On my contact page, I mention that I honestly love South African Snacks more than American food. The definition of South Africa as the Rainbow Nation extends to the food. South Africans’ just understand my tastes. I love wafers, caramel, and sweet/savory combinations…and sugar. Since I have been in urban settings for most of June I thought this would be a good opportunity to share some of my favorite South African treats. I love to talk about food/ukudla so this will not be my last post related to South African/ amaZulu food!
The nickname “Rainbow Nation” also applies to the cuisine. South Africa (well the African continent in General) is much closer to all the other continents…minus the Americas we are very much our own island. There are strong Asian cuisine influences and my host sister preferred curry over cake for her birthday. My favorite crisp (or chip) flavours are fruit chutney (which tastes like a sweeter form of Carolina barbeque) and sweet Thai chili (which is sweet and sour sauce…except substituting sour for spicy which leaves a mild kick). Sometimes when I am really craving meat (not often but it happens) I will opt for Biltong (jerky but South Africa style) flavored crisps. South Africans love meat and biltong is only one of many meat inspired favours. In addition the South African flavours, American flavors (spelling intended) like salt and vinegar or sour cream and onion are available.
These rice cake packs are from a drugstore chain called Clicks. Thankfully the closest Clicks is in Pretty City, else my living allowance would be eaten…just like my savings at the U of AZ’s CVS.
Now on to the sweets. We will start with the gummy sweets.
Maynards is my favourite brand for gummy sweets. I am not a huge gummy fan but sometimes when I am agitated I like to have something more substantial then gum to chew. Whenever I feel homesick I buy the Watermelon Sours. It is a temporary albeit artificial taste of the Sandias.
Then there are Wine Gums which probably win “most inaccurate name behind a candy.” Wine Gums are originally English and based on brief internet search there are two origins. First is that the son of the Maynard wanted to make a sweet that was as “fine as wine.” The other appeals to public health as a substitute for alcohol addiction…even though there is no alcohol in them. Granted you can make literal wine gums, but I will let other PCVs participate in that experiment. I feel like a semi sophisticated adult eating that five shapes: kidney, crown, diamond, circle and rectangle. Depending on the brand they are labled with six names: port, sherry, champagne, burgundy, gin and claret. My favourite are the blackcurrant flavoured (we need blackcurrants in the US ASAP).
Recently I found that Oros which makes a popular type of Orange Squash (orange drink concentrate) made their own gummys. They were actually not that bad.
Bridging the gap between gummys and the bars are Nougat and Smarties. I mentioned Smarties before as the natural M&Ms behind our failed icebreaker. Well here is what they look like.
The nougat has dried cherries and nuts inside. It is delightful.
Now for everyone’s favorite part: Candy Bars. Candy bars are usually not my favourite because I do not like chocolate. I eat it because of the sugar not because of the cocoa elements, and do not usually enjoy the sweet to its fullest . With that said, chocolate (and soap operas) are always better outside of the US for me. I enjoy caramel and fruit more but there are a few chocolate bars(drenched in sugar and other flavours) for perspective.
South Africa offers a variety of candy bars from the American Kit Kat with slight flavour variations
…To their own creations.
If someone asked me to pick up a candy bar for them and I did not know what they liked, I would buy a Lunch Bar. Lunch Bars have a bit of everything from crunch, chocolate, to nuts.
And if people want a change, the Lunch Bar Dream comes in White Chocolate.
Next is the Inside Story. Our Volunteer Support Committee (VSC) introduced our cohort to Inside Storys. I actually was called out for my spontaneous face while fully enjoying the hazelnut truffle.
Cadbury Snackers are like a granola bar only with muesli (which I like better, it is a bigger oat). Back in my exchange student days, they used to come in Caramilk (more later) and be my favourite.
Speaking of Cadbury, a unique delicacy to South Africa is the Oreo stuffed Cadbury Chocolate Bar (the same one I ate in honor of MEZCOPH’s graduation). When I was guiding a PCV who was med-evaced from Madagascar through Checkers (a grocery story chain) she had to get the oreo bar because that was the only one that they did not have in Madagascar.
Finally my favorite PS Bars, which I usually mistakenly call PS I love you bars after the sappy Irish novel. They have kind words on each wrapper (one of them is “All the best” and how I got my parting e-words) and come in milk chocolate or Caramilk…caramel coating on wafers. I am sure it is unhealthy,against all my public health lessons, but it is so good! I prefer the smaller bars when I can find them.
Eish now I am hungry. I better go and eat my fruit before my teeth start to decay as I look at all these delights!
All the best,