5 Typically South African Township Foods


When planning a trip to South Africa and researching “must do” activities, it isn’t uncommon to find among most of these a township experience. And, if you really want to immerse yourself in that experience you ought to eat like a local. The list of traditional South African foods is vast but here are five food items you are likely to encounter.


“Boer” is Afrikaans for farmer and “wors” means sausage. Boerewors is a favourite South African food, which is handmade from ground meat. It is immensely popular, so much so that it’s practically a staple food. Strolling past township street vendors you’re likely to see this coiled sausage roasting on the hot coals of a braai (barbecue), which is also known as shisa nyama.

Kota / Bunny Chow

Kota is a variation of the word “quarter”. Bread is cut in four (quarters) and the end pieces are hollowed out and filled with ingredients. Fillings include anything from potato chips, viennas or sliced polony to Russians, atchar (a spicy condiment) and boerewors. When filled with curry it is known as bunny chow.


Walkies / Runaways

Not to be confused with the handheld communication device “walkies” are chicken feet and “talkies” are chicken heads. Walkies are also known as amanqina enkhuku in the Xhosa language. First they are plucked, boiled in water and then seasoned (often with curry powder and/or turmeric) and stewed, grilled, fried or braaied (barbecued). The entire foot is consumed.

Vetkoek / Amagwinya

Translated from Afrikaans, “vetkoek” means fat or fatty cake. In the Xhosa language it is known as “amagwinya”. Yeast dough is rolled into golf-ball sized portions and deep-fried. Best enjoyed hot, they taste a little like doughnuts and can be eaten as is or with butter, jam, cheese or a hot vegetable or meaty filling.


A smiley is a sheep’s head roasted whole (or charred rather) on hot coals. Its macabre yet apt name is derived from the fact that as the head cooks; the lips curl back in a grotesque grin to reveal a set of teeth. Those in the know claim its taste is incomparable.

However, if you simply cannot grin and bear it, and are craving a more palatable, yet no less authentic, African food experience, have a look at the GOLD Restaurant menu. We don’t serve feet and the only smilies you need contend with are those of our friendly, welcoming staff.

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