Today, 24 September, is Heritage Day in South Africa – a day set aside to honour and celebrate our country’s diverse cultural heritage. Typically a key focus of the day is sharing a distinctly South African meal with friends, neighbours and families – braais and biltong; melktert and koeksusters; beans bunnies and pap and wors.
Explore a variety of heritage meal options this heritage holiday in 1000 Hills – either dining out or eating in.
South African boasts a hybrid heritage which liberally borrows inspiration from various traditions, histories and influences. One common denominator is the distinctly South African braai – whether it is boerewors or tshysanyama on the hot coals at home, a fish braai on the beach; or corn on the cob and garlic bread with mates – the notion of gathering around a fire to prepare a meal is a deeply engrained South African tradition.
There is a tshysanyama section on the menu at Oscars to eat in; or a trip to Braai en Lawaai in Builders Way, Hillcrest if you want to braai at home. They offer quality meats, accompaniments and braai goodies. There are many fine butchers in the 1000 Hills region catering specifically for heritage braais this weekend.
As a companion to braai, another South African signature culinary legacy is biltong – which is dried, cured meat from beef to game meats such as ostrich or kudu, originally as a means of preserving fresh meat. It can trace its roots to early Dutch influence – the name itself is literally “meat strip”. It has been prepared in Southern Africa for centuries and can be found in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Namibia, Botswana and Zambia.
There are plenty of biltong stops in 1000 Hills. We popped into the new JJ & Son Biltong outlet in Sunset Valley (formerly Heidi’s Farm Stall) which offers a variety of freshly-prepared biltong.
Some ingenious and now signature South African sweet dishes have come out of our grannies’ kitchens over the generations – rusks, melkterts; malva puddings; koeksisters; peppermint crisp tarts. Home industry shops are great to support – that way you are keeping a micro-business going, and getting literally fresh bespoke home-made fare. We popped into What’s Cooking in Builder’s Way where we were spoilt for choice.
Their large airy shop also stocks marinades, honey and preserves, and a range of soft goods and home-crafted and knitted items. We also popped into Madala Coffee, in Old Main Road Botha’s Hill, which offers a fabulous range of light meals, pastries and tea time treats. Many of the options cater particularly for vegans and vegetarians.
While checking out the heritage food options in 1000 Hills, we stopped in at the Library Bistro and Wine Bar, to enjoy a steaming cappuccino, lunch time sandwich and browse through their really amazing selection of books which operates as a cash-free book exchange: bring a book, swop a book. The Bistro has a value-for-money evolving menu and some great wines which can be paired with items from their tapas, small plate menu. Look out for the fun posters on the wall including of Harry Potter and Steven King.
It was heartening to see patrons choosing books, enjoying a meal … and reading!
Sushi, curry and noodles
Our 1000 Hills culinary exploration included specialty dishes from Japan, China and India. We are a proudly multi-cultural society, enjoying dishes from around the world. Perennial favourites are sushi from Japan, and the repertoire of Asian delicacies. The Oxford Centre in Hillcrest is home to Yang Chinese Restaurant and Sushi Bar which offers a combined menu of freshly prepared sushi as well as an extensive Chinese menu – a set menu or range of individual items
The rich aroma of heavenly spices greet you as you enter Punjabi’s – a cosy restaurant and take away which offers a comprehensive menu of North Indian cuisine, which can also be found at the Oxford Centre in Hillcrest .
We were reminded that within a few kilometres radius, 1000 Hills offers a kaleidoscope of culinary options inviting hungry patrons to have fun finding interesting meals this heritage season.
Good to Know:
The 1000 Hills tourism office can provide info, maps and brochures.
email@example.com / 031 322 2855
Braai en Lawaai
Shop 3 Builders Way, Hillcrest
Tel: 079 887 8538
JJ & Son Biltong @ Sunset Valley
1 Clement Stott Rd, Botha’s Hill
Tel: 073 261 3834
Shop 12 B Builder’s Way, Hillcrest
Madala Coffee and Emithini Café
33 Old Main Road Botha’s Hill
Oxford Village, Hillcrest
Tel: 031 765 4779
Library Bistro and Wine Bar
12 – 16 Old Main Road, Hillcrest
Tel: 031 761 8007