When it comes to food, Namibians have unique and diverse appetites that are synonymous with our various cultural backgrounds. Let’s take a look at some delicious meals and snacks that we have become used to preparing and eating in the Land of the Brave.
Made from maize, cornmeal or mahangu, pap is a staple in many households. Traditionally cooked over a fire in a cauldron filled with boiling water, the mixture is seasoned and stirred until it forms a smooth texture. Pap is customarily eaten with the hands and is served with various side dishes such as meat, chicken, fish, cabbage or spinach, depending on cultural preferences.
Kapana & Braaivleis
Authentically Namibian, kapana is typically made with cubes of beef that are cooked on an open flame and sold in the townships, especially in Windhoek’s Katutura. These tasty pieces of meat are simple to prepare and also inexpensive. Kapana is usually served with spices and sauces. Namibians favour boerewors in terms of sausages and enjoy barbecuing it along with assorted meats; a common weekend treat that locals call braaivleis.
Originally called vetkoekies in Afrikaans, these are popularly sold by local street vendors. The usual technique for making fat cakes is by kneading cake batter and letting it rise. Thereafter, the batter is cut into circular shapes and placed in a pot filled with sunflower oil. The fat cakes are fried until a crispy brown crust is formed on the outer layer with a soft bread-like centre.
Namibian oysters are considered by seafood-lovers as some of the best molluscs in the world. These delicacies can be found along the Swakopmund coast and served at local restaurants. Crayfish is another popular seafood that is mainly found in Lüderitz, while Silver Cob/Kabeljou can be enjoyed by those who like to go fishing in Henties Bay.
Favoured at Namibian farms and wildlife resorts, this complex dish is typically prepared on an open fire in a three-legged cast-iron pot, called the “Potjie”. Cooking usually takes about three to four hours, several ingredients are incorporated in the dish such as meat, chicken, sausages, beans, carrots, potatoes, onions and tomatoes.
The unusual name refers to goat/sheep heads that are cooked in a pot on a fire until they are tender. The flesh around the teeth is softened by the heat and the goat/sheep head looks as though it is smiling, hence the nickname ‘smiley’. Those who enjoy eating goat head attest to indulging in the tongue, brains, eyes and ears.
This dried meat is a snack that is flavoured with various spices. Some varieties of biltong are pricy due to the meat being obtained from wild game such as kudu and springbok. Beef biltong is made from cow meat, while droeewors is made from dried boerwors sausage.