DISCOVERING CAPE TOWN’S CULINARY SCENE
BREAKING DOWN THE WALKING FOOD TOUR
As we mentioned in our post about our favourite way to explore Cape Town, we are firm advocates for a walking food tour of the city.
This is the best way to combine tasting the diverse flavours of South African cuisine while learning about her history and cultures through entertaining and interesting anecdotes.
Every tour is tailored to exactly what you’re looking for on the day, be it biltong, gin or wine tasting. Here is a breakdown to give you an idea of what to expect:
1. Jason Bakery
The tour begins at 9am at Jason Bakery. This little coffee shop is the epitome of trendy, hip Cape Town and is frequented by locals for their delicious pastries and strong coffees. Pioneers of the ‘cronut’, Jason Bakery is the ultimate place for all pastry-lovers. Your guide will meet you here, greeting you like an old friend and finding out just what you’re hoping to get from the experience. The day begins like every day should – with a buttery croissant, a deliciously custardy pasteis de nata and a coffee. Your guide will start sharing stories about the area – bringing your surroundings to life while you enjoy your delicious breakfast.
2. Atlas Trading Company
The Bo-Kaap is renowned for its colourful houses and Cape Malay cuisine. A short walk from the cosmopolitan Jason Bakery takes you into this colourful suburb with its fragrant spices and friendly people. Your guide is most likely to share the reason why the houses are painted in such an array of bright colours. Everyone has a different story and it’s become one of Cape Town’s urban legends. The Atlas Trading Company is a family-owned spice shop established in 1946. Full of fragrant and colourful spices, an array of herbs, rice and local ingredients, this little shop is a sensory heaven. It’s worth buying a packet or two of the spices so you can take the flavours of the Bo-Kaap back home to your kitchen.
3. Wardia’s Samosas
Wardia is easily one of Cape Town’s most successful and lovely street food vendors. With her stall perched against the colourful backdrop of the Bo-Kaap, she’ll greet you with a warm smile and the most delicious samosas you’ve ever tasted. She works wonders with the Malay spices – her vegetarian samosa has between 11 and 13 spices and her beef has 22! Balancing spices is no easy feat, but she does it perfectly. This, combined with her making them fresh before your eyes, makes for crisp, delicious little pockets of local flavour. Her take on the Cape Malay Koeksister, with hints of cinnamon, cardamom and citrus, is heavenly.
4. Honest Chocolate
After the aromatic flavours of the Bo-Kaap, your guide will take you to Honest Chocolate – a paradise for chocolate lovers. This quaint Bean to Bar café is the epitome of Cape Town’s support of all things bespoke, local and artisanal. The chocolate is organically sourced and hand-crafted. It strikes the perfect balance of being dark without being bitter. Their signature dish – the banana bread bunny chow puts a wonderfully sweet twist on this local dish. A mini banana bread is hollowed out, filled with homemade vanilla ice-cream and topped with a rich, dark chocolate ganache and roasted nuts. It is honestly worth every calorie!
5. Cape Town Gin
The gin scene in Cape Town is a topic worth exploring on its own. Your guide will lead you to Heritage Square, a little history hub in the heart of the city – with its own winery, the oldest grapevine in the southern hemisphere and Cape Town Gin & Spirits Co. You are then treated to a tasting of the locally produced gins. You’ll get to play around with infusing your own gin, being provided with variety of fruits, herbs and spices. Our top recommendation: the pink gin with grapefruit, pomegranate and star anise. Don’t worry, if you are not a drinker, your guide will take you somewhere else.
6. Ka Pa Tée
Cape Town is renowned for its deeply ingrained coffee culture but there is a growing tea-culture that’s beginning to make its way to the surface. With unique blends of local and international flavours, it’s worth indulging in a delicious cup of tea. Ka Pa Tée is the perfect spot, situated in the heart of the city centre. Its chic décor and calm atmosphere is a lovely break from the hustle and bustle of the city. Choose from the beautiful display of over 50 loose leaf teas, each accompanied with their flavour profile and wellness benefits, and sit down to a refreshing and rejuvenating tea tasting. This is a great spot for chatting to your guide and just having a good old conversation.
7. Sandile on the Station Roof
Easily the most exciting stop of the tour, your guide will lead you to the train station and the hub of authentic South African life. This is a completely different experience to the trendy city centre and colourful Bo-Kaap and trust your guide to lead you to Sandile on the Station Roof. Despite sounding like a trendy restaurant name, Sandile is in fact a local street food vendor on the strip of food vendors atop the train station. Here you’ll get to experience local Xhosa cuisine such as pap, samp and beans and chakalaka. Sandile is full of charisma and gives an enthralling story about his history and the history of the dishes.
8. Truth Coffee
The final stop on the tour takes you to the world’s best coffee shop – Truth Coffee. This steam-punk inspired coffee shop is an extraordinary and unforgettable culinary experience. As you walk through the door you are transported into the world of Victorian Steampunk from the décor to the menu to the clothing of the baristas. The coffee is strong and the pastries are delicious. The sweet, tart lemon meringue pairs perfectly with the strong coffee. It’s the ultimate place to finish off this food tour. You should finish at about 3pm, depending on how fast you walk and how quickly you eat! You’ll be left with a full stomach, a deeper understanding of Cape Town’s diverse history and cultures, and the feeling of being in with the locals.