It's a brand new day for the Man Expedition's troop and the stunning and vibrant city center of Cape Town provides the perfect scenario to indulge oneself in a bit of South African culture. Situated on the slopes of Signal Hill, Bo Kaap is the main historical representation of the city, soaked in culture and dipped in charm, which reinforces leading the adventure that way. Formerly known as the Malay Quarter, Bo Kaap's cobble-stoned streets carry the spirit of its origins and the bright colored homes mark the multicultural blend that is so inviting to visitors.
As the economic and social development of Cape Town arise the real estate value of Bo Kaap, properties have increased their prices to exorbitant values, which have played negatively on the preservation of its local culture. Its simple and unique architecture has attracted wealthy international investors that ought to enhance tourism traffic in these areas, but at a cost to slowly demolishing the local and authentic atmosphere that the place carries. Although facing challenges in this gentrification matter, the Malay Cape people fight to keep its authenticity alive and show the world what the South African flare looks like.
Man Expedition's troopers were invited to the house of Zainie Misbach, a worldly known South African chef, who prevails on the mission to seduce tourists from all over the world to dip them into Africa’s Southern tip food culture. Our culinary experience happened inside Misbach’s own house, led by a powerful woman that has lived in the area her whole life and it is now rooted in the Cape Malay gastronomy.
Walking into her humble and yet welcoming sophisticated home, we were offered an educational and fun experience ought to entice our appetites in digesting all the great information and blessed opportunity that was given to us. We were at the heart of the mesmerizing coastal city; it couldn't get any more authentic and original than that.
Misbach was our host and guide throughout the day. She led a team of six people, all relatives, and close friends. The experience was so authentic that we witnessed constant traffic of people coming in and out of the house like it was just another day in their lives. Everyone had a big smile on their faces and they all were extremely friendly. Her son Zayed and his wife Zoolfaa were handling doughs and spices, teaching us every step of the cooking process while also entertaining us with stories and little jokes.
We started our culinary training discovering the secrets of mixing Masala, a blend of ground spices which is widely common in cuisines linked to the Indian subcontinent. With bright colors around us and very distinctive scent, we were diving into a cultural journey, enriched with an incredible sense of humor and fantastic fables.
Our first task was to prepare the mouth-watering Cape Malay Chicken Curry. I was given the chore of “scraping and folding” the mixture until the chicken was cooked all the way through with a nice little brown color. Following me, my colleagues were all practicing their cooking skills, sought to prepare a - hopefully - successful meal at the end. To accompany the Cape Malay Curry we also prepared Dhaltjies (Chilli Bites), filled and folded Samoosas, as fried Rootis (croquettes temptations).
In addition to this lovely experience, the food was highly exquisite. We got to taste every step of the process and actually learn how to prepare which one of the dishes. It was completely different than a regular restaurant atmosphere. We were surrounded by new friends, all brought together by Man Expeditions, all under the same motivations of having a good time and really appreciating that great opportunity to undergo the real life of South African people.
By the end of our culinary Cape Malay happening, our eighteen guys group received each a recipe booklet together with a bag of Misbach’s special Masala Mix, so we could cook our first curry meal ourselves back home. I went one step further and treated myself one of those cute white aprons, to inspire me on my next cooking.
If you have plans to visit Cape Town, the Bo Kaap food experience with Zainie Misbach is the perfect choice for a relaxing, surprising and incredibly pleasant day. And if you are looking to extend your authentic local savoir-faire to different heights Man Expeditions might be what you're looking for.
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This memory belongs to our Pit Stop Man Expeditions (@manexpeditions) . All the pictures belong to Man Expeditions' troopers' personal archive. To know more about our PIt Stop Man Expedtions, click here.