Sunday
Oct012017

Foodie Destinations in Africa - Capetown, Marrakech, Zanzibar

When you visit some of our top destinations in Africa you’ll find culinary options across the continent that are as diverse as the people and the many cultures and customs that make it so vibrant. And if you’re one of those people with a penchant for both food and adventure, exploring far-flung destinations with your taste buds may be one of your top reasons to travel in the first place. In fact, sampling local flavors is one of the most authentic cultural experiences you can have in a foreign city. In the melting pots of Capetown, Marrakech, and Zanzibar, food influences from across the globe mix together with a result that is nothing like what you will find at home.

Capetown, South Africa

Capetown is not only a culinary capital on the African continent, it’s also known as a top foodie destination around the world. Traditional South African cuisine is hearty and flavorful, and often meaty. One dish you’re likely to find on many menus is boerewors, a coiled sausage made from beef and either pork or lamb that is usually grilled and often served with a porridge called pap. Cape Malay curry is another local favorite, created with local produce and a signature mix of spices like saffron, turmeric and cinnamon. Carb lovers might gravitate toward bunny chow, a curry dish served inside of a hollowed out bread loaf that hails from the coastal city of Durban known for its colonial and Indian influences. For more modern tastes, the Mother City’s food scene is continuously expanding with new cutting edge restaurants popping up on the regular, often helmed by world-famous chefs creating innovative menus that incorporate the most current global food trends. Check out our in-depth survey of the current restaurant scene for more specific restaurant ideas: The Cape of Good Eats.

 Marrakech, Morocco

From high-style modern fusions to the most traditional Moroccan dishes, from food stands inside the frenetic medina to cozy, darkly lit caverns to restaurants on the rooftops of souks, there is something in Marrakech for every taste and budget. Feast under olive trees on locally sourced vegetables and herbs, or oysters fresh from Dakhla, or delectable steak tartare, while Andalusian music plays softly in the background. Not sure what to order? On more traditional Moroccan menus you’re more than likely to see tajine, which is a succulent Berber stew named for the pot in which it is cooked, and Tanjia, which is a simple dish made from beef or lamb slow cooked overnight in urns on hot coals, oil, spices and preserved lemons. Tanjia stalls are prevalent around the city, and they also serve mechoui, which is whole roasted sheep, and roasted sheep’s head. Harira soup is another typical moroccan dish, it’s quite filling and generally combined meat with flavors churned up by a base of tomatoes, lentils and chickpeas. In Marrakech the food is delicious and the richness of the culture and surroundings only enhance the experience. Imagine breakfast in your luxury riad or cocktails with views of the Atlas mountains. Read more about luxury travel to Morocco with Epic Road here.

 Stone Town, Zanzibar

In Zanzibar’s capital city its historically Swahili cuisine has evolved over time to incorporate Chinese, Indian, Portuguese, and Arabian influences, which means for a smaller city the options are very diverse. Bucket list food items in Zanzibar include sorpotel, a combination of boiled diced meats that usually include some combination of tongue, heart and liver. Sorpotel is emblematic of the international nature of Zanzibari cuisine as it is originally a dish of Portuguese origin that gained its true identity by way of Goa. A menu item you likely won’t leave the region without trying is Pilau, a rice similar to what westerners call pilaf that cooks while soaking in a broth with a medley of spices, fried onions, meat and vegetables. Biryani is similar to pilau only the meat sauce is added after rather than during cooking. Boku boku is a good option for the less adventurous - a relatively simple dish of meat skewers flavored by cumin and ginger. As a seaside city, high quality fresh seafood of many kinds and in many forms is also readily available. The inner city of Stone Town is a UNESCO world heritage site with beautiful architecture, and you can’t beat eating on a rooftop, watching the sun set on the Indian Ocean, surrounded by the sounds of prayer calls. Stone Town and its surroundings will tantalize all your senses - read more about luxury travel to Zanzibar with Epic Road here.

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