Cape Town: A Foodie's Paradise

July 2, 2020 Global Basecamps

Category South Africa, food

Cape Town is one of the most beautifully situated and gastronomically diverse cities in the world, and no South Africa Tour would be complete without a visit! Cradled by Table Mountain, Cape Town has immense charm and historical interest, while its unique cultural blend of part African, part European and part Asian, makes for a cosmopolitan dining experience. Take the cable car or walk up Table Mountain, visit the colorful Malay quarter or meander through the wonderful Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. Browse through the vibrant Greenmarket Square, take a boat trip to Robben Island or simply relax on the beach. When you want to explore further, the Cape Peninsula offers one of the finest coastal drives in Africa to the Cape of Good Hope. A few days exploring Cape Town provides the perfect ending for any South Africa adventure safari tour. 

As the doors to travel begin to open again, as the pandemic dissipates, and in this universal time of division, unrest, and fear – food can be a unifying force in society. Food brings people together in love, appreciation, and gratitude. Food transcends politics and racial barriers. Food is life!

A bustling, urban sprawl, the Cape Town epicurean scene can be explored and experienced one on one with a private specialty guide…avoiding crowded spaces and with appropriate social distancing. Here are a few of our favorite foodie tours in Cape Town, followed by a recipe for Denningvleis that you can recreate at home! Denningvleis is a traditional Cape Malay dish and believed to be one of the oldest recorded recipes in South African cuisine! 

Cape Town Eats

So much about a country and a culture is expressed through its cuisine. In South Africa much of the cuisine is a home cuisine and to get a taste you really need to search hard. As such this tour aims to combine the history of this country and city through exploring the back streets to find the tastes that represent all of the rainbow nation. Today you'll walk the streets of Cape Town and experience its history, its people and its culinary delights. En-route you'll stop to taste a mixture of traditional food, South African street food and to visit some artisanal foodie and coffee shops.

During the walk you will also taste some of the following items: African Soul food: pap, samp & beans, a meat stew and vetkoek; Falooda - a traditional Muslim Rose Milkshake; a gourmet bunny chow to get a little taste of Indian Cuisine; coffee from one of the micro artisan coffee roasters in the city; bobotie pies - this is a modern take on the traditional Bobotie dish which both the Cape Malay group and white Afrikaner group refer to as their traditional dish.


Bo-Kaap is the oldest suburb in South Africa with its origins dating back to the Dutch colonists who brought with them slaves from Indonesia, Batavia, Malaysia, India and Africa. It is this mix of cultures that culminates in the unique and incomparable Bo-Kaap culture, custom and cuisines. The area still boasts architecture typical of that time as well as the cobblestone streets that meander between the colorful houses.

Your walking tour will start in front of the Bo-Kaap Museum, which is also the oldest house in the Bo-Kaap and showcases Dutch architecture. The house is still in its original condition, complete with sash windows, front door and parapet. Your walk will then take you to the Auwal Mosque, which is the oldest Mosque in South Africa, dating back to 1794, when it was started by slaves in defiance of Dutch law. Inside the Mosque you will see a Quran handwritten from memory, by Tuan Guru, an exiled political prisoner from the Island of Trinate.

You then work your way to a local’s home to enjoy a traditional treat and a cup of rooibos tea. The host will regale you with stories of this historical neighborhood, its people and its cultures. From here you will walk down the most photographed street in South Africa as you work your way towards Cape Town’s famed spice shop, Atlas, where you will smell the heady aromas of spices used in everyday Cape Malay cooking. These are the same spices used by slaves as an expression of freedom in their masters’ kitchens.

Kalk Bay Walking & Tasting Tour

Ranked by Forbes Magazine as one of the twelve coolest suburbs in the world, quaint and rustic Kalk Bay offers old world charm with a variety of art galleries, bohemian clothing stores and quirky craft shops while its antique and vintage book stores will take you a step back in time. From the harbor, you will stop by some historic homes and buildings and then wander through the village, all the while delighted by tales about Kalk Bay.  Along the way you meet local characters, learn about the history and taste traditional Cape Malay fare - fresh fish and mussels, Cape wines, local craft beer, Cape inspired dessert and locally brewed coffee.

Flavors of Cape Town

Explore the hidden gems that Cape Town has to offer during a guided food tour with your qualified chef and food critic - we promise that your taste buds will thank you! The City Bowl tasting experience is a leisurely walking tour which includes a variety of food and drink tastings around central Cape Town, from the more popular to the obscure and from traditional cuisine to modern. Admire the city’s architectural styles and influences as you gain insight into local culture, history and food trends.

Cape Town Farmer’s Markets

Fresh flowers, fantastic food vendors, abundant produce, and hand-crafted goods. Visiting one of Cape Town's markets is the ideal way to immersive yourself in the local way of life, whilst perusing, tasting and ogling the artisanal fare. And while farmer's markets were virtually unheard of just a few short years ago, they have burst onto the scene in a prolific and colorful array of options. Below are several definitely worth checking out with your guide!

  • The Neighbourgoods Market (in the Old Biscuit Mill) *One of our favorite places!*
  • The OZCF Market (Oranjezicht City Farm Market)
  • Bay Harbour Market
  • The Root 44 Market
  • The Mojo Market


Test Out the Tastes of SA from Home

As you dream of your Visit to South Africa and Cape Town, try your hand at this traditional Bo-Kaap Cape Malay recipe for Denningvleis from Fayruza Abrahams of the Bo-Kaap, who will soon be publishing a Cape Malay cookbook. This dish is a favorite in her home and is always prepared and served on special occasions, like Eid. Fayruza considers this dish an “ode to my Home, Heart and Heritage”. Enjoy!


1kg leg of lamb shanks or lamb cutlets

5 medium onions finely sliced

3 heaping tsp of finely chopped fresh garlic

4 allspice

4 bay leaves

4 cloves

1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper

2 tsp salt

1pkt seedless tamarind paste 

2 Tblsp brown vinegar (mix into tamarind to form a smooth paste)

3 Tblsp Worcestershire sauce

2 Tblsp soy sauce

½ cup of brown sugar

125ml canola or sunflower oil

Big blob of butter for garnish

½ tsp finely grated nutmeg for garnish

½ cup finely chopped fresh parsley for garnish



Marinate the lamb in all of the above ingredients except for the onions and oil. It is important to do this for at least 1 hour. I normally do mine for 2 to 3 hours or sometimes overnight.  Like I said, “a labour of love”, so a little patience is called for. You will thank me later!

In the meantime, braise your sliced onions in the oil on a medium heat. You do not want onions to caramelise. It should be golden in colour and translucent. This should take you about 5 to 7 mins. Add your marinating lamb to the onions. Be sure to scrape out each bit of the marinade into the pot. Cook the meat on medium heat for 10 mins and turn heat to low for the remainder of cooking time. Depending on the quality and cut of your lamb it should take about 30 mins more or less. Marinating the meat for a longer period also decreases the cooking time as the vinegar and tamarind softens the meat in the process.

Check for seasoning, this includes checking for salt, sugar, pepper. It should have a sweet and sour taste to it with a hint of heat coming from the black pepper. As soon as dish is done, grate about half tsp of nutmeg into the pot and add a big blob of butter. Stir through the denning and garnish with finely chopped parsley. Traditionally we serve this dish with boiled potatoes.

Tags: South Africa, food