Culinary experiences in Bo-Kaap

Culinary experiences in Bo-Kaap

Cape Town is world-renowned for its culinary experiences (no surprise here), however, the aspect that makes it so unique is the diverse cultures that all come together and have over the years resulted in a delightful gastronomic explosion.

Cape Malay Cuisine

Nothing against all the fancy restaurants and hotels – we love them too – but one of our favourite spots for finding a meal that will blow your mind is in the extremely popular Bo-Kaap area. Think curry leaves and an array of spices, rotis, rice, chicken, fresh coriander (Dhania/Cilantro), garlic, ginger, and everything tantalising!


Bo-Kaap is said to be the only place in Cape Town where the Cape Malay community was not forcefully removed during Apartheid. As a result, apart from its streets that are lined with colourful semi-detached houses and its prime location on the slopes of Signal Hill, overlooking the harbour, Bo-Kaap is widely known for its aromatic and flavoursome Cape Malay food.

One of the oldest cuisines

Many people believe Cape Malay cuisine is one of the oldest cuisines in the region, dating back to the 1600s when the Dutch East India Company brought over slaves from Indonesia and Malaysia. The Cape Malay slaves were always hard at work behind the kitchen pots, preparing delicious food for their Dutch masters. (We don’t blame them for adding some spice to the somewhat-unimaginative Dutch cuisine)

For most Cape Malay Cooking tips, tricks, recipes, and secrets are passed on through cross-generational teaching: from mother to daughter, mother-in-law to daughter-in-law, sister-in-law to sister-in-law, and so forth. That is, after all, the best way to learn and often delivers the most scrumptious meals.

What can you expect from a culinary experience in Bo-Kaap, then?

Well, for starters, definitely pulling up your sleeves. The culinary side of Bo-Kaap is by no means a sit-down-and-be-served experience. More often than not, you’ll have the opportunity to learn by doing: roll out dough, stir some pots, add some spices, and the like, before you sit back and enjoy the food afterwards.

Here’s how you can have the best culinary experiences in Bo-Kaap:

Cape Fusion Tours offer a variety of different cooking options. One of them is a Cape Malay Cooking experiences with local “foodie” celebrity Cass Abrahams. You can expect to make rotis from scratch, learn how to fold and cook samosas, and how to whip up a delicious traditional Cape Malay curry or Bobotie. The tour ends off with a koeksister enjoyed with an interesting cup of cardamom tea.

Capey Tours

Offer an educational, fun experience encompassing inspiring culinary insights into the Cape Malay culture in the Bo-Kaap area. Your host and guide is Zainie Misbach, who will teach you all things Malay as you cook up a storm in her kitchen.

Anima Tours

Take participants to visit a local Bo-Kaap family where you’ll learn to make a typical Cape Malay meal at their home. Afterwards, you’ll get to enjoy your proper Cape Malay lunch while you probably learn to speak a little bit of Afrikaans. Lastly, you’ll also be able to stock up at a legendary Spice Shop in the Malay Quarter.

The Bo-Kaap Cooking Tour

Led by Zainie Misbach, a Cape Malay cooking superstar. On a Bo-Kaap Cooking Tour, it is said that you will not only learn some top secret cooking tips and techniques but also gain some thought-provoking insight into daily life in the colourful Bo-Kaap. The workshop ends with delegates enjoying lunch together and sharing their experiences whilst indulging in the mouth-watering traditional dishes.

Is your mouth also watering? Glad we’re not alone!

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