Traditional South African cuisine borrows from the kitchens of many different cultures. Immigrants from Europe, convicts from China, slaves from Mozambique and prisoners from Java brought with them their unique cookery skills.
Curries and spices such as ginger, cinnamon and turmeric from the East, Malay magic with hints of spice and other seasonings – one can only imagine the aromas emanating from kitchens producing highly spiced dishes from Dutch, Italian, Portuguese and especially oriental recipes handed down for generations.
West Coast Cooking
Many of the traditional fisherman’s dishes from the West Coast borrows from this rich culinary heritage. Some of the recipes are very old and were born out of hardship and ingenuity often occasioned by the challenge of the sea. Fortunately these culinary gems have been preserved by mothers and grandmothers hailing from the fishing communities dotted along the coast.
Included are memorable seafood dishes, marvellous soups and stews that make you long for times past as well as desserts that recalls the happy memories of days spent with your grandmother in her kitchen. A visit to The Restaurant at Draaihoek affords you the opportunity to sample some of these authentic West Coast treats.
Indulgent Winter Foods
Traditionally winter on the West Coast was a time of hardship and scarcity. With stormy weather and rough seas the fishing boats couldn’t go out to sea. If the fishermen couldn’t fish, they had no income and every cent had to be spent judiciously.
However, the promise of a hearty home cooked meal at the end of a cold day did much to disperse the gloom of winter. Comforting winter dishes such as rich mussel and haddock soup served with freshly baked bread, milk noodles (melk snysels) and slow cooked, meaty pea soup, had been and still are winter favorites.
When the catch was good and money was therefore more plentiful, meat was on the menu. Bredies (stews) were always popular, as were stuffed cabbage leaves, wild asparagus stew, curried tripe and liver served with a sour sauce and braised onions.
The abundance of shellfish and line fish in the surrounding waters makes for many authentic seafood dishes. West Coast mussel paella, white mussel pie with a potato topping,smoked snoek tart and snoek head curry are but a few of the marvellous seafood recipes that originated along the coast.
West Coast people are fond of sweet side dishes served with their meats. Bread and jam with fried fish is typically West Coast and so are sweet potatoes – sweetened or baked in their skins.
Indulgent desserts such as cinnamon dumplings (souskluitjies), warm baked buttermilk pudding and old fashioned festive bread pudding with raisins, still appears regularly on West Coast tables.