US online media company BuzzFeed has finally sampled some “South African” snacks in a popular video series featuring its American staff sampling foreign cuisine for the first time. The video has been widely shared over the last couple of days but, as South Africans ourselves, we’re shocked at the one-dimensional choice of foods. PONTSHO PILANE serves up some alternatives.
For the South African episode, the food selected was biltong (of course), Ouma rusks, rock shandy, Peck’s Anchovette fishpaste and koeksisters. The latter looked fairly unappetising – they clearly were not sourced from your local Woolies or your local home industries.
Never mind the state of the koeksisters or the complete snubbing of the humble boerewors roll; what was most noticeable was that the rainbow nation’s cuisine was represented almost entirely by Dutch or Afrikaans food. Who picked out this snack food anyway?
As a former colony, South African cuisine is incredibly diverse. Among our local specialties, we can count dishes with Dutch, Malay, Indian and African roots. So, although the reactions to the video and ensuing commentary are hilarious, it is hardly representative. What about some mageu, atchaar or bunny chow? All this food is synonymous with South Africa. And frankly, watching these guys chomp down on some mopane worms would have been much more fun.
What do you think of BuzzFeed’s choice of snacks? What other local snacks could they have included to reflect the diversity of South African food?