Looking for the best food tours in Cape Town? According to Tripadvisor foodie experiences are the most popular type of tours booked across the globe from Paris to Tokyo and now Cape Town. Tourists consider local cuisine one of the most important aspects in learning more about the culture of a particular city.
What is a food tour?
A typical food tour involves a guided walk around a neighborhood where participants get to sample various local foods and cuisines while also hearing about their origin cultural significance. This could include going into shops, restaurants, food markets, urban gardens or even into people’s homes. Tours can take few hours or a full day and in some cases may include optional cooking classes.
South Africa’s foodie Capital
Food tours tend to focus on real food, food with connections to a particular place or part of its history. That being said, Cape Town and its surrounds have restaurants that dominate the country’s awards for fine dining and offers visitors excellent opportunities to taste contemporary South African and internationally inspired cuisine. Your foodie expert is likely to give plenty of tips on the best places to dine during your holiday and most private food tours are happy to cater to special requests.
The nearby Cape winelands add further options to experience the best food and wine at the Cape and some Cape Town food tours include the option to taste local wines, craft beers, gin’s and brandies which are also extremely popular.The city of Cape Town is also home to regular food markets, artisan coffee roasters, chocolatiers, decadent bakeries, specialty shops and gorgeous cafe’s. Part of a food tour is learning more about the cosmopolitan people behind these places.
Popular cuisines in Cape Town
You’ve probably heard the term “the Rainbow nation” coined by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, in describing the myriad of colourful people which make up South Africa. It is therefore no surprise that we have had many influences on our cuisine too. Cape Town being the oldest city in South Africa, has seen the largest amount of immigration to her Southern shores; from Africa tribes migrating from further North, European colonists and the slaves which they brought with them from the East as well as indentured labourers brought to the then sugar plantations of Natal.
A food tour of Cape Town would be incomplete without a visit to the colourful Bo Kaap district with its distinct Cape Malay cuisine that has its heritage in Malay and Indonesian slaves. Street vendors sell their home made samoosa’s filled with delicately spiced mince or potato and for something sweet the Koeksuster (a spiced doughnut sprinkled in coconut), is unique to this part of the world. Cape Malay spicing is different to Indian spicing, which of course is another prevalent cuisine in South Africa, especially in Durban but let’s face it everyone loves a bunny chow
which is a half loaf of bread, emptied out and filled with delicious curry.
The English of course introduced their love of morning and afternoon tea and were quick to learn from the Indigenous Khoisan about the benefits of our local Rooibos and Buchu teas. The Dutch left us with classics like the melktert (milk tart), a custard tart with a biscuit base and cinnamon spicing. Let’s not forget our ongoing love for biltong (cured or jerked meat), braai and pooitjie (a stew made in a cast iron pot over an open fire). Traditional Zulu and Xhosa meals centre on beef, samp and beans. Chakalaka is a popular spicy relish which pairs well with fluffy pap, made from maize meal.
The Portuguese, the first of the Europeans to set foot in the Cape, have also had their influence; peri peri chicken or prawns are an old favorite inspiring fast food chains like Nando’s. But the most iconic Cape Town dish might just be the Gatsby: love it or hate it, this decadent over the top footlong sandwich stuffed full of polony, chips and atchar sauce has been a popular street food favourite.
Interested in learning and tasting more? Here is a roundup of the top food tours in the city based on their generosity of tastings, knowledgeable guides and overall fun and informative experiences.
Cape Fusion tours is owned by Pam McEonie, who was the first tour operator to bring food tours to Cape Town. They have been around since 2003 and beside their food tours also offer cooking classes, wine and Cape peninsula tours. Pam’s Cape Town eats city walking tour is 6.5 hrs long. Tours are private and prices are available on request and we recommend them for a foodie experience in Cape Town.
+27 21 461 2437
Boutique Winery Tours is owned by Kim Rabe who has been specializing in bespoke wine and food experiences since 2015. She offers private wine tours to the Cape winelands and her city food tours are fully customizable. Three hour tours at R750 pp, four hours at R950. We recommend Boutique Winery Tours for a foodie experience in Cape Town.
072 562 9863
Boutique Winery Tours
Eat like a local is owned by Rupesh Kassen, who left the corporate world to become a chef and food critic before starting his own food tour company. His City bowl tasting experience is 4.5 hrs and caters to small groups of 8-10 people. Tours start at R900 pp (excl alcoholic beverages) R1080 (with alcohol).Private and vegan tours available on request and we recommend them for a foodie experience in Cape Town.
+27 82 469 8088
Cape Town culinary tours are owned by Elsje Erasmus who has a passion for travel and of course food. She offers group tours of 8-10 people, 3.5 hrs long at a cost of R1099 pp. The Cape Town Essential Food Tour focuses on local Cape and South African cuisine and the Cape Town Food Safari gives an overview of African cuisine and culture. We recommend them for a foodie experience in Cape Town.
+27 (0) 875508662
Words and Images By Kim Rabe – Boutique Winery Tours