Our dearest readers,
I am so sorry for this two-year late post! I was in South Africa in 2014, and never got around to posting on it. However, for what it’s worth, it’s been on my to-do list, and perhaps it still offers some useful tips to those of you planning to go.
In general, South Africa is an easy-to-live-in place for GFs. Most the food is naturally gluten-free, and people are general aware of what ingredients go into the foods they are preparing. The difficulty, for me at least, was finding meat-free options. South Africa is a big, meat-eating country! But thankfully, there are sea food options at most meat-focused places. And there are lots of new health food stores popping up!
This post will be more of a catalogue of general tips and “possibilities” for GF food options. The information may be outdated, so do check online before heading out to the specific spots. I hope you all get out there – it’s truly a wonderful country and a compassionate – and strong! – people.
JOHANNESBURG / PRETORIA
Sheraton, Pretoria: The traditional South African dish of pap (millet mush, sort of like millimeal) and veggies. Almost always gluten-free.
Greek Restaurant, Nelson Mandela Square, Johannesburg: GF salads are aplenty in almost any restaurant! Check the dressing, and if in doubt, always sauce on the side!
Greek Restaurant in Johannesburg: Fried Halloumi. Just amazing!
“NeighbourGoods Market” in Johannesburg: The market is a fantastic place for a mishmash of cooked and canned foods. A little tricky for GFs, but stick to simple food, like oysters!
“NeighbourGoods Market” in Johannesburg: Fun to walk through, but as a GF person, avoid these large pot offerings. Plenty of opportunity for cross-contamination.
“NeighbourGoods Market” in Johannesburg: Organic biltong – a softer, chewier version of jerky. Available for a variety of meats, with equally varied flavouring! Biltong is usually GF.
La Madeleine (Johannesburg)
La Pentola (Pretoria)
“Birds” in Cape Town: The mushroom soup came with a slice of gluten-free bread! Without prompting!
“Birds” at Cape Town: The soup was smooth and silky!
“Birds” in Cape Town: The texture of their gluten-free bread.
“Keenwai” in downtown Cape Town: A lovely little restaurant with many GF options!
“Keenwai” in Cape Town: A beautiful Veggie Tower. Yummy too!
“Keenwai” in Cape Town: A snap shot of the menu
“Keenwai” in Cape Town: A health outlet in the heart of Cape Town. Soup with quinoa. Gluten-free.
“Mama Africa” in Cape Town: Popular tourist spot on Long Street. Live (and lively) African music.
“Mama Africa” in Cape Town: Veggie curry. In general, African veggie curry is another reliable option.
Indian Restaurant at the Hilton in Cape Town: Again, Indian food is a reliable option always!
“Circus” at Gateway Mall in Durban: Almost all the abundantly available Indian food in Durban is gluten-free. Just check for hing/asafoetida powder.
“Circus” at Gateway Mall in Durban: Simple pan-fried fish and grilled veggies. Easy to come by. Gluten-free.
“Ribs” at Gateway Mall in Durban: Typical South African food that is GLAZED! Watch out for this!
“Kauai” on Florida Road, Durban: Gorgeous salad!
“Kauai” on Florida Road in Durban: This place actually has a variety of GF offerings. This is the Mediterranean Wrap!
“Havana Grill” at Suncoast, Durban. Chef-designed mixed rice dish.
Lots of grilled goodies in South Africa, especially seafood! Almost always gluten-free. Check for glazes or marinades.
“Jaipur Palace” in Durban: Palak paneer tastes a little different – the spinach is chunkier than we’re used to out in Malaysia, but still good. And most importantly, still gluten-free!
“Havana Grill” at Suncoast, Durban: Steak! Almost always grilled without any seasoning. People tell me South African meat is super delicious!
Random Chinese restaurant near Three Cities Hotel, Durban: Okay, so Chinese food is the trickiest (it always is). Stick to simple options, like maki, even though it is… umm… rather unoriginal.
Three Cities Hotel, Durban: Pretty much my staple in South Africa. Mozzarella and mushrooms. My own rule of thumb: when in doubt, simplicity is key.
In addition to the chai, there’s also excellent rooibos tea to be had everywhere!