In South Africa we’ve come up with more practical, unique ways of describing certain foods. These words not only confuse the heck out of foreigners, but they make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside too. And this is especially true when you’re away from home.
So, wherever you are in the world this festive season, here’s your taste of home.
1. We eat mielies, not millet corn or maize
And its pretty much a staple diet for the majority of South Africans, so it deserves its own South African name.
2. We eat naartjies, not tangerines, mandarins, satsumas
We keep it simple in South Africa. Any orange-coloured citrus fruit which can be peeled and divided into skyfies (segments) is a naartjie.
3. We eat pap, not porridge
Pap or mielie meal are the words we used for traditional maize porridge. And we eat it every which way. Breakfast, lunch, dinner.
4. We eat spanspek not Cantaloupe
The word spanspek comes from the Afrikaans Spaanse spek meaning “Spanish bacon” and dates back to the 19th century when the Cape governor’s Spanish wife, Juana Smith, insisted on eating melon instead of bacon for breakfast. Her Afrikaans-speaking servants coined the word as they were highly amused by her antics.
5. We eat gherkins, not pickles
Okay, sometimes they are called gherkins in the UK, but our American friends call them pickles.
6. We eat slap tjips, not french fries
French fries are for fancy restaurants. Salty, oily, thick-cut chips with a dash of vinegar are what we call slap tjips. We sometimes use “chips” to refer to crisps too, which can be confusing, but every South African knows what we mean.
7. We eat All Gold, not ketchup
“All Gold, All Gold, tastes real good!”
8. We eat sosaties, not kebabs
Meat (often lamb) on a skewer is a sosatie in South Africa. And it is often coated with curry spice.
9. We eat sarmies, not sandwiches
Yes, they are technically sandwiches, but there’s something more warming about a lekker South African sarmie made with love by your ma or pa.
10. We eat boerewors, not sausage
Say what you like, there is no equivalent to boerewors anywhere in the world, and it is almost an insult to compare it to sausage.
11. Shisa nyama
No, not shisha pipe. Braaied food!