Bracing the tastebuds for Biltong and Boerewors

July 8, 2014

After two weeks in South Africa and one week in Grahamstown,  I had to bear down and really eat like a local.  Yes, I had African stew at Marco’s in Cape Town, Nando’s chicken in Sea Point  and Malay flavorings here and there.  But today,  my tastebuds and I came in contact with two true South African foods: Biltong and Boerewors.

Now Biltong LOOKS like beef jerky and despite the funny “Messin’ with Sasquatch” beef jerky commercials at home, I have never ever had any motivation to try and actually eat the stuff.  So Bilttong’s resemblance to beef jerky was a big big turn-off.  biltongbag

But after some gentle insistence that if I try it I will like it,  I went to the self-proclaimed Biltong King stand in the Village Green for some of the stuff…

And it was good!  Getting the spicy (as opposed to the chilli flavored Biltong was a hot and flavorful taste sensation.  The meat was not like chewing on rawhide but softened and mixed with the spices, like eating a piece of meat from the chili pot but drier.

I returned to the Biltong King a few hours later to ask for his picture as documentation that he was the purveyor of my first Biltong experience.  He was happy to oblige.


This Biltong was not gamey tasting and quite enjoyable.

But I could not stop there.   Another stand was selling sandwiches from venison likely cudu, so the choice was burger or sausage.  Despite a previous bad encounter with weisswurst more than a dozen years ago in Munich, sausage lured me.

boersworsBoerewors is Afrikaan for farm sausage, so my Cue online students explained between laughing at my complete mispronunciation of the term. So different folks mix different spices for the Boerewors.   Here is what mine looked like, covered with a not-too-sweet, not-to-salty tomato relish.   And here’s the kicker: 25Rand or about $2.50. I can handle this. Yum!



About janetkolodzy

Janet Kolodzy is a Professor of Journalism at Emerson College, Boston, MA. After a career as a print and broadcast journalist, she has been teaching about the practice of convergence journalism, which encourages the use of a mix of media storytelling tools to help journalists inform audiences.
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