Food of Cape Town - A Detailed Guide to the Best Street Food

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Cape Town is a delectable blend of multiple cultures, and what is a better reflection of its rich heritage than its variety of cuisines? Spreading across the Dutch East Indies to chunks of modern western cuisine, the foodie paradise has it all! Loaded with award-winning dishes and restaurants, it’s hard to pick what to eat and miss. So, here is a  list of the most famous street foods in Cape Town and some of the best street food joints and trucks to serve as a perfect guide for your South African indulgence!

12 Best Things to Eat in Cape Town 

1. Bunny Chow

Bunny Chow
Embracing the Indian influence on the food culture, Bunny Chow is a revered South African Dish, giving homestyle food warmth. The Durban delight is a hollowed-out piece of bread brimming with hot and flavourful curry, available in vegetarian and non-vegetarian options.
Where to find: Eastern Food BazaarLocation: 96 Longmarket St, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa
Timings: Monday – Thursday & Sunday: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM,  Friday – Saturday:  10:00 AM – 9:30 PM
Telephone: +27 21 461 2458

2. Gatsby

Taking its name from the legendary novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gatsby is a truly Capetonian delicacy. The large submarine-style sandwich bread is richly stuffed with a variety of sauces, chips, lettuce and meats, most popularly with Masala Steak, the town’s favourite. The hearty meal is typically portioned in four to feed a ravenous group, owing to its generous size.
Where to find: The Golden DishLocation: 7, Block 1, Gatesville Shopping Centre, 1 Hazel Rd & Klipfontein Rd, Gatesville, Cape Town, 7764, South Africa
Timings:  Monday – Saturday: 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM, Sunday: Closed
Telephone: +27 21 633 7864

3. Rice Paper Rolls

Rice paper rolls
Cape Town is loaded with multicultural cuisines, and Vietnamese food has won several hearts. A relatively healthier option on the plate, Rice Paper Rolls are a signature Vietnamese grub popular in Cape Town. Various fillings, from minced chicken, and sesame hamburger to exotic veggies and tofu, rolled in light and fresh rice paper and served cold, make for the perfect bite!
Where to find: Noodle Box
Location: Cardiff Castle, corner of Main Street and, Kildare Rd, Newlands, Cape Town, 7700, South Africa
Timings: Monday – Sunday: 11:30 AM – 8:00 PM
Telephone: +27 60 704 3499

4. Braai

A local twist on the traditional BBQ, Braai is a summer favourite among the Afrikans. It’s more than just roasting meat; it’s more a chunky social gathering with shared laughs in the backyards like the aroma of freshly spiced and slow-roasted boerewors, steak, pork, or lamb chops fills the air.
Where to find: Maiden's Cove Braai Area
Location: Maidens Cove, Clifton, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa
Timings:  Monday - Sunday8:00 AM – 6:00  PM
Telephone: +27 21 438 8212

 5. Chakalaka

Chakalaka is a perfect homely meal and a paradise for vegetarians. Tomatoes, beans, onions, chilis, ginger and carrots submerged in a flavourful, warm broth, chakalaka is genuinely a portion of comfort food! The spicy South African gem is served as a side dish with meat or as a cold salad but can be well enjoyed on its own as a one-pot meal.
Where to find: Marco’s African Place
Location: 15 Rose St, Schotsche Kloof, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa
Timings:  Monday – Saturday:12:00 PM – 11:00 PM, Sunday:12:00 PM – 9:00 PM 
Telephone: +27 21 423 5412

6. Tomato Bredie

Caption Link
What better than a comforting bowl of stew on a chilly winter night? Tomato Bredie is a soul-satisfying stew consisting of tomatoes, onions, cardamom, cloves, butter, chilli, cinnamon, potatoes and meat, mostly cubed mutton or beef. Bredie is the African synonym for “stew”. The dish is believed to soak in the flavours of the veggies and meat when refrigerated overnight and reheated the next day and makes for a hearty meal when served with fluffy white rice.  
Where to find: Biesmiellah
Location: 2 Wale St & Pentz St, Schotsche Kloof, Cape Town, 8000, South Africa
Telephone: +27 21 423 0850
Timings: Monday, Thursday and Friday: 9:00 AM to 10:00 PM, Tuesday: 10:30 AM to 10:00 PM, Wednesday: 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM, Sunday Closed

7. Koeksister

For all the sweet-toothed folks out there, Koeksister comes to your rescue! Delicately prepared, traditional southern African sweet snack, its sticky, golden-brown appearance charms the people as much as its taste does. The fried, braided dough, saturated in cold sugar syrup, is always recommended to be drizzled with some cinnamon or lemon juice for the perfect bite! Koeksister and coffee are a staple on the menu for cafes and restaurants, especially on Sunday mornings, making it a perfect on-the-go snack.
Where to find: Arpin Koeksisters
Location: Nathan Mallach St, N1 City, Cape Town, 7460, South Africa
Timings:  Monday – Saturday:11:00 AM – 4:00 PM, Sunday:11: AM – 1:00 PM
Telephone: +27 83 737 0538 

8. Ramen

Need a piping hot bowl of ramen to relax your senses after a tiring day? Capetonians never disappoint when it comes to providing the warmth and comfort of homestyle food. To cater to such cravings, check out the best-in-town hub below to grab your perfect delectable bowl topped out of their five excellent options - chicken, duck, beef brisket, beef filet and vegetable.
Where to find: Three Wise Monkeys
Location: 77 Regent Road, Sea Point, Cape Town
Timings:  Tuesday – Sunday:  12:00 PM – 11:00 PM, Monday:  3:00 PM – 11:00 PM
Telephone:  021 433 1837 

9. Bobotie

Influenced from the indigenous lands of Indonesia, this sweet-and-sour plate, the bright yellow plate, is a Cape Malay authentic one! Served across multiple restaurants in the town, this delicacy is made with a bed of perfectly minced beef, topped with a savoury egg custard. The aroma of this dish enchants anyone’s senses as it’s richly flavoured with dried fruits and spices.
Where to find: Quarterdeck Restaurant
Location: 1 Jakes Gerwel Dr, Goodwood, Cape Town, 7460, South Africa
Timings:  Monday & Tuesday:Closed, Wednesday – Saturday:6:00 PM – 10:00 PM, Sunday:12:30 – 3:00 PM, 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Telephone: +27 21 505 7220

10. Sushi

Though not a traditional street delight, Sushi has won tons of hearts with numerous impeccable sushi joints spread across the city. Decently priced, this flavourful Japanese cuisine with a unique south African twist, this dish is available everywhere, from fancy restaurants to hole-in-the-wall takeaway joints!
Where to find: Salushi
Location: 6 Cavendish St, Claremont, Cape Town, 7915, South Africa
Timings:  Monday – Saturday:12:00 PM – 10:00 PM, Sunday:12:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Telephone: +27 65 038 2106

11. Malva Pudding

malva pudding
One of the most popular and regarded sweet dishes in Africa, this sweet and sticky sponge cake is laced with rose-scent or fragrant lemon geranium. It's traditionally enjoyed hot, topped with jam or custard, especially in the southern regions.
Where to find: A Touch of Madness
Location: 12 Nuttall Rd, Observatory, Cape Town, 7925, South Africa
Timings:  Monday – Thursday:9:00 AM – 11:00 PM, Friday – Saturday:9:00  AM – 2:00 AM, Sunday:11:00 AM –10:00 PM
Telephone: +27 21 447 4650 

12. Biltong / Droëwors 

Biltong or “dried sausages” are a staple in every South-African home and makes for a healthy side dish to be served with braai to snack on. Made with various types of meat, its cooking procedure is rather complicated and unique, making it lip-smackingly delicious as the super dry, thin strips of meat are submerged in the sophisticated marinade containing malt vinegar, sugar and some aromatic spices. Mind-bogglingly delicious!
Where to find: BILTONG AND BLADE
Location: 110 Harrington St, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town, 8000, South Africa
Telephone:  +27 76 220 5458
Timings: Monday6:30 PM – 11:00 PM, Tuesday – Saturday:12:00 PM – 2:00 PM, 6:30 PM – 11:00 PM, Sunday:Closed

Where to Eat in Cape Town

 1. Eastern Food Bazaar

Offering a range of authentic, lip-smacking dishes from sizzling kebabs to savoury North Indian cuisines, this is a must-stop-by place for the heart of the restaurant, Bunny Chow!
Location: 96 Longmarket St, Cape Town, 8001
Telephone: +27 21 461 2458
Timings: Monday to Thursday: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM, Friday to Sunday: 10:00 AM- 10:00 PM

2. Yen’s Vietnamese Street Food

The restaurant is a perfect spot to indulge in traditional Vietnamese cuisine as the place's décor is a treat to the eyes of the visitor. The food quality and authenticity make it one of the town's most popular joints for rice paper rolls.
Location: 19 Dixon St, De Waterkant, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa 
Telephone: +27 71 156 6782 
Timings: Monday to Friday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM, Saturday: 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM, Sunday Closed

3. Super Fisheries (Athlone)

Gatsby at Super Fisheries in Cape Town
Fondly referred to as the “birthplace of the Gatsby”, this restaurant run by Rashaad Pandy has held its position as one of the best street-food joints to grab Gatsby over the years. While their star stuffing remains to be fish, making a delicious calamari Gatsby, they’ve thrown in many non-veg and veg options to cater to everyone’s tastebuds.
Location: 63 Old Klipfontein Road, Athlone, Cape Town
Telephone: 0216969833
Timings: Monday to Thursday: 8:30 AM to 6:00 PM, Friday: 8:30 AM to 12:00 PM; then 2:00 PM to 6:45 PM, Sunday Closed

4. Boulevard 82 Food truck

Boulevard 82 Food truck Cape Town
The classic junk-food truck, as it’s belovedly known, offers the perfect on-the-go food options that are laced with multicultural southern African flavours. From loaded burgers and crispy fries to some flavourful stew bowls, it has got you covered in the hot and cold weather!
Location: Kenilworth Rd, Kenilworth, Cape Town, 7708, South Africa
Telephone: +27 74 252 0990
Timings: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM 

5. Biesmiellah

Bismillah Restaurant entrance

Serving traditional dishes in an authentic alcohol-free environment, this gem has in store a variety of creamy curries and other typical south African delights to give you a perfect bite of their culture!

Location: 2 Wale St & Pentz St, Schotsche Kloof, Cape Town, 8000, South Africa
Telephone: +27 21 423 0850
Timings: Monday, Thursday and Friday: 9:00 AM to 10:00 PM, Tuesday: 10:30 AM to 10:00 PM, Wednesday: 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM, Sunday Closed

5. Earthfire Pizza

Earthfire Pizza Truck in Cape Town

Craving a thin-crust fresh-from-oven pizza? What’s better? Fresh out of a wood-fired oven! To give you that perfect Italian bite, Earthfire Pizza serves finger-licking, sizzling deep dishes, thin crusts various of toppings to load your pizzas with, all on the wheels!

Location:  Cape Point Vineyards (Thursday), The Range Market (Friday), Root 44 Market (Saturday and Sunday) and Mojo Market (daily)
Telephone: 021 785 3560

 6. Vegan Streetfood

Vegan Streetfood Cape Town

So what’s in store for the veggie-biters? Not to get disheartened, Vegan Streetfood got you covered! Making a mark in serving delicious yet healthy plant-based junk-food options, the restaurant lays a plethora of savoury grubs like juicy burgers, the infamous egg Benedict, to heavenly pies and eclairs for the sweet-tooth folks.

Location: 79 Lower Main Rd, Observatory, Cape Town, 7925, South Africa
Timings: Monday:12:00 PM – 5:00 PM, Tuesday, Friday & Saturday:11:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Wednesday:5:00 PM – 9:00 PM, Thursday: Closed, Sunday11:00 AM – 3:00 PM  
It can seem exhaustive at first to have a bite of each of Cape Malay’s specialities, but these lip-smacking delights make it worth it. So, make sure to give them a try and satiate your sense when in the foodie capital of South Africa.

This post was published by Muskan Jaggi

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