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What to Bring to a Braai in Cape Town
In South Africa you must braai, no matter what
Being South African myself, from an early age I had come to understand the true sanctity of a good ol’ braai. If we leave the definition of a braai down to a direct translation, you’d most likely miss the point completely. In my definition, a braai is an experience. An opportunity to bond, share, entertain and be entertained, a cultural celebration, a feast of some sorts and the perfect opportunity to indulge. It is part of your heritage as a South African. The beauty of it? It’s simple and can be done anywhere in the world. For as long as you have wood and a braai pack, you are guaranteed a delicious and authentically South African experience. If you asked anyone in SA, they’d probably tell you that a braai is appropriate for any occasion; be it a rugby match, birthday party, the sun is shining, days that end with ‘y’ you name it. A braai is the perfect culinary art form, and can only be made better with an ice cold beer.
The history of the braai is probably as old as the discovery of fire. It is said that early humans who inhabited Southern Africa had been braaing for thousands of years when they discovered that it was easier to chew the braaied meat than raw meat. The rest was history. From there, what is now the most celebrated meal of our people, flourished. For your convenience, we’ve put together a list of essentials for when throwing a proper braai. Don't be that guy that didn’t do it properly.
1. Meat is Meat and That’s What We’ll Eat
This is the most essential component when having a braai (besides the fire of course) because let’s be honest, if there is no protein on that fire, is it even a braai? Decide what you’re going to be braaing. You could literally braai anything; chicken, lamb chops, pork chops, fish, boerewors, sausage. You’re really spoiled for choice here and just deciding may prove to be the hardest part. Once you’ve selected your protein, you have the bases of your braai. Slap on some spices and Jimmy’s Sauce and throw them on the fire.
2. Stock the Salad Bar and Round Up the Accompanying Side Dishes
Salad is the official side dish of the braai plate. Proper accompanying salads include an irresistible potato salad, your traditional toss salad or any salad for that matter. Get creative with it. There really is no limitations with this. However, forgetting the garlic roll isn’t, but should be considered a crime against humanity. The melted garlic butter on the toasted roll is one of the more enticing components of the celebrated braai plate.
3. Bring Your Appetite
A braai plate is A LOT. If you are the designated braai master, you are entitled to a taste test from whatever it is you are braaing, these are the rules. Because of the time consuming task that is braaing, snacks are essential, but also where things can get a little tricky. Amongst the plethora of the tastiest snacks you’ve ever come across, the hack is to keep reminding yourself that the food is still coming, unless you can handle it of course. There is a lot of consuming that takes place at a braai, make sure you’re ready for it. Come hungry.
4. Chop ‘n’ Dop
Also known as a Chop ‘n’ Dop because the pair go together like a match made in braai heaven. Typically, an ice cold beer is the drink of the day at your standard braai, but again, you’re welcome to run with this one. Another local favorite at these gatherings is the famous brandy and coke. What could beat that?
Although relatively simple to prepare, there are many components that come together to make a braai the enjoyable feast that it is. Most importantly is the human spirit, and the comfort of knowing that after all our country has been through, this is one of those golden threads that weave us together.
By Kirsten Adams
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