Most Well-liked Worldwide Cuisines in South Africa

South African is called the rainbow nation as a result of so lots of its folks originated from Europe and Africa. Current as a port when Jan van Riebeeck, Bartolomeu Dias, Vasco da Gama and lots of others wanted to replenish provides, South Africans have been uncovered to overseas delicacies for the reason that 1600s.

Incorporating the perfect of overseas affect into their very own dishes, South Africans are open to various worldwide cuisines. However which of them have made probably the most impression?

Google Traits reveal the locals’ most popular indulgences. Simply as in the remainder of the developed world, their choices are huge, from Italian to Vietnamese delicacies.

However a lot of the nation’s curiosity in ethnic meals boils right down to availability, what they’ll afford, and what they really feel assured sufficient to cook dinner at residence. Listed below are the highest ten ethnic cuisines which have sparked the South African inhabitants’s curiosity probably the most.

How We Compiled the Information

Google gives knowledge on a complete vary of matters, together with nationwide cuisines, and allocates a rating that signifies the extent of curiosity within the subject.

Google makes use of AI to categorize search phrases for nationwide cuisines. For instance Japanese delicacies will comprise lots of or hundreds of searches associated to the subject reminiscent of Japanese eating placesJapanese ricesushisushi recipesJapanese meals, and even names of well-known Japanese eating places.

Google then counts how typically they’re utilized in nations, regional areas, cities and cities relative to all native searches and allocates an curiosity rating.

For instance if Western Cape scores 100 for Chinese language delicacies and Gauteng scores 80, it means that there’s a larger proportion of individuals from the Western Cape trying to find Chinese language delicacies, however not essentially that there are extra searches comprised of Western Cape in comparison with Gauteng.

Learn on to learn the way the world’s meals ranked in South Africa this yr.

10. Vietnamese  Delicacies (Recognition Rating 4)

In final place, Vietnamese meals gained two factors on the earlier yr. This delicacies might have a brief historical past within the nation, round 20 years, however South Africans are loving this low fats, nutritious diet of candy, bitter, salty flavors. However with few eating places positioned within the mainstream areas, it’s nonetheless not really easy to dine out on Vietnamese meals.

9. Korean (Recognition Rating 4)

Scoring the identical as Vietnamese meals this yr, Korean meals recognition dropped one level to 4. Like Vietnamese delicacies, the principle factor holding again recognition is publicity to the meals, as there’s few Korean eating places in mainstream areas. However the place they’re, they’re liked, significantly the Korean BBQ.

8. Lebanese Delicacies (Recognition Rating 5)

Lebanese meals is having fun with rising recognition worldwide, and South Africa isn’t being ignored. This oh so tasty delicacies rose two factors this yr to five within the recognition desk. And it’s not simply widespread for consuming out. Programs for cooking this wholesome, fruit and vegetable-filled meals are additionally on the rise.

Simply the names of the dishes are inviting themselves: tabbouleh, fattoush, manakish, kanafeh…

7. Greek (Recognition Rating 11)

Souvlaki, moussaka, keftedes and pastitsio are dishes South Africans can relate to as they’re much like native favourites. Dips like tzatziki and tahini are welcome flavour to their palates, although taramosalata nonetheless has a strategy to go within the recognition stakes.

Nonetheless, it’s the freshness of seasonal dishes which intrigues locals as many fruit and veg shops are run by Greeks. Their shops survive as a result of they provide principally to eating places whereas displaying spectacular delicacies like Halva of their deli sections. Greek delicacies gained one recognition level since final yr by transferring from ten to eleven factors.

6. Japanese (Recognition Rating 14)

Whereas 700 eating places provide sushi, in keeping with Chef’s Wonderland, most likely solely round 10-20 serve actually genuine Japanese meals. However the delicacies has nice development potential right here – as soon as the coronavirus disaster settles down.

It has affected the availability of substances and lots of sushi conveyor belts have stood empty. however count on a drastic change in 2021 when all the things, hopefully, returns to regular.

5.     Italian (Recognition Rating 15)

Dropping in 9 recognition factors in comparison with the earlier yr, it’s no surprise that Domino’s Pizza bailed from the South African financial system.

However Italians started settling right here over 4 centuries in the past so the tradition has an extended and wealthy historical past so the love of Italian meals isn’t going to die out. It’s hottest within the Western Cape (Rating 100) adopted by Kwazulu-Natal (Rating 73) and Gauteng (Rating 69). And being straightforward and reasonably priced to cook dinner, locals Italian meals is a pleasure to copy at residence – locals are actually well-oiled Italian cooking machines.

4.   Mexican (Recognition Rating 36)

South Africans love spicy meals, so it’s no shock that Mexican is one among their high favorites. This yr sustaining its total nationwide 4th place, it’s hottest within the Western Cape (Rating 100) and Gauteng (Rating 66), adopted means again by the Jap Cape (Rating 55).

Mexican meals isn’t a part of the South African tradition, however snacking on delicacies is. The meals carefully resembles Muslim/ Indian variants – which does symbolize a big portion of the inhabitants – however with quite a lot of completely different fillings. Hand-sized munching bits make it straightforward to impress visitors with snacks to whereas watching sporting occasions or as appetizers at a braai, “barbeque”.

3. Indian (Recognition Rating 46)

Indian meals in South Africa decreased in recognition during the last yr, that means it dropped from second place with 64 factors to 3rd and 46 factors. It’s no shock that Kwazulu-Natal has the best regional rating of 100 as its capital metropolis Durban is taken into account the most important Indian metropolis exterior India as a result of dimension of its immigrant inhabitants of second and third-generation Indians.  

On the heels of Kwazulu-Natal is the Western Cape with 94 factors and Gauteng additional down with 75 factors. Probably the most widespread and reasonably priced Indian/ South African dishes, is Bunnychow: not made with a cute rabbit, however with beef or hen. It’s an instance of how a lot a part of South African delicacies Indian meals has turn into.

2. Thai (Recognition Rating 47)

Thai meals jumped in recognition this yr from from 43 in 2019 to 47. Not an enormous bounce however sufficient to maneuver it from third to second place. Regionally, Thai delicacies is hottest within the Western Cape, with a rating of 100 factors, with second spot taken by Kwazulu-Natal, which trails far behind with a really low 48 and the Jap Cape on Rating 40.

South Africans used to seek out it troublesome to tell apart between Indian and Thai delicacies, however that’s altering as they turn into extra within the various cuisines accessible. Thai meals is one thing new, so we are able to count on to see a pointy rise in recognition as South Africans uncover this recent and engaging delicacies.

1. Chinese language (Recognition Rating 74)

With its closest rival, Thai, 27 recognition factors behind, Chinese language meals in South Africa relaxed into first place this yr with a rating of 74. Regionally, the scores are nearer with Western Cape scoring 100, adopted shut behind by Jap Cape with 96 and Gauteng with 80.

South Africans are extra conversant in Chinese language delicacies than another, and though they’re caught totally on candy and bitter pork, king tau ribs and bow ties, locals additionally attempt to duplicate the dishes at residence.

Chinese language immigration has an extended historical past starting in 1660, simply after Jan van Riebeeck landed on South African soil. However many extra had been inspired over within the early Nineties to work within the gold mines round Johannesburg.

These laborers had been principally Cantonese and Hakka however later, particularly during the last 20 years, they got here from many different areas of China, bringing the complete vary of scrumptious Chinese language delicacies with them.

See how South Africans culinary preferences examine to People, Canadians, the British and Aussies.


Chef’s Pencil has analysed Google Traits knowledge for the yr 2020 (knowledge compiled on October 1st 2020). Google Traits recognition scores are relative and never absolute. Please see under how Google defines regional recognition scores:

Values are calculated on a scale from 0 to 100, the place 100 is the placement with probably the most recognition as a fraction of whole searches in that location, a worth of fifty signifies a location which is half as widespread. A price of 0 signifies a location the place there was not sufficient knowledge for this time period.

Notice: A better worth means a better proportion of all queries, not a better absolute question rely. So a tiny nation the place 80% of the queries are for “bananas” will get twice the rating of a large nation the place solely 40% of the queries are for “bananas”.

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Story by Jürgen Smith and Caroline Williams for Chef’s Pencil.