We spoke to the Big Easy Winebar & Grill Durban by Ernie Els Head Chef Noel Kanyemba, and Hilton Hotel Durban Executive Chef, Janine Fourie about South African food.
Chef Noel Kanyemba
Do you think Bobotie deserves to be called South Africa’s national dish or is it time to update this?
I think it is time we update this as there are many other dishes that we need to acknowledge that have made it on the world market.
What do you think is SA national dish and why?
Bunny chow. Different chefs and restaurants have now adapted to having the bunny chow on their menus which has then made it more popular as patrons are now travelling from all over the world just to come and try it out.
What is your favorite traditional SA meal?
Inyama yeNhloko with ujeqe. (Sheep head with steamed bread)
Which meal that is not from your culture do you enjoy eating?
A good vegetable biryani with a good dose of butter.
Besides braaing, what else would you like South Africans to cook this month as we celebrate our heritage?
Since it is heritage month let us go wild and not just braai meat, but explore the deep heritage of all cultures in SA, and celebrate the diverse range of popular dishes within those cultures.
Chef Janine Fourie
Do you think Bobotie deserves to be called SA’s national dish or is it time to update this?
I would not say it should be the national dish, as we have such a diverse food culture with amazing influences due to our history. However I have to add growing up I always remember Bobotie being served with yellow rice, when visiting my grandmother.
What criteria should we use when thinking about what qualifies as SA’s national dish?
One of the criteria is to agree that not all will agree, on just one specific dish. We are the rainbow nation how can we choose just one. But definitely it would be popularity, this would also evolve as time goes by with new trends and perhaps even old dishes being reinvented and making a come back.
What is the one food that South Africans created that you think should be appreciated more by the world?
Koeksisters, deadly sweet drench in ginger syrup. But there is an art to making the perfect koeksister.
Which meal that is not from your culture, that you enjoy eating?
Gnocchi, beautiful little light puffs of potato with a rich creamy gorgonzola.
What is the most underrated SA food?
Sheep tails, slow cooked done with waterblommetjies.