Take your tastebuds on a journey through South Africa right here in Perth. Discover authentic South African cuisine and dining at Kalahari. Read more.
Goeie dag! Is jy ‘n Suid Afrikaner wat smag na lekker tuiskos in Perth?”
Australia is one of the most successful multicultural countries in the world, so it should come as no surprise to anyone when I say that our food culture here is phenomenally rich and diverse, with lots of cuisine options seen on main streets, or hidden away in laneways, rooftops or refurbished basements. It is commonly said that “variety is the spice of life” and indeed, you’ll find plenty of variety right here in Australia.
One such cuisine that is in big demand here, especially in Perth, is South African food, with more and more shops and restaurants opening up to cater for curious food lovers, as well as for the growing community of South Africans living here that miss the taste of their homeland.
If you haven’t had a “taste of Africa” yet, now is the time to “Get your Saffa on!”
The Cuisine of South Africa
South Africa is a land of diversity. It’s people, landscapes, cultures and languages offer a melting pot of intrigue and excitement. In addition, it has a long and complex history. All of this combines to create the modern mix of cuisine that defines this land, delighting locals and visitors alike in its range and flavours.
South African cuisine is a unique fusion of many different external cultural influences, including Dutch, French, Indian and Malaysian flavours and techniques. One of the more significant influences is that of the Dutch which settled in South Africa in the 1600’s, who were soon joined by French Huguenots as well as a number of Germans.
This combination led to what is today known as the ‘Afrikaans’ style of cooking. These people searched the country for places to settle, and without any refrigeration devices, they favoured dried meats (biltong, which is similar to jerky, and dröewors, a dried sausage) and using spices and salts for the preservation of foods.
Today, Afrikaans cooking typically consists of red meat (grilled, barbecued, or roasted), potatoes and/or rice, and vegetables that are enhanced with butter and sugar and side dishes like bread rolls and salads.
They love their old fashioned biltong, droëwors, boerewors, pap and cooking a whole lot of meat on the Braai (or BBQ as Aussies say) where they put red meat over hot coals and infuse them with a smoky, spicy flavour. Desserts are also popular, based on old favourites like biscuits, rusks and sugary pastries.
South Africa is very much a meat eating nation – they truly love their meat!
A Taste of Africa in Perth, in Kalahari
You might have driven past a Billtong shop in Perth, or perhaps you walked past a South African Grocery Store selling all the produce from back home. But have you actually dined in an authentic South African restaurant yet? Complete with authentic African decor, rustic furniture, and true South African cuisine that is family friendly?
Experience the exotic and exciting flavours and smells of South African culture and cuisine, served with warmth of the South African Spirit at Kalahari – a popular South African restaurant & cafe franchise in Perth. It’s located in Wanneroo, Willetton and Clarkson. This blog focuses on the Kalahari in Wanneroo.
This gem of a restaurant/cafe is near the Ocean Reef Rd and Wanneroo Intersection and offers a large African menu, amazing coffee & a relaxing atmosphere. For me, their Kalahari breakfast was one of the best I’ve ever had 🙂
The breakfast vetkoek with a Rooibos cappuccino (or Rooibos Iced Tea for something more refreshing) is an epic way to start the day, and the lamb curry vetkoek is a winner for lunch.
They also sell koeksusters and a variety of other South African treats like homemade milk tart, peppermint crisp tart, lemon meringue pie, traditional biltong and much more! The coffee they use here is Yahava Coffee, which is high quality straight from our Swan Valley wine region.
There’s also a little shop at the back where you can buy South African produce. Popular drinks and snacks include Zoo Cookies (crackers with icing on, the icing shaped like animals), Simba Chips (special mention to MrsBalls chutney flavour), Sparletta Creme Soda (a soft drink, they call it the “Green Ambulance” because it’s apparently good for a hangover) and then the holy trinity of sauces (according to many) that almost everyone buys from a “Saffa” store, is Mrs Balls Fruit Chutney, All Gold Tomato Sauce and Crosse & Blackwell Tangy Mayonnaise.
The menu covers breakfast, lunch and dinner service and has one of the more varied menus at South African shops in Perth that I have seen, and it includes Russian (fried spicy pork sausage) and chips and their signature vetkoek, which introduces customers to a traditional delicacy. Vetkoek is a a traditional South African fried dough bread common in Afrikaner cookery and is either served filled with cooked mince, meat or with syrup, honey, or jam.
The “white stuff” you see on my breakfast above is called “pap”, and it’s very similar to polenta that the Italians eat. It’s a maize porridge that you can eat with milk and sugar, or you can eat it savoury with Sheba (which is the sauce seen in the picture).
My South Afrikaans’ friends mum eats pap just just on its own with some salty butter and white pepper!
When it comes to coffee in South Africa, its normally without frills – just straight, black and strong! (Haha). With that being said though, drinking instant coffee was common at home, but in fancy restaurants, many would drink black filtered coffee. On special occasions (Sunday family lunch for example) South Afrikaans would have plunge pot coffee (French Press).
Did you know? Latte’s in South Africa are always served as a glass of warm milk (like the one you see above) with a shot of coffee on the side that you poured in to the glass yourself.
Another very popular hot beverage from South Africa which is quite unique tasting is Rooibos Tea Cappuccino, which is also available at Kalahari. Give it a try and let me know what you think of it!
As you can see inside Kalahari – it has a very rustic and outback style – the whole place is warm and welcoming. For South Africans living on Australian soil, this is the ultimate place to be ‘home away from home’.
You should try the traditional biltong here, which is very salty, normally marinaded in a mixture of Worcestershire sauce and vinegar, then dipped in a salt/koriander/spice mix and then hung up to dry. Their biltong is made at the Kalahari Cafe in Willetton.
Some people like their biltong wet, with a sliver of fat while others like theirs bone dry! Lately there’s been a lot of different recipes though, chutney flavoured, peri peri spicy flavours.
The restaurant/cafe/shop also offers catering for functions held at the restaurant. They can comfortably cater and host up to 50 people and are happy to create bespoke menus for any event including business meetings, birthday parties, baby showers, fundraisers, networking breakfasts and any other kind of celebration you can think of.
It does not matter where you come from, we can all agree that through trying other cultures’ food, we can learn more about each other without the price tag of flying there.
Just look how breathtaking South Africa is….
See how gorgeous South Africa is? So if you’re keen on discovering what it is that makes South African food, culture and community so irresistible, pop over to Kalahari Wanneroo, or try one of the other Kalahari’s in Perth. Details below.
KALAHARI WANNEROO (Featured in this article)
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Kalahari-Wanneroo
- Address: 617 Wanneroo Rd, Wanneroo WA 6065
- Phone: (08) 9404 6365
- Opening Hours:
KALAHARI A TASTE OF AFRICA, WILLETTON
- Website: http://kalahariatasteofafrica.com/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Kalahari-A-Taste-Of-Africa
- Address: 4/27 Augusta St, Willetton WA 6155
- Phone: (08) 9354 1222
- Opening Hours:
KALAHARI CLARKSON CAFE
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KalahariClarkson/
- Address: 8/27 Caloundra Rd, Clarkson WA 6030
- Phone: (08) 9408 6098
- Opening Hours:
Thanks to my friend Johan for helping me with this article 🙂