By Ruvesen Naidoo
As our celebration of Heritage Month draws to a close, this week’s final article for the Feature Friday series spotlights the African-inspired cuisine and foods of Makhanda.
LaVish Exclusive was officially established in July 2023, after operating from the home of its manager, Caroline Mazvidza, since 2017. The restaurant sells a variety of “African home-inspired dishes” including Ulusu (trotters), tripe, Umpokhoqo, Idombolo (dumplings), sorghum pap, steamed bread and Amazgwinya. Mazvidza adds that the restaurant sells many other popular African street foods, including the Kota.
When asked about the importance of tourists trying the local cuisine of a place they visiting, Mazvidza says “There is an African proverb that can be interpreted as “relationships are empty bags that are filled by eating together”, suggesting that new bonds are formed between the locals and tourists when they taste the various African delicacies. “We can’t make our visitors’ visits memorable until they eat from our African kitchen,” says Mazvidza.
Mrs Matepo’s African Cuisine
This restaurant was initially established as a pop-up restaurant during this year’s National Arts Festival, but continued on as a catering business, said Leroy Matepo.
“We serve predominantly African cuisine (Southern Africa) but we amend the menu depending on the occasion and demand. Our flagship items are mogodu (tripe), cow/pig heels, beef stew, and ox liver which is served with pap or steamed bread, but again our menu can adjust to who we are catering for and when we are catering”, Matepo added.
“I believe the best way to get to know “people” is by diving into their language and culture. Food is a language, and very much a cornerstone of culture,” he concluded.
Established in September 2016, owner Zimkhitha Mahlahla said she and her team of waitrons, barmen, hostesses, and chefs began by offering people a personalised catering experience in their own homes.
“We serve different types of cuisines including African meals such as uMleqwa (hardbody chicken), Ulusu (tripe) with steamed bread, as well as Italian meals such as linguine pasta”, she said. By trying out local cuisine, tourists can local enterprises and experience and explore local offerings – a crucial part of the tourist experience, she said.
Located just outside of Makhanda on Old Bay Rd at Seven Fountains, Ntomb’OmXhosa Lounge was established in 2014. Owner Siyabonga Bashe said the restaurant offers African traditional food such as Umcabosi, Ulusu, Roosterkoek, braaied meat, and kotas as well as seasonal veggies and salads.
Bashe says “It’s very important for tourists to try local cuisine, especially for those who come from abroad and other African countries as the taste of local food adds to good memories of their tour”.
Tourists visiting Ntomb’OmXhosa Lounge can also book traditional dancers or gumboot dancers as entertainment on site.
As the Feature Friday series draws to a close, Grocotts Mail would like to remind those entering Makana Tourism’s competition for a chance to win a getaway trip to Halyards Hotel & Spa and Mansfield Private Reserve that the competition closes on 2 October 2023.
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