n infront of the ‘c’) sah-mah-nzee”  Also called steamed bread, ujeqe or isonka samanzi gets its name from how it is cooked. In a pot with boiling water, the bread is put in a dish, inside the pot and the steam from the boiling water cooks the bread. It is best served warm with meat or a slathering of butter.

7. umbhako: “oom-bha-ko”. This word is one of the easy ones. One does need to keep the ‘ko’ crisp and short, it is not a breathy sound. Umbhako is bread baked on a paraffin heater or stove top, in a round pot. A lot of people use Hart pots, the biggest one for a large number of people, or something slightly smaller (third from the biggest) if it is for about 4 or 5 people. It is best served warm as well, with butter or even jam. Hart pots make the best umbhako. However, in rural Eastern Cape, pots called iBakpoti (derived from Afrikaans), a cast-iron pot that is round and has very short legs, with a domed lid. A more modern adaptation is baking the bread in different shaped pots or bread-making machines. The taste and look however, changes.

8. Amanqina: “ah-mah-nqee-nah”. These are also called walkie talkies. Chicken feet are a snack in South African townships and are either boiled or basted and then braaied. They are usually eaten alone but are also enjoyed as part of a larger meal.

9. Smiley: Also called Intloko yegusha “een-tloh-koh yeh-ghoo-shah”, is sheep’s head. This is usually boiled in salt water. No spices are added because the flavour is more than enough. It is served cut in half, with a bit of salt or Aromat on the side.

10. Iinkobe: “ee-nkoh-beh”. The kernels of corn are removed from the cob by hand and then boiled in salt water. This is a snack eaten in rural Eastern Cape mostly. Once cooked, it is served in a bowl, one can add salt or even gravy from meat.

There you have it! We hope this helps.


Written by GR

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